The humanities are embattled in today’s universities—student enrollments are declining, faculty are cut, and job prospects for new PhDs are dim. Calls to justify humanities scholarship emanate from inside and outside the academy. Yet, even when numbers affirm the value of a humanistic education, humanists are often hard-pressed to make their case.
For decades, efforts to improve K-12 education have focused on standardized test results and other measures that frustrate teachers and students alike. How do we better prepare students to not merely regurgitate facts, but to develop the skills and insights they’ll need to solve the problems of the 21st century?
Universities are bastions of inquiry, where ideas are both nurtured and challenged. But what should we do when the freedom to speak and debate conflicts with the need to provide a safe learning environment? How do we cope with ideologies we find intolerable and speakers who seek to inflame our communities?