The implications of radically favoring STEM and discouraging humanities is detrimental both to society and individual students. Organ. Facts & Figures The debate over the role of the humanities in higher education and American life reached new fervor this summer with the publication of several high profile reports and articles. BurningGlass (2013). It may be the case that individuals' interests may shift as they continue to work in a particular setting. Sci. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});Hanging up the gloves in this brutal battle will be no easy task. Aristotelianism, Platonism, Stoicism and other later philosophical schools similarly explored metaphysics, ethics and morality in addition to what modern readers consider hard sciences — mathematics, cosmology and natural philosophy (or physics). The story was similar for women. doi: 10.1007/s10869-014-9351-z, Tsabari, O., Tziner, A., and Meir, E. I. RWA web: a free, comprehensive, web-based, and user-friendly tool for relative weight analyses. These fields were then coded based on whether they were humanities or STEM. Beam, A. Educ. Despite a rich, ancient history attesting to the intimately connected nature of these disciplines, society slowly began cleaving them from one another, often claiming practical superiority of STEM. Humanities perspective is needed in all global challenges The second conviction around which the debate swirls is that the world desperately needs the insights of the humanities. Nauta, M. M. (2010). 7, 384–403. Meta-analysis of the relationship between congruence and well-being measures. Methods 7, 238–257. Students in these disciplines would benefit to know their origins, development and religious implications. Accordingly, future research is needed to further our understanding of why STEM majors may sustain more detrimental outcomes when there is a lack of fit. The development, evolution, and status of holland's theory of vocational personalities: reflections and future directions for counseling psychology. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. (2005). Despite a growing number of studies demonstrating the importance of fit between interests and major/career, an increasing discordant rhetoric can be heard emphasizing either STEM or the humanities in education and work. Even controlling for ability-related variables and personality, interest fit accounted for more variance in work satisfaction and life satisfaction, an equivalent amount of variance in financial satisfaction, and less variance in personal income. J. Copyright © 2019 Vaziri, Tay, Parrigon, Bradburn and Pawelski. Statistics published by Eurostat in June 2017 show similar trends in subjects studied by male and female students in higher education across the EU. Here, we report unstandardized coefficients (b), which represent how much the outcome variable would change with a 1-unit change in the independent variable. For instance, a report by the American Academy of Arts Sciences (2013) claimed that the humanities “go beyond the immediate and instrumental to help us understand the past and future…They are critical to our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness” (p. 13). Humanities centers and institutes are key to improving the image of the humanities among the public and policy makers, writes Aaron R. Hanlon. Humanities Indicators (2017). Behav. Astronomy and physics, for example, are ancient fields of study. Wri… The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: That is, for individuals to flourish, the decision to pursue a major (e.g., STEM vs. Humanities) is best to be based on their interests rather than the major's income potential. Behav. The data that support the findings of this study are available from Gallup, but restrictions apply to their availability. In addition, the 2016 United States President's budget for STEM education increased to $3 billion with little investment in humanities education (Office of Management Budget, 2016). Why we still need to study the humanities in a STEM world (iStock) By Valerie Strauss Valerie Strauss Reporter covering education, foreign affairs … classes than the number of hard science classes taken by English / History / Sociology / etc majors. Participants were on average male (58%), Caucasian (91%), and married (68%). doi: 10.1016/0001-8791(87)90046-7. doi: 10.1038/s41562-017-0277-0, Johnson, J. W., and Lebreton, J. M. (2004). Humanities, those branches of knowledge that concern themselves with human beings and their culture or with analytic and critical methods of inquiry derived from an appreciation of human values and of the unique ability of the human spirit to express itself. Finally, another limitation of our study is the generalizability of the results. Humanities traditionally include disciplines such as history, languages, literature, philosophy, classical studies, religion, art, law, politics and human geography. We used data from 8,151 college-educated employed adults from the United States as surveyed in the Gallup-Purdue Index (GPI) since 1985. Grocers? Hypothesis 2: Interest fit is a more important predictor of well-being outcomes (i.e., work satisfaction, life satisfaction, and financial satisfaction) than educational track. This list of humanities majors with successful careers, both within and beyond what they studied, is endless. In view of this, our goal is to examine how the fit between personal interests and job compares with STEM or the humanities educational track in explaining a variety of well-being and economic outcomes. Manage. Although these finding should be treated with caution for a couple of reasons. The past ten years has seen dramatic shifts in the majors of college graduates. J. Vocat. First, the data used in this research is single-source and cross-sectional in nature, which limits our ability to draw causal conclusions. The results of the RWA analysis (Supplementary Figure 2) indicated that perception of interest fit accounted for 87, 50, 23, and 10% of the explained variance for work satisfaction, life satisfaction, financial satisfaction, and personal income, respectively. Nat. Participants were, on average, male (51%), Caucasian (88%), and unmarried (81%). The same is true of STEM and humanities — with only mathematicians and engineers, who will record our history? My experience was that STEM majors took far more English / History / Sociology / etc. Available online at:, Terence, T. J. G., and Robbins, S. B. Assessing the relationship between industry characteristics and