Opinion

Staff Editorial: A well balanced education includes arts

Do budget cuts mean eliminating a college’s humanities department? For State University of New York Albany (SUNY) it does.

Earlier this month, the university announced its elimination of five degree programs: Russian, Italian, French, classics and theater.

Despite cutting these majors, SUNY decided to keep their Spanish program. Another hushed cutback is that the university plans to offer 13 journalism courses instead of 25 next semester.

George M. Philip, President of SUNY Albany, said the reason for dropping these programs was because of the university’s $33.5 million cuts from state funding and its low enrollment in those programs. SUNY is also anticipating another $12 million decline this year. Additionally, Philip noted that the decision had nothing to do with the curriculum and staff.

Although the economy is slow, these kinds of cuts are still somewhat surprising for such a large doctoral university.

Faculty was unaware and shocked by the news.

With 160 full-time positions expected to be laid off by 2012, SUNY will have discharged an approximate total of 360 positions since 2008. This act may be the simplest way to lay off faculty, but it surely is not the best possible solution for the university and its students.

Unfortunately, SUNY Albany is not the only university removing specific departments. According to the The New York Times, most large universities today encourage their students to take on practical majors like informational technology to prepare for the job market.

However, preparing for a career does not mean taking classes on solely one subject. By taking general education requirements, we gain knowledge in other fields and are exposed to a variety of courses.

Not only do these cutbacks place students under pressure to complete their majors before these departments are exterminated, but it deprives them from getting a well-rounded college education. Through the study of film, literature, languages and art, we are able to build on our creativity and critical thinking skills.

To throw away programs like this sends the message that humanities do not teach us anything and are not valuable.

“Knowing how to understand other languages, interpret cultural expressions, and evaluate belief systems is as indispensable to functioning effectively in the professional world as knowing how to use a computer,” said Louis Menand, an English Professor at Harvard University.

With all this in mind, we wonder if cutting back on certain departments will become a trend amongst all colleges across the U.S. And more importantly, would this happen to our very own University of Miami? It’s a frightening thought.

As of now, UM has always found the arts a necessity and has done an excellent job in advocating the humanities departments. The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest school on our campus, has about 3,912 degree-seeking students and offers students a well-rounded liberal arts degree.

Not only do we have a strong modern languages and literature department, but we also have an ambitious theater arts department that successfully promotes their productions and musicals.

If a university wants to “rethink, balance and reallocate resources,” shouldn’t it look into other solutions rather than diminishing the worthy and valuable role of the humanities department at a university? At UM, we excel and take great pride in these programs – other colleges should do the same.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

October 20, 2010

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Jesus Luzardo had yet to throw a single pitch as a professional baseball player in 2016 when he unde ...

Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Robert Marve has been arrested in Hillsborough County on an out- ...

Mark Richt has led the Miami Hurricanes back into the national college football conversation during ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and his vaunted 2018 signing class, nicknamed #Storm18, should ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced the 2018-19 schedule, featuring nine tourn ...

The Canes are well represented across the nation this summer with players competing in each of the t ...

The University of Miami had four student-athletes selected to the watch lists for the Maxwell Award ...

The University of Miami's Symone Mason closed out the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships with a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.