Crisis the Humanities Pt. VI: Crossing Humanities and Science

In strategic planning futuring papers written last year by humanities faculty, Danny Goodwin and Sheila Curran Bernard, departments in the division suffered reputational damage to national donors following the deactivations.

“Addressing and overcoming this damage should be a priority as we move forward, to not only maintain current enrollments and offerings but also to grow them, for the benefit of the entire university community, on and beyond campus,” the paper read.

Danny Goodwin, associate professor of photography and related media, presents work at the University Art Museum for an April 3 showing. The English department and art & art history department collaberated on currculum activities for the exhibit “This Place.”
Tyler A. McNeil / Minerva Daily

The futuring papers also called for more interdisciplinary research between the sciences and the humanities, a change some departments are embracing to build enrollment.

UAlbany President Havidan Rodriguez at a December town hall cited a troubled sociology department during his tenure at the University of Delaware. After intertwining STEM programming within the department, enrollment began to increase.

“So, philosophy and English and history — all these are critical, important programs for the university and we want to continue to build on those strengths,” said Rodriguez. “And we want to ensure whether you graduate from engineering, emergency preparedness, science that you have a very strong liberal sciences foundation.”

The relationship between STEM, social sciences, and the humanities aren’t too far apart according to Robert Griffin, dean of the College of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity, and Emergency Preparedness.

In recent year, enrollment in CEHC has grown exponentially.

“There isn’t a single department on campus where I can’t show you some potential synergy with,” said Griffin.

STEM, HUMANITIES, AND A SECOND CHANCE

Video by Tyler A. McNeil /Minerva Daily

Souhimbou Doh Kone originally thought his first degree would be from the Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. Had he finished pharmacy school, Kone by last year would’ve been the only member of his immediate family in the country with a valid college degree.

But that didn’t happen. Disinterested from his studies and flunking two classes, he left. Kone didn’t know why he wanted to work in the pharmaceutical industry.

He went to Hudson Valley Community College and then the University at Albany. Now in his senior year, Kone, a public health major, wants to go back to pharmacy school for graduate studies. For him, this time is different.

After college, he wants to use pharmaceutical epidemiology to help treat others with inexpensive medicine in underdeveloped countries across the globe.

Kone often enjoys sitting next to the UAlbany fountain. The water water, he said, keeps him at peace while writing poetry. Tyler A. McNeil / Minerva Daily

“The fact that I’ve been here and learned about public health and epidemiology, I have a better sense of why I want to do pharmacy,” he said. “At first, I was just doing it ‘because,’ which is why I didn’t have as much intrinsic motivation.”

While focusing on a future in STEM, Kone saves time to transfer his experiences through poetry. Most recently, one of Kone’s poems, “Pegasus Flies Away” was selected to appear in “New York’s Best Emerging Poets: An Anthology,” coming out on Wednesday.

“I’m a Renaissance man in a lot of ways,” he said. “Art and science to me are damn near the same thing.”

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