Dear UConn: Stop Neglecting Humanities In Favor Of STEM

Discussion in 'Alumni stuff' started by Drew, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Drew

    Drew Its a post, about nothing!

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    Dear UConn, stop neglecting the humanities in favor of STEM.

    The University of Connecticut does not care about non-STEM students.

    Many UConn students in the humanities have had this suspicion, this feeling, that their friends in the STEM disciplines were better taken care of by the university. It’s like how kids know which sibling is the favorite but can never actually prove it because of tight-lipped parents.

    Well, UConn president Susan Herbst just admitted she prefers Johnny to Sally because Johnny makes more money for the family and Sally sort of has her head in the clouds.

    Here are Herbst’s words, which are more cautious, but still point to the same conclusion:

    “The humanities and social sciences are tougher, it’s a much more difficult job market…I do think they [the humanities] do get less play than the STEM fields,” Herbst said. “STEM just takes a lot of money…I don’t expect the humanities…to bring in great external resources…We hope to invent – put revenue where it generates revenue.”
     
  2. JMick

    JMick

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    It's so true. Herbst was always showing up at my friends STEM classes, either just sitting in or addressing the class going on about how great of a decision they made and how they were going to go and do UConn proud etc. etc. Their advisors were also much better than mine were.
     
  3. JMick

    JMick

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    Drew likes this.
  4. MASSconn

    MASSconn Pretentious CR Critic

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    I don't blame Susan. She's right. Until our profile gets to the Michigan level it's solely "who do you know" for jobs as a liberal arts major. I was one of them two years ago and was lucky to be from a good area outside of Boston. School has ZERO pull.
     
  5. JMick

    JMick

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    I think this misses the point completely if you read the articles. It's not about promoting STEM, that's great. It's about how they treat everyone else at the school like a second class citizen.

    For the record, I was not STEM or business and I found a job, in Connecticut, without knowing anyone at the company. So no, it's not just "who you know" though that does help a lot.
     
  6. Drew

    Drew Its a post, about nothing!

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    I don't think he means that in quite literally every circumstance of someone graduating with a non STEM major that the only way they can get a job is with connections. I think he is saying that it is immensely harder as a non-STEM student because the University does absolutely nothing from a career placement/career services perspective with these students and to that point he is 100% accurate.
     
  7. MASSconn

    MASSconn Pretentious CR Critic

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    Exactly
     
  8. SubbaBub

    SubbaBub Your stupidity is ruining my country.

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    Dear humanities, stop eating side dishes as your dinner's main course.

    Sincerely, a STEM major with a minor in Sociology.
     
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  9. Drew

    Drew Its a post, about nothing!

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    This 100%. I'm all for people choosing to study whatever they want but in today's world if you aren't in business or STEM in 2016, what are you really setting yourself up for? The days where you go to college purely to think about philosophy and related topics are gone. Yes, it is worth taking certain courses on this material but if you are spending $20k+ a year on schooling and choose to major in one of these degrees in today's job climate/environment I just don't know what you are doing.
     
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  10. Brettloaf

    Brettloaf

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    The school is putting money into guaranteed jobs for their students. Can you blame them? Its all about that ranking and research funding. It is sad to say but it is not going to get much grant money for the philosophy department.
     
  11. JMick

    JMick

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    Again, someone else completely misses the point. It's not just about money. It's about how students are treated while attending.
     
  12. pepband99

    pepband99

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    Does humanities need a safe zone, in that case?
     
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  13. SubbaBub

    SubbaBub Your stupidity is ruining my country.

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    I don't get this either. Every university has schools of study they accel at more than others. The mission of UConn used to be agriculture because that was important to the population.

    Then it became general education while private schools like Yale handled the heavy lifting, because the population needed a more educated workforce as farming declined.

    Now, what a state that relies on a highly educated workforce in the innovation and information age is STEM. We now have a fairly robust state and community college system to focus on general education.

