Religious Studies Blog

Posted on February 14th, 2024 in Faculty, Research by Sydney Bielefeld

In a time where the humanities are often overlooked in favor of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines, Dr. Rachel Wheeler, our esteemed department chair, proposed a groundbreaking solution to revitalize the humanities: one-credit “co-labs” attached to STEM courses. Dr. Wheeler’s innovative idea seeks to address the imbalance between technical skills and essential humanistic understanding among students.

Rachel M. Wheeler headshot imageIn her recent article, A Cure for Humanities Deficiency Syndrome, Dr. Wheeler aptly describes the current state of affairs as “Humanities Deficiency Syndrome.” Despite students diligently checking off requirements in various subjects, they often graduate with a deficiency in the essential nutrients provided by the humanities. These vital nutrients, she argues, are best delivered in small, face-to-face learning settings where students can engage deeply with diverse perspectives, critical thinking, and creativity.

The concept of co-labs, as proposed by Dr. Wheeler, offers a promising remedy to this deficiency. By attaching one-credit humanities modules to STEM courses, students can seamlessly integrate humanistic inquiry into their technical education. These co-labs would provide students with opportunities to explore themes such as ethics, history, literature, and cultural studies relevant to their field of study.

Imagine a computer science student delving into the ethical implications of artificial intelligence, or an engineering student analyzing the societal impacts of sustainability energy solutions. These co-labs would not only enrich students’ understanding of their chosen field but also foster interdisciplinary connections and holistic learning experiences.

Dr. Wheeler emphasizes the importance of face-to-face interaction in these co-labs. In an era dominated by digital communication, she argues that genuine human connection is essential for meaningful learning and personal growth. Small class sizes enable lively discussions, collaborative projects, and individualized attention, nurturing students’ intellectual curiosity and empathy.

In conclusion, “A Cure for Humanities Deficiency Syndrome” offers a compelling vision for the future of education–a future where the humanities are not merely an afterthought but an integral part of every student’s academic journey. Let us embrace this vision and work together to save the humanities for generations to come.