Izawwlgood wrote:Ehhhh, you're making some pretty serious assumptions about what happens in non-STEM classes. You bullshitting your way through an intro level soc class doesn't mean someone who majors in English has bullshitted their way through the four years.
And as somebody who has gone through about 5 years of that English thing, the assertion that humanities jargon is part of the general lexicon is laughable. Even if the words are found in the lexicon, the meanings in the humanities tend to be much more specific.
And I can tell you as a person who is in a social science major (political science...with psychology and economics minors), and who hangs out with sociology people a lot, it can really get frustrating sometimes dealing with the common usage of a word and the academic usage of the word. Here's something fun to do: walk up to a sociologist and say sex and gender are the same thing ^_^. Go on, I dare you to. Expect either a rant, or them to just shake their head sadly at you. Heck, you people in STEM programs should be feeling the same way every time someone yells "[blank] is only a theory."
But anyways, got tired of just lurking and reading through the thread, so I figured I would just throw my own opinions out there, or at least some of my general feelings on some of the stuff that has been mentioned.
1) The whole 'basketweaving' thing is, quite frankly, really insulting to those of us who are in degrees that are implied, whether on purpose or not, to be of that category. If your part of a good program that actually knows what it is doing, then it can be just as challenging. And of course if you're in a social science like I am, there is a crapload of statistics you need to do, especially if you're going onto the graduate level (and don't get me started on economics...you'd pretty much have to be a math major to do it at the graduate level). I'm not sure if this is the same deal in history or other majors, but at the very least I would believe they are subject to, if a good, competent program, peer review and other such methods to try and ensure quality and effort is being made.
And speaking of quality, "harder" does not automatically mean "better". So even if we can objectively say STEM-degrees are harder than nonSTEM-degrees (and I don't necessarily believe that is the case and it's a more subjective thing), so what? That doesn't automatically mean they are better than nonSTEM-degrees or contribute to society more than nonSTEM-degrees.
2) I do agree though people need more information on understanding a degree that they have may not be as 'marketable' as another, or that they shouldn't expect to be paid the same as someone in a different degree. I don't believe, however, a degree is "unmarketable"; it's just people seem to have really narrow ideas of what kind of work one can do with a particular degree. For example, political science; I can be a professor if I want to (and admittedly that's the direction I'm looking at because I'm really interested in research in the field), but there's more than just that. And there is definitely more to it than just working in "government" (even then, that's a pretty wide field there to look at). Here's just a sample list from the American Political Association: http://www.apsanet.org/content_6457.cfm
So maybe more assistance in job transitioning from college to the workforce, and more emphasis on how skills from one field can be used in another (which isn't as hard as one may think in the social sciences; heck, I just need a sociology minor and I'd have the entire social science field locked down
), etc etc. so people can have a better understanding of what kind of options are out there instead of just thinking "I'm a sociology major, so I'm going to just teach sociology".
3)...is there a need to have STEM vs nonSTEM? I mean, is there no way we can encourage interdisciplinary programs? I personally think there is a lot the fields can learn from each other, and if done right, can improve the quality of learning in the various fields. I mean, in the discussion going on right above this there is a mention of philosophy and the hard sciences together
Zamfir wrote:It might be different in other countries, but here philosophy is (exaggerated) an enclave of the hard science attitude. Lots of male students and staff, up to engineering proportions, many of the students are dual students with another track in a science field, and usually more interdisciplinary cooperation between philosophy and hard sciences than with humanities departments or social sciences.
Okay granted it makes me sad the social sciences and humanities are getting left out =P. Still though, I personally think that it's great the two are intertwined like that. I took an intro-level philosophy course for my humanities requirement, and I loved it. Even better, much of what was discussed can be relevant in my own major field (yay political philosophy...and some of the social philosophy stuff...and not so yay some of the other *cough*Ayn Rand*cough*).
Now granted maybe requiring some kind of interdisciplinary studies would be going to far *looks at University of Michigan's graduate program that has a major field, cognate field, and two subfields*, but does it really hurt anyone to take a humanity class or two (or a science class or two if you're a more humanities person)? And if you like it, take one up as a major/minor/electives; and if not, well, no harm done . I just think acting as if it's "all STEM or bust" is kind of silly =P. Though if there is a time issue I guess it's understandable, but I won't say much else on that matter since I don't know too much about engineering or other STEM majors (though if the program barely fits within a normal 4-year period it might need some reworking...)