It was announced that the “University” of Akron will eliminate 80 programs to make room for some enhanced majors, an esports program, and to save money. I propose that any institution of higher education that doesn’t offer its students degrees in philosophy, political science, sociology, history, most modern languages, mathematics, or physics not be allowed to call itself a university. If the bulk of your program offerings are professional programs then you aren’t a university. Akron isn’t the first regional “university” to slash academic departments/programs to focus on other issues. These sorts of cuts are only part of a growing trend (e.g. SUNY Albany, SUNY Stony Brook, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point). One that should come at a costs to the institutions . . . they need to hand in their “university” card. They might well be top-notch polytechnic or professional institutions but they’re not a university.
The study of humanities is an important part of helping us understand what it means – and has meant – to be human. Declining enrollments in the study of arts, history, literature, language, and philosophy at colleges and universities across the country is a real and serious problem. At a recent forum at the Aspen Institute, Drew Gilpin Faust (President of Harvard) and Leon Wieseltier (former editor of The New Republic) discuss the situation and provide instruction dialogue about the issue.