organizational culture: how different can you be? They remain underrepresented in engineering The choice of majoring in STEM or humanities must be motivated by a fascination and intrigue in said subject — not from societal pressures and myths. doi: 10.1126/science.1177067, PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar. Single-source and self-report nature of the data poses some limitations as it increases the possibility of common method variance. In other words, we argue that it is not the choice of major or educational track (i.e., STEM vs. humanities) per se, but whether individuals' interests are congruent with the major or occupation that leads to enhanced individual outcomes. Person–environment Congruence and Holland's theory: a review and reconsideration. We also found that lack of fit may have a more detrimental effect on work satisfaction for those in STEM majors. Behav. Studies also suggest that when students can relate course materials to their own lives, they have higher motivation and performance in class (Hulleman and Harackiewicz, 2009). While we expect that major field to be a stronger predictor of personal income, we expect perception of interest fit to be more important with regard to other well-being outcomes (namely, work satisfaction, life satisfaction, and financial satisfaction). Available online at: (accessed July 14, 2017). Available online at: (accessed October 17, 2017). Particularly, Study 2 utilizes a sample of recent college graduates from a large Midwestern university, which is a heavily STEM-focused institution. Given that we are interested in exploring the most important predictors of well-being outcomes, we also conducted relative weight analysis (RWA; Johnson and Lebreton, 2004; Tonidandel and LeBreton, 2015). Society continually degrades these professions and yet fundamentally relies on them. doi: 10.1016/0001-8791(72)90012-7, Chatman, J. Interest congruence and performance: revisiting recent meta-analytic findings. Here, we report rescaled relative weights (RS-RW) which represent the weights as the percentage of explained variance. (2003). Available online at: (accessed October 17, 2017). American Academy of Arts Sciences (2013). J. Vocat. J. Vocat. Accordingly, longitudinal research is needed to better understand how interest fit during college would affect future well-being outcomes. History and use of relative importance indices in organizational research. Today’s classrooms seldom foster true self-discovery, or encourage broad intellectual inquiry, or adequately prepare students for a world beyond pearly white campus gates. Humanities majors encourage analysis, critical-thinking, and a vast knowledge of various topics. Further, while the major accounted for more variance (15%) in personal income compared to interest fit (3%), the two did not differ in importance in explaining financial satisfaction (3 and 6%, respectively). 13, 216–232. Real-Time Insight Into The Market For Entry-Level STEM Jobs and STEM Careers. J. Vocat. J. Couns. As with any study, our research has some limitations that should be considered. Behav. 37, 522–553. Where would we be without trash collectors? I know that depiction is too simplistic; but, it helps explain why people like Gale don’t view STEM experts as … I was recently part of a conversation at the Fields Institute at the University of Toronto which asked another question: “What does the A stand for in STEAM?” STEAM inserts arts into the acronym for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Between 2009 and 2013, the percentage of students graduating with science and engineering degrees increased by 20% (Tizon, 2013), while the percentage of those graduating with degrees in the humanities decreased (Humanities Indicators, 2017). The results also indicated that the interaction between interest fit and major was only a significant predictor of work satisfaction (b = 0.04, p < 0.001), such that the effect of interest fit on work satisfaction was stronger for STEM majors (b = 0.65, p < 0.001) compared to those in the humanities (b = 0.58, p < 0.001). doi: 10.5465/amr.2001.4378011, Keywords: STEM, humanities, interest fit, well-being, income, Citation: Vaziri H, Tay L, Parrigon S, Bradburn NM and Pawelski JO (2019) STEM or Humanities? Table 1. The humanities crisis is multifaceted. doi: 10.1177/0963721414522812, Spokane, A. R., Meir, E. I., and Catalano, M. (2000). Sci. Consistent with prior research (Campbell and Holland, 1972; Spokane et al., 2000; Nauta, 2010), these findings point to the importance of an individual's interests when making decisions about his or her major and future career. The rhetoric from proponents of each field reinforces the idea that either STEM or humanities careers would provide higher values to individuals and societies when compared to the other. Kiley, K. (2013, January 30). The nature and power of interests. In line with this research, our results point to the important role of the match between individuals' interests and their career to their future well-being. Jebb, A. T., Tay, L., Diener, E., and Oishi, S. (2018). (1994). Res. eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'studybreaks_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_2',120,'0','0']));“Through studying the humanities, one has the opportunity to get to know oneself and others better,” writes Gerald Greenberg, senior associate dean at Syracuse University. More important than careers and job success, however, is the interest of students. This gives way to an even larger, generational dilemma. Burning Glass Technologies. In addition, while the percentage of variance in personal income accounted by interest fit was not significantly different from that of major field, interest fit was a more important predictor compared to the major field in explaining work satisfaction, life satisfaction, and personal satisfaction (Table 1). 26, 179–201. Bivariate correlations among study variables are reported in Supplementary Table 1. Well-being metrics expand our notions of societal progress beyond economic outcomes and reflect additional valued qualities such as psychological health, participation in democracy, and respect for human rights (Diener and Seligman, 2004; Helliwell et al., 2015). STEM provides job specific training but, in isolation, fails to offer a broad foundation for further career development, leaving students at risk when jobs in their designated STEM fields are unavailable — which is a looming possibility. 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