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liberal arts

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As colleges shift their priority towards the STEM field, the potential effects of curtailing the liberal arts have come into question. In recent years, many collegiate liberal arts programs have found themselves struggling to maintain a prominent role in higher education. State legislators have offered funding bonuses for high demand degrees that reflect work most needed in a given state. In turn, incentive to promote the humanities has declined. This has been seen at Stony Brook University, which chose to cut several humanities programs within the College of Arts and Sciences to address its budget deficit. And while research by the U.S. Department of Education has found that STEM degrees yield higher salaries on average than their counterparts, many educators are left to ponder the consequences of sending college graduates into the workforce without a solid foundation in the liberal arts. Bente Videbaek is a Stony Brook University Professor who…

In 1636, a farmhouse on one acre of cow pasture became America’s first establishment of higher education. As told in The History of American Higher Education by Roger L. Geiger—distinguished professor of Education Policy Studies at Pennsylvania University—the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony, hoping to establish a college comparable to the universities of their former country, an Oxford or Cambridge of the New World, gave 400 pounds to what would become known as Harvard University. Seven years later, in 1643, a pamphlet titled “New England’s First Fruits” published a passage recalling the university’s conception: “After God had carried us safe to New-England, and wee had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood… one of the next things we longed for, and looked after was to advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity…” 373 years later, these words still are inscribed on Harvard’s gates, and politicians still…