The day-long event that the Humanities Research Institute and others are hosting at the University of Regina tomorrow is certainly timely. As media like us have been reporting, the university is conducting an academic program review to cope with shifts in student demand in a relatively flat funding environment while still trying to fulfill its traditional mandate as a centre of knowledge, academic freedom and creativity as opposed to simply being a job-training factory (or something like that).
With sectors of the economy like resource extraction, health and business management booming, students facing the pressure of high tuition, uncertain job prospects and a sharp spike in the cost of living are queuing up (literally, and figuratively too I suppose) to study in areas where career prospects are solid. To meet that demand, the U of R (along with many other universities), is contemplating cuts in areas like arts and humanities and fine arts that aren’t perceived to be as practical in the grand scheme of things.
But in the really GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS, as measured by humanity’s evolution over the last million years or so, those disciplines, along with pure as opposed to applied research where the goal is to create a marketable product, have been instrumental in taking us from semi-simian status to where we are today. And they need to be nurtured along with all the other disciplines we rely on.
It’s issues like those that will be explored in a town hall meeting called “Balance and Change In the 21st Century”. It goes at Campion College on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Then that evening, the HRI is hosting the annual Barbara Powell Lecture. Speaking this year is Dr. Antonia Maioni (pictured above), President of the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences, who will be discussing “Imagining Our Common Future”. That goes at Campion at 7:30 p.m.