Note: This is an excerpt from an op-ed piece published in the Boulder Daily Camera on Jan. 27.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point plans to cut some of its core programs in the liberal arts, including French, German and history,The New York Times reported this week.
This is news because it reflects a common view—among students, parents and many pundits—that liberal-arts majors face diminished lifelong-earning potential and career success. That view is a myth—a myth with significant consequences extending far beyond UW-Stevens Point.
Since the great recession, the number of college students nationwide majoring in history and English, two staples of the humanities, has been cut nearly in half. At the same time, students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math—or STEM—have risen sharply.
But actual data refute the myth that drives the trend.