    That's not to say humanities don't have a place in STEM, I firmly believe they do. How else do you humanize technology? But, as a premier curriculum of the University it's not forward thinking. Certainly not for a top university.
     
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  14. JMick

    JMick

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    STEM, Business, Ag, and humanities students all pay the same tuition. They should have equal access to benefits and opportunities and they should be treated equally by the administration.
     
  15. pepband99

    pepband99

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    This is tail wagging dog, IMHO. Perhaps the university is telling something that shouldn't be that hard to figure out - the job market for pure humanities majors is rough. Counciling/services is only applicable if there is an endgame.
     
  16. SubbaBub

    SubbaBub Your stupidity is ruining my country.

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    Are you being locked put of the dining hall or something?

    My school had schools of Humanities, Business, Science, Architecture, Engineering, and General Studies. Most students were in either science or engineering. If you were an Arch, Bus, HSS, or GS major, and I knew plenty of each, you knew you were a minority on campus. In fact, Bus, HSS, and GS were usually where the S&E washout's landed. They paid a lot for a diploma they could have received anywhere, but they still received a top level education and most leveraged their exposure to STEM into a pretty good job in their field.

    So if you insist on being a teacher or a social worker, don't run away from STEM, it could be the difference maker when you are competing with others in your field.

    My sociology exposure certainly gave me a leg up on the nerd salad that were my peers. I could actually talk to and understand other people with a little empathy thrown in.
     
  17. Drew

    Drew Its a post, about nothing!

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    I agree with you I'm just telling you how I interpreted his post. I was in a STEM program at UConn and I still don't think my counseling was as good as it could/should have been. I'm at one of the largest banks in the world now and I'm happy with my role but I definitely didn't find my role because of the major and school I was in if that makes sense.
     
  18. JMick

    JMick

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    So you didn't go to UConn. Got it. So you don't understand the climate.

    FYI I graduated with a degree in Resource Economics & Public Policy, so while not STEM, I wasn't a philosophy major or any of the other easy targets people like to pick on with the humanities. The fact of the matter is that STEM has better classrooms/facilities, advisors, and access to resources than the rest of the school. When you're paying the same amount of money as everyone else you should be receiving the same or at least similar levels of return or the school should at least be attempting to do so. Herbst showing up to classrooms and blowing hot air up every STEM students butt while ignoring the rest of the school is a bad look.

    Something no one ever talks about because it's taboo for some reason is that not everyone can graduate from a STEM program. People have different innate strengths and weaknesses and we should be steering people towards their strengths.
     
  19. kibblesnbits

    kibblesnbits

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    You're assuming that what you pay and your rate of return is all that matters. What about the individual and business taxpayers of the state that heavily subsidize your education and that of every student that attends UConn? Their rate of return is far greater by investing in STEM than by investing in other fields. Therefore, if the school, on behalf of the taxpayers, chooses to invest more in STEM fields (and thus those students studying in those field) they are acting in a fiduciarily responsible manner. Unlike primary and secondary education, which are considered rights, there's no inherent right to a post-secondary education provided by the state. It does so because an educated workforce is considered beneficial. If it also decides that certain fields are more beneficial than others, that is also appropriate. While hardly that only metric of value, it's no accident that STEM majors are aggressively recruited and make more upon graduation. They are in demand. Meeting private and public sector demand is a key component of any public educational system.
     
  20. JMick

    JMick

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    All of that is fine, and I don't necessarily have an issue with allocating monetary resources to STEM. The issues really stem (ha) from the attitude of the administration towards non-STEM majors and things like career counseling and quality of advisement outside of the business program and STEM fields. I also have a problem with the way we've begun to look at education in this country. Again, there are people that cannot succeed in STEM fields but have many other gifts and ways to contribute to society. Treating them as second class students sends a bad message to your students and alumni.
     
  21. kibblesnbits

    kibblesnbits

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    Students should be entitled to quality advising services within their major. In what way is that not happening? Are students not informed about graduation requirements and upcoming course schedules so they can meet requirements? Is the problem more regarding advice for post-graduation?

