Humanities schools must do more to demonstrate the value of their teaching and research to prevent being an easy target for university funding cuts, says a leading Queensland academic.
The founding director of the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland, Emeritus Professor Graeme Turner, said the Humanities had endured years of under-funding and presented a soft target for governments looking for savings.
Professor Turner will be the keynote speaker at the Griffith Centre for Cultural Research and School of Humanities Combined Research Day at Brisbane’s South Bank tomorrow (October 25).
He will also participate in a panel discussion, The Future of the Humanities, alongside Griffith University’s Professor Mark Finnane, University of Sydney’s Professor Margaret Harris and the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ Dr Christina Parolin.
Professor Turner said justification for tertiary funding had become so closely linked to commercial imperatives and employment outcomes that questions were constantly raised about the merit of Humanities degrees.
He added that consistent enrolment figures – more than half of all tertiary students choose degrees in the Humanities and Social Sciences – fostered misconceptions about the health of the Humanities and this too affected funding and resources.
Director of the Gold Coast-based Griffith Centre for Cultural Research, Professor Andy Bennett, said the Humanities and Social Sciences needed to better present themselves in today’s virtual landscape.
“The Humanities and Social Sciences are vital because they offer critical knowledge about the world in which we live and explain what it is to be human,” he said.
“However, we need to resonate with the zeitgeist and be increasingly active to ensure our value is acknowledged and supported.”
The Combined Research Day will be held at the Shore Restaurant, South Bank, from 9.30am-5.30pm.