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What are we telling students about the value of the humanities and social sciences?

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nour Aoude, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Our daily work at the Federation is a reminder of how important the humanities and social sciences are to our success as an innovative and democratic society. We know very well that, without the self-reflection and criticism provided by the SSH, our public life and policy-making would be much impoverished.

But is this message being communicated effectively to young people who are deciding what to do next? Are there resources available to high school students explaining the value of a university degree? Do university students understand the important role that the SSH can play in their education?

With some effort, we have managed to find excellent resources for high school and university students. Below are some of our favourites. One thing that has become clear in our search, however, is that these resources are scarce. Across Canada and the world, it looks like we still have a lot of work to do as advocates of the humanities and social sciences to reach young people.

University Works by The Council of Ontario Universities
An excellent resource explaining, in graphs and words, why a university education in any discipline is still the best way to a successful career and higher earnings.
Read University Works here.

The Humanities Matter! by 4Humanities and UCL Centre for Digital Humanities
Developed in the UK, this infographic invites the reader on a compelling visual journey through key facts about studying the humanities. It masterfully explains, in language that is incredibly simple and real, how the value of the humanities goes beyond employment to touch our moral, spiritual and intellectual faculties as humans.
Read The Humanities Matter! here.

The Value of the Humanities (video) by Shanti van Dam
Dutch director Shanti van Dam interviews scholars in the Netherlands and the United States as they explain the integral contribution of the humanities to our society, technology and politics by providing a space for critique. Why, given this and the great student interest in studying the humanities, the video asks, are these disciplines losing funding?
Watch The Value of the Humanities here.

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