Are STEM Fields Over-Prioritized in Higher Education?

Institutions of higher education have long contributed to social and economic progress, analyzing values and fueling innovation, with many courses and degrees. Modern political leaders are impatient for economic growth and express concern about shortages of STEM graduates. “The perception that science, technology, engineering and mathematics matter more, economically and academically, than the humanities and social sciences abounds around the world,” explains Paul Axelrod, author and professor emeritus and former dean of the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto. “STEM programs are critical components of universities’ curricular and research missions, but so, too, are the liberal arts and these programs should not be marginalized in market-driven, academic prioritization schemes.” The humanities offer steady contributions, relaying insights on history, culture, industry and foreign relations while expanding imaginations and possibilities. Universities and corporations recognize that a diverse skillset is most useful for a fast-changing global marketplace and demand for workers who never stop learning. Axelrod warns that no sector is immune from precarious employment, and concludes that academic freedom and critical thinking are essential for educational and economic success. – YaleGlobal