Deans Durand, McAllister Publish ‘Humanities = Jobs’ Article

March 9th, 2023

In a new paper published in a joint issue of the ADE/ADFL Bulletin on the Public Humanities, Alain-Philippe Durand and Ken S. McAllister describe a vision for humanities education centered on what they call “Contrarian Entrepreneurial Humanists.”


In the paper, Durand, Dorrance Dean, and McAllister, Associate Dean of Research and Program Innovation, write about the bright present and future for the humanities, laying out the versatile essential skills and knowledge students learn in the humanities, and how the University of Arizona’s College of Humanities a leader in integrating traditional and cutting-edge approaches to humanities teaching and learning.


In doing so, the College is bucking the trend of declining majors and in fact increasing the number of students in the humanities. From 2017 to 2019 the number of undergraduate majors grew 28 percent and from 2019 to 2020, the majors grew another 11 percent.


“Beyond the academy—and, again, contrary to popular thinking—humanities graduates are in demand and employed in the widest array of careers,” they write. “No entrepreneur, diplomat, engineer, or health-care worker can succeed, no careers nor industries flourish—not anywhere in the world—without applying the essential skills we practice and teach in the humanities.”


Durand and McAllister describe Contrarian Entrepreneurial Humanists as “intellectually promiscuous,” “playful when it comes to telling important stories,” “collaborate easily,” and “challenge antitransdisciplinary colleagues and senior administrators who think the humanities should ‘stay in their lane.’”


Durand and McAllister argue that a focus that includes career skills does not take away from traditional humanities education.


“One of the most powerful features of humanities education is its capacity to familiarize students with ways of being in the world that are not constantly driven by work, money, self-interest, and fear of difference. The lessons derived from a humanities education—new languages, cultures, traditions, histories, and stories—are precisely what make people bold in the face of change, ethical in the face of pressures to the contrary, and patient, empathic, and steady in the face of personal, social, and professional unrest,” they write. “We strongly believe we must continue to teach all genres, periods, and fields because it is this diversity and abundance of materials, topics, and approaches that constitute the preeminent foundation for a life well-lived and for a society worth living in.”


Read the full article: Humanities = Jobs: The Tactics of Contrarian Entrepreneurial Humanists.