Humanities On The Block At Miami

https://www.chronicle.com/article/citing-unprecedented-financial-challenges-miami-u-tells-low-enrollment-majors-to-change?cid=gen_s**a**ign_in

Silly paywall. I wonder what other programs are on the chopping block.

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  • American studies BA
  • Art history BA
  • Critical race and ethnic studies BA
  • Classical studies BA
  • French BA
  • French education BS
  • German BA
  • German education BS
  • Health communication BA
  • Health information technology BA
  • Italian studies BA
  • Latin American studies BA
  • Latin education BS
  • Religion BA
  • Russian, East European and Eurasian studies BA
  • Spanish education BS
  • Social justice BA
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Top majors (sorry for the quality):

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Just straight-up not going to offer degrees in French, German, classics?

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I have access to the article and it looks like Miami is going to give them an opportunity to revamp, partner up etc, to try to save the programs. They aren’t on the chopping block yet, but I would say the axe is being sharpened.

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Would that mean not offering the majors anymore or completely getting rid of the GRAMELAC department?

https://www.chronicle.com/article/gutting-language-departments-would-be-a-disaster

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There are no clear implications right now. My guess is that some majors will be combined and a few will indeed disappear. For example, GRAMELAC has two majors plus a few interdepartmental majors. My guess, and again this is a guess, is that the two majors will go away, and a bigger emphasis will be placed on minors and interdepartmental majors. Think about a hypothetical “International Business” major, where students have to take language courses. Some of these courses will still be offered by GRAMELAC. The major implication for faculty is that tenured/tenure-track faculty will have to teach courses they typically don’t teach (first/second-year courses or courses offered to students from other divisions). These courses tend to be taken care of by visiting faculty. The cost-saving benefit will come from not having to hire too many visiting faculty anymore.

I realized this list is actually old.

Health IT is not in danger. Four other majors are part of that list:

• Latin American Studies
• American Studies
• Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
• Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
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I never understood Miami trying to offer area studies majors without the umbrella of resources that a research university with Title VI National Resource Centers would have available. It sounds like some administration along the way bit off more than it could chew. I guess that’s why they’re up for elimination.

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The irony is that Miami through the late 1800s only offered a “classical” education consisting of languages, philosophy, etc. based on what I remember from Phillip Shriver’s book.

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A current economic study indicates the US’ Latino economy will reach $3.2 Trillion in 2023. Nearly all of the Western Hemisphere south of the US border constitutes Latin America. Social upheaval and economic instability in parts of Central America and northern South America are having a highly consequential impact on US immigration. Brazil is aligned with BRICS. Nicaragua hosts the largest and most sophisticated Russian cyber intrusion base in the Western Hemisphere. Cuba has recently rekindled its close relationship with Russia.

I was an International Studies (B) major at Miami with an emphasis in Latin American. I didn’t realize Miami had developed a full-blown Latin American Studies program.

Latin American Studies has always taken the back seat to European Studies and Asian Studies. I would argue - in the 21st Century - it should share the stage, not be eliminated.

I agree with your overall point. I’m just not sure that Miami is the place that it should be done. Given Miami’s resources and small enrollment in the humanities and social sciences, I think Miami should be worried about making the core departments like History, Political Science etc. as strong as they can be rather than spreading the peanut butter too thin and trying to compete with places that have Title VI level resources for area studies centers. Does anyone know if State/CIA/NSA were recruiting those Latin Studies and Russian Studies majors at Miami?

Given your knowledge of the NESCAC colleges, I checked Middlebury’s majors and minors. Here’s an elite LAC that’s particularly strong in languages and a pipeline into those government agencies that I mentioned, and they only offer area studies as minors.

FWIW, I’m a critic of Miami’s over emphasis on Farmer and feel that Arts and Sciences should get more attention and resources.

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I would expect there’s a greater likelihood of having a full blown LA area studies program at Tufts than the other NESCAC colleges…possibly one at Wesleyan. When I was at Miami, the premier LAS program in the country was predictably at the University of Texas at Austin…and probably still is. Miami is definitely evolving into something different from what it historically has been since WWII, when it began morphing from a small state-assisted LAC/teachers college into a mid-sized LAC/College of Education and Business/Accounting university.

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So schools are just going to become guilds? As a proud Classics major, this saddens me greatly but I’ve seen it coming. Perdue, any of the liberal arts that aren’t ag or vet related are really getting pushed aside.

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Very timely article by The Miami Student: ‘This is absolutely heartbreaking’: Miami considers eliminating majors in the humanities - The Miami Student (I find the plot with enrollment numbers very nice)

It is heartbreaking to see what is happening with the humanities. But that is not a Miami problem. Bar a few universities, this issue is very much general now in the U.S.

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If Miami eliminated these:

  • American studies BA
  • Art history BA
  • Critical race and ethnic studies BA
  • Religion BA
  • Social justice BA

How many of the other useful majors could be saved?

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Part of the issue is that nothing on the list to be cut is “useful” in the sense that one can say “a nursing degree trains you to work in an operating theater when you graduate” or “a civil engineering degree teaches you to design roads when you graduate.” That and low enrollment are why they’re on the chopping block.

But that opens up a whole thing about the purpose of a university education.

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It’s funny. A lot of the most successful people I know aren’t actually working in what they studied. That may just be in my world as I can also say there are likely many where there’s a 1:1 with what they studied and what they are doing. I guess my point is it’s not binary.
In an age where you can get any info you’d ever need online, can an argument really be made for either direction? Complex stuff.

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