As STEM majors soar at UW, interest in humanities shrinks — a potentially costly loss

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tags: STEM, history majors, history in crisis

You won’t find a single expert on the history of the American Revolution or the Civil War at the University of Washington anymore. Since last year, the state’s oldest and largest university no longer employs a professor who specializes in American history before the year 1900.

Its history department has no scholars on the history of ancient Greece and Rome, and it recently stopped teaching Sanskrit, the ancient language of India and the root of many other languages.

The gaps in the school’s faculty might sound jarring, but it’s the outcome of a decadelong trend. Ever since the recession, parents and educators have encouraged students to major in subjects that lead to high-paying jobs, where employment opportunities are seemingly endless.

But that swing to STEM is having unexpected consequences. With fewer students studying the humanities — history, philosophy, foreign languages and English — those departments are shrinking. Retiring professors aren’t replaced.

Read entire article at Seattle Times

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