    Career counseling for non-STEM fields is always a challenge. Unlike mechanical engineers, who know that their first job will probably have the words "mechanical engineer" in the title, many non-STEM fields don't have a logical resulting career (unless it's grad school and on to teaching the same subject at the post-secondary level). One humanities department from another university handed my daughter a beautiful document with a few dozen mini-case studies for their graduates. Unfortunately, there was almost no pattern. They proudly announced that "you can do almost anything with an xxxx degree." When pushed they finally admitted that very few of their students ever directly applied their degree and the most successful repeated path had been going to law school. However, with the implosion within the legal community that path wasn't nearly as attractive as it was 10 years ago so they were reticent to discuss it.

    Placement assistance is even more of a problem. Unless it involves helping with resume construction, many schools offer limited value. Not many companies come to campus looking to recruit such fields so it's often, "once we're done with your resume it's up to you to distribute it in your area of choice." Even in fields like primary or secondary education where there is a logical career path there may be limited help because the jobs are so distributed the advice often sounds like "pick a geography and then apply to every school district within 30 miles."
     
  22. Drew

    Drew Its a post, about nothing!

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    this is actually a STEM degree. I know this because I graduated with a degree in Resource Economics as well
     
  23. JMick

    JMick

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    I had 5 advisors in 4 years. 2 when I was in the exploratory program and 3 within my department. Most of my friends who were in CLAS or ARE had similar situations happen. Meeting with them was absolutely useless as they barely knew what classes you should take (multiple times I was told to take a class that wasn't available that semester), did not realize what classes would lead to specific concentrations, etc. None of my friends in STEM programs had this issue. At most they had 2 advisors throughout their undergrad and everything was carefully laid out and directed for them. Their advisors would tell them which teachers graded easier, would let them know when a class opened up that weren't previously available, etc.
     
  24. JMick

    JMick

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    I was told it is not STEM and that economics and resource economics do not get STEM funding. I'm quite certain it's classified as a social science even though you get a Bachelors of Science degree.
     
  25. Drew

    Drew Its a post, about nothing!

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    After researching I guess you are right. "Agriculture and Natural Resources" is STEM but "Resource Economics" is not.

    STEM at UConn
     
  26. JMick

    JMick

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    Yeah it's pretty absurd too considering 90% of the classes overlap
     
  27. Drew

    Drew Its a post, about nothing!

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    Didn't want to make its own thread for but great opportunity for students:

    NSF Awards $3.5M to Support Diversity in STEM - UConn Today

    Under the leadership of the University of Connecticut, a higher education alliance dedicated to expanding diversity in the STEM fields recently received an infusion of $3.5 million to increase its efforts.

    The five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant marks a significant commitment to the regional initiative with a national profile.

    Founded in 2001, the Northeast Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NELSAMP) is made up of a half-dozen New England schools working to increase the number of historically underrepresented students in STEM. This fall, UConn assumed the lead role for the alliance, which includes Northeastern University; Tufts University; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of Rhode Island; and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
     
  28. Drew

    Drew Its a post, about nothing!

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    Not just Herbst pushing this either:

     
  29. SubbaBub

    SubbaBub Your stupidity is ruining my country.

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    The STEM stuff is better because it's newer. My school had shiny new computer science labs to spark the tech era. The physics and chemistry labs looked like the were used by Pasteur and Curie. Faculty and staff are always hit or miss.

    My guess is you would have been happier in an Operational Engineering program. I'm not familiar with ER&PP. It sounds like a cubicle career path with a government agency, but if you can handle money and regulatory compliance, you should do well enough in whatever industry you end up in.
     
  30. Brettloaf

    Brettloaf

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    I think you are missing the point by reading your comments. STEM brings in $. Humanities while still important, can be found at numerous schools even with the state of Connecticut. With the economic climate of the state, why wouldn't they go all in on STEM compared to other disciplines?