Report Argues Humanities, Social Sciences Are Central to Meeting National Goals
Report Argues Humanities, Social Sciences Are Central to Meeting National Goals
June 25, 2013

Shoring up support for the humanities and social sciences, at a time when the nation’s education and research agendas have shifted heavily toward the STEM fields, is critical to America’s future, according to a report released on June 19 by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The commission’s report, which was requested by a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers, argues that investing “more time, energy, and resources in research and education in the humanities and social sciences” is “essential for the inventiveness, competitiveness, security, and personal fulfillment of the American public.”

The report, titled The Heart of the Matter, advocates three goals in which the humanities and social sciences play a central role:

  • Educating Americans in the knowledge, skills, and understanding they will need to thrive in a 21st century democracy

  • Fostering a society that is innovative, compelling, and strong

  • Equipping the nation for leadership in an interconnected world

 As part of the second goal, the commission recommends several courses of action for research in the social sciences and humanities:

  • Increasing funding for research at the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other related federal agencies

  • Building connections among researchers in the social sciences and humanities and the biological and physical sciences to tackle “Grand Challenges”

  • Communicating the importance of research to the public. As stated in the report, the call for renewed funding should be complemented with discussions with the broader community of the public value of their research.

“A country is only as strong as its commitment to education and research, across all disciplines of learning and science,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “The commission’s report draws much needed attention to just how critical the nation’s investments in these areas are. It’s an important wake-up call to not just the country’s policymakers, but society at large.”  

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