W. Robert Connor and Cheryl Ching from insidehighered.com just posted a new article about the relative stability of liberal arts, humanities and arts programs despite the general trend towards “employment friendly” fields. Here is an excerpt:
The liberal arts seem to have a particular endurance and resilience, even when we expect them to decline and fall.
One could imagine any number of reasons why this is the case — the inherent conservatism of colleges and universities is one — but maybe something much more dynamic is at work. Perhaps the stamina of the liberal arts in today’s environment draws in part from the vital role they play in providing students with a robust liberal education, that is, a kind of education that develops their knowledge in a range of disciplinary fields, and importantly, their cognitive skills and personal competencies. The liberal arts continue — and likely will always — give students an education that delves into the intricate language of Shakespeare or Woolf, or the complex historical details of the Peloponnesian War or the French Revolution. That is a given.
But what the liberal arts also provide is a rich site for students to think critically, to write analytically and expressively, to consider questions of moral and ethical importance (as well as those of meaning and value), and to construct a framework for understanding the infinite complexities and uncertainties of human life.
And here is a link to the whole article: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/10/01/connor