Nonprofit director slams ‘self-inflicted wound’ of ‘identity politics’ in English after liberal arts majors found to make less money
- New rankings show that liberal arts majors have a lower median income and higher rate of unemployment than do STEM majors.
- Johnathan Pidluzny, ACTA’s director of academic affairs, told Campus Reform that the English major's decline into...identity politics is a self-inflicted wound that has rocked its credibility."
An education nonprofit officer slammed to Campus Reform the “self-inflicted wound” of “identity politics” in college English programs, after a Monday report found that liberal arts majors lead to some the worst job prospects.
Finance website Bankrate.com released a list ranking 162 college majors by career outlook, reported MarketWatch. Rankings were calculated in terms of median income and unemployment rate and used data from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, taken from the University of Minnesota’s IPUMS-USA research program.
Marine engineering and naval architecture majors face the best job prospects, with a $90,000 median income and 1.6 percent unemployment rate. Nuclear engineering majors, pharmaceutical scientists, geneticists, and electrical engineers are not far behind.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who studied the humanities and liberal arts. Drama and theater arts, visual and performing arts, and composition and rhetoric made up the bottom three spots on Bankrate’s list, with median incomes and unemployment rates of $35,500 and 5.2 percent, $32,000 and 4.1 percent, and $37,800 and 4.4 percent, respectively.
According to Bankrate’s calculations, all of the top 50 highest-paid majors with low unemployment are STEM disciplines. The lowest-paid majors with poor employment prospects, on the other hand, tend to be liberal arts and humanities.
Campus Reform discussed the ranking with higher education nonprofit the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.
“The liberal arts—taught with rigor—can make a vitally important contribution to a student’s education,” Johnathan Pidluzny, ACTA’s director of academic affairs, told Campus Reform.
However, “ACTA is very concerned about the politicization of humanities disciplines,” Pidluzny explained. “One of the reasons for collapsing enrollments in majors like history is that fewer historians are teaching the meaningful, ‘big picture’ courses—the kind that cultivate real understanding of the American democracy and Western civilization.” Instead, he says that many humanities departments are failing to cultivate “even basic numeracy and literacy” in their students, making them undesirable to employers.
“The English major was once a guarantor of effective, formal writing skills and the ability to comprehend and analyze the complex thoughts found within centuries of brilliant and challenging poetry and prose,” the director of academic affairs told Campus Reform, discussing one such major. “Its decline into the epiphenomena of popular culture and identity politics is a self-inflicted wound that has rocked its credibility.”
English language and literature ranked #132 out of 162 on Bankrate’s list, with a median income of $47,800 and a 3.4 percent unemployment rate.
Despite this, Pidluzny is confident that students and employers could benefit from the humanities if they’re reformed to be “rigorous and coherent.”
“Studies show that liberal arts majors also do better in the labor market than is generally appreciated, especially if you consider long-term earnings,” the ACTA official noted to Campus Reform. “No course of study does a better job preparing leaders. In fact, one international study found that 55% of leaders in business and politics have liberal arts degrees.
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