Another new feature? The beginning of the end. Glad to see Fab's out there still!
Fabby, you scoundrel, that's a great bad-looking graphic!
Humanities degrees dip. [Wall Street Journal]We've been hearing that story for a long, long time. If you search for "humanities degrees decline" you can find news stories going back to 2009 such as:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/books/25human.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 aka:"In Tough Times, Humanites Must Justify Their Worth" by Patricia Cohen.I'm sure if I jiggered the search terms, I could find news stories of this type dating back to the 1980s. What you don't hear is that we graduate 50 percent more IT and engineering students than the market will absorb, thanks to the corporations' unwillingness to end offshoring/using foreign techs on H-1B visas.
It's probably going to take another 5-10 years for us to figure out what might be a real trend, and what is merely an effect of the recession. Also, the recession may have unexpected consequences; so far, some students (and their parents) seem to be becoming even more desperately careerist, while others, seeing where desperate careerism is leading (e.g. to a newly-minted law degree and 100K+ in debt and no job) are actually interested in thinking about the meaning of life, or at least rethinking the larger structures of the economy (cf. the Occupy movement). It will be interesting to see where it all leads. The Great Depression was, of course, followed by WWII, so it's not (at least I hope not) really a model.
And a nicely-done reply to the WSJ piece (the basic point is that it matters where you set the baseline; humanities enrollments were unusually *high* c. 1970; the overall post-WWII decline is pretty gradual, especially when you keep in mind that whole new majors/fields of study, most of them in the STEM areas, have been created in the interim). Thanks to Flavia for pointing the way to this one on her blog .