The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Keeping the ‘human’ in humanities

Britain’s Education Secretary Nicky Morgan recently infuriated students around the world after making statements that degraded studying the arts.

According to the Independent, Morgan spoke at the “Your Life” campaign, which aims to increase the number of students studying math and physics by 50 percent in the next three years.

At this campaign, Morgan stated, “If you wanted to do something, or even if you didn’t know what you wanted to do, then the arts and humanities were what you chose because they were useful for all kinds of jobs. Of course, we know now that couldn’t be further from the truth – that the subjects that keep young people’s options open and unlock the door to all sorts of careers are the STEM subjects.”

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. Morgan also insinuated that studying the arts holds people back, whereas math and sciences open up options. While the latter is true, that does not mean that the arts necessarily limit someone.

The lack of value currently being placed on the arts is ultimately frightening. President Barack Obama has also placed a large emphasis on STEM programs in the United States. According to the White House’s official site, it is his belief that improving STEM programs is “going to make more of a difference in determining how well we do as a country than just about anything else that we do here.”

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the gap of growth between STEM-related jobs and others is about seven percent, with STEM programs growing at 17% and others growing at around 9.8%.

Because all areas of STEM are constantly growing and in need of professionals, many people automatically assume that these are the best routes to take for their future. Many people choose these careers for money, not for passion. That is not to say that students are not passionate about fields relating to STEM, because many are. But many are just as passionate about the arts and humanities. Adults use these prosperous fields to scare students out of pursuing their passions in the arts, but the reality is that our society needs the arts as much as we need STEM.

The humanities are where some of the rawest forms of human expression happen. Not only that, but they are enriching and educational. As more and more emphasis is placed upon STEM programs, less and less people understand the value of the arts, especially young people.

The arts help people to develop. Without writers, there would be no books, or plays. Without the visual arts, there would be no dancing or acting. There would be a lack of importance placed on history, religion, philosophy and language. All of these forms of art contribute to the formation of people’s true selves. It is through the arts and humanities – writing, painting, dancing, philosophy, etc. – that many people find themselves and realize their values. STEM programs are equally as important as the arts as they help society advance in the fields of medicine, mathematics and technology. STEM keeps our society moving forward just as art does.

The two have something in common; they keep us alive – mentally, physically and emotionally. They are equally important in the development of our society.

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About the Contributor
Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief
Suzanne Ciechalski is a senior journalism major with a minor in government and politics. In her second year as EIC, she hopes to continue increasing the Torch’s editorial content by spanning coverage to include news within the local community outside of SJU, and breaking news. She also hopes to expand the Torch’s visibility by building on the paper’s online presence and by reaching out to students through stories, journalism workshops and other events. Before graduating, she hopes to instill an element of community service within the Torch by reaching out to local high schools about how the Torch can help them build on their current newspaper, or develop one. Suzanne has been with the Torch for three years, previously serving as the opinion editor and as a staff writer. Have any questions? Email Suzanne at [email protected]

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