Don't forget the Humanities!

I recently came across this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, urging college professors to fight grade inflation in the Humanities. As a college-level Instructional Assistant, I see this all the time. Students feel that their grade in their Anthropology course should reflect only effort and completion, not the content and understanding. This a trend that is not seen in the STEM fields as readily. As a result, professors are pressured to do just that; grade distribution in nearly all humanities classrooms do not follow a standardized bell curve as they might in a science or math classroom. 
This sort of behavior not only devalues the importance of the humanities in our society, but also puts our students at a disadvantage. The humanities (Reading, Writing, and the Social Sciences) not only teaches us valuable lessons about communication, and how to connect with other human beings, but allows as a venue to contextualize the STEM fields as they relate in our lives.
The STEM fields teach us to look at data, and to an extent interpret the meaning of numbers and trends as they are presented on paper. The humanities, however, are necessary to contextualizing that data as it pertains to human life. 
It is important that we as educators impart the importance of the humanities on to our students, and uphold them to a higher standard of understanding. By rewarding students with high grades for mere effort, we do a disservice to them, and contribute to the misunderstanding of the humanities. 


Kate A.

Liberal Arts Tutor with College-level Teaching Experience

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