While the rising cost of college education, spiraling student debt, and a changing global job market have impelled university administrators to redefine and/or remodel the core curriculum in the interest of better addressing the challenges/opportunities of a 21st century world, these changes have fallen most directly on the humanities. Quite plainly, as universities have placed increasing value on the common languages of globalization--math, science, and technology--a liberal arts core has become an almost anachronistic element of higher education.
Yet, when we look at the continued need for critical thinking, creativity, and communication in our global economy, it is clear that writing and communication still needs to play a vital role in higher education. But, what exactly will that role be, or should be? Considering that "knowledge" based disciplines such as English, History, etc. have traditionally been elevated over "skills" programs or instruction, how might previously marginalized programs like General Studies ironically find their identity in this changing landscape?
The following roundtable, therefore, invites scholars or faculty in General Studies or non-degree interdisciplinary programs to discuss what they see as continued and/or changing role of the humanities and writing and research in the core curriculum. Particularly, as enrollment in upper division English, History, etc. classes dwindle--with less students seeing the economic value in these majors--how can these disciplines of learning be strengthened at the university level in General Studies' through a focus on the global skills these fields provide? Considering the diminishing level of tenure-track positions available in the aforementioned disciplines, and the increasing amount of tenured faculty teaching introductory level humanities courses, how can tenured and contingent faculty-- spanning a variety of disciplines--work together to create or agree on a common set of skills and/or instruction for a 21st century college education?
Please email abstracts of 500 words or less to Dotterman@Adelphi.edu by September 30, 2013.
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