UW president touts virtues of humanities

Oct 28, 2013

Land grant institutions, like the University of Wyoming, were designed to provide a practical education. In a recent editorial, UW’s president makes the case that the humanities and fine arts are also part of that practical education.

Credit www.uwyo.edu

Since becoming UW’s president earlier this year, Sternberg says he’s heard lots of conversation about engineering, agriculture, and business, but not so much about the humanities. As a psychologist, much of Sternberg’s work has focused on creativity.

“In a rapidly changing society, creativity is not optional, and it’s not just for the gifted. It’s for everybody.”

Sternberg says literature, history, languages, creative writing, music, and other arts teach essential problem solving skills…like creative and critical thinking, and ethics. And he says those skills are paramount for employers.

“I’m not telling what people should major in, but my view is they should major in what they’re most excited about and what they’re passionate about. Because research in psychology shows that the people who are most successful are those who pursue their dreams, not someone else’s dreams.”

Regardless of major, Sternberg says studies in the arts and humanities strengthen work in any field.