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Studying the Humanities? Go Elsewhere.

Love literature? Fascinated by religion? In awe of the classics? That’s all well and good, but there is not much space for you right now at the Dartmouth College Admissions office, and even less so as the years go by. Word is that Jim Kim asked Admissions to make a greater effort to attract science majors to the College, even as students flock to the social sciences (chiefly Economics) — a fact that the numbers bear out: only 11% of the incoming students in the Class of 2016 want to study subjects in the humanities.

Admissions Humanities.jpg

That’s only 125 declared humanists in the Class of 2016 — a drop of almost a third from the 184 incoming students in the Class of 2004:

2009 Date Range.jpg

2009 Academic Interest Yellow.jpg

You almost get the sense that someone somewhere sees the Humanities as ancillary to the College’s main goals (pre-med, pre-wealth?), or as a future dumping ground for people who can’t hack the sciences and Economics.

The Humanities division is where students (even future hedge fund managers) are most likely to discuss right and wrong, and from where, most often, firebrand writers emerge to kindle debate at the College. When moral issues arise at Dartmouth, it is the Humanities faculty that weighs in on the matter in question, often after much debate with students. As such, reducing the number of incoming humanists makes a material change to intellectual and moral life in Hanover.

Such a modification in admissions policy would seem to be part of the governance of the College, no? Shouldn’t the faculty be consulted about such things?

Addendum: Jim Kim’s sense that vocational training trumped work in the humanities still has people shaking their heads in Hanover. From Kim’s interview with the Washington Post:

Kim Skill.jpg

I find it astounding that a man with so little understanding of the liberal arts could have been hired as Dartmouth’s President.


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