At Stanford University, nearly 45 percent of faculty members for undergraduates are in humanities departments — but fewer and fewer students are taking those classes. Fewer than 18 percent of undergraduate applicants have a primary interest in the humanities. Schools nationally are seeing more students pick pre-professional majors that they see as having a more direct route to a job after college. Only about 7 percent of undergraduates major in the humanities nationally. That’s about half as many as did in the 1970s. We discuss the values of a humanities education and what the downward trend means for schools and society.
Debra Satz, professor of philosophy at Stanford University and senior associate dean for the humanities and arts
Scott Saul, director of undergraduate studies in the English Department at UC Berkeley
Richard Brodhead, president, Duke University; co-chair of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences