On September seventh the American Academy of Arts and Sciences held their Midwestern hearing for the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. Dean Aldemaro Romero Jr., of the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences, was invited to testify in front of the commission about the importance of humanities and social sciences in local communities.
The American Academy Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences is the result of a bipartisan effort to determine what steps we need to take as a nation to ensure intellectual and economic well being for the future. The first comprehensive national assessment on the state of humanities since the 1980 Rockefeller Commission report, this commission will collect the testimony and recommendations from a variety of experts living throughout the US. The recommendations will then be shown to congress for consideration in developing future policies in areas of arts and humanities.
This hearing was the only one held in the Midwest and was held in St. Louis to take advantage of the cities cultural relevance and centralized geographic locations. Out of the representatives asked to speak Romero was the only one from the Illinois side of the river. He believes he was chosen for the honor because of the reputation CAS has for scholarly outreach in the region.
“They know that the College of Arts and Sciences at SIUE is very active in all kinds of humanities, social science, and artistic activities,” Romero shared.
Romero’s testimony focused on social an political problems faced in teaching humanities and social sciences in society today. These included: media perception, funding for education, and a lack of emphasis on critical thinking skills.
“It seems that we tend to idolize celebrities that for