Report - Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences

Report - Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences


The Heart of the Matter, a ong>Reportong> of the American Academy’s ong>Commissionong> on the

Humanities and Social Sciences, is intended to advance a dialogue on the importance

of the humanities and social sciences to the future of our nation.

Following the publication of the influential National Academies report Rising Above

the Gathering Storm (2007), the scientific community has worked to strengthen education

in the stem disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)

and to encourage new and expanded funding for scientific research. After a series of

meetings with government, foundation, and academic leaders in Washington, D.C.,

and around the country, members of the American Academy—leaders of universities,

learned societies, government agencies, and cultural institutions—decided to organize

a complementary effort on behalf of the humanities and social sciences.

In 2010, the Academy created the ong>Commissionong> in response to a bipartisan request

from members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives:

What are the top actions that Congress, state governments, universities, foundations,

educators, individual benefactors, and others should take now to

maintain national excellence in humanities and social scientific scholarship

and education, and to achieve long-term national goals for our intellectual

and economic well-being; for a stronger, more vibrant civil society; and for the

success of cultural diplomacy in the 21st century

The Heart of the Matter identifies three overarching goals: 1) to educate Americans in

the knowledge, skills, and understanding they will need to thrive in a twenty-first-century

democracy; 2) to foster a society that is innovative, competitive, and strong; and

3) to equip the nation for leadership in an interconnected world. These goals cannot be

achieved by science alone.

In five interrelated chapters, the report delineates the importance of the humanities

and social sciences in k-12 Education; Two- and Four-Year Colleges; Research; Cultural

Institutions and Lifelong Learning; and International Security and Competitiveness. It

advances arguments for strengthening teaching and research in the humanities and

social sciences. It recommends the expansion of lifelong learning programs. It recognizes

the urgent need to support the next generation of humanists and social scientists.

And it reaffirms the connections between the humanities and social sciences,

and the physical and biological sciences.

Ultimately, this report calls on parents, teachers, scholars, the media, and the public

at-large to join a cohesive and constructive national discussion of these issues. Many

public and private organizations contribute to the vitality of the humanities and social

6 Acknowledgments

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