There is a need for “Scientists” in the Humanities

 

Dan Edelstein’s article “How Is Innovation Taught? On the Humanities and the Knowledge Economy” does raise an important reality that “In the face of limited resources, administrators and policy makers are urged to invest more in science, engineering, and technology programs (Goldin and Katz 2008); meanwhile, liberal arts colleges are on their way to becoming an endangered species (goodbye, Antioch!).” While there is much funding in the STEM fields, from personal experiences, I know having a sole STEM mindset is not innovative. There is a need for “Scientists” in the Humanities. As an environmental engineer, all of my work translate to affecting society. For example, I worked on a research project that evaluated consumer confidence reports. For those who don’t know what these reports are, they are ┬áreports that contain information on the quality and safety of tap drinking water. They are mandated by the USEPA to be delivered to water customers every year. Unfortunately, my research found that most of these reports were not well written and the clarity of message communication was poor throughout. As a result, a team of environmental engineers and “scientists” from humanities field collaborated to offer improvements to the readability and clarity of these reports. Without the training I had in my Science, Technology & Society course, it would have been difficult for me to communicate my work in a way that will benefit water customers. What is the point of the work I do in water quality and safety if I can’t effectively bridge that gap between me and society? I totally agree that,” the humanities provide students with the best opportunities for learning how to innovate.”

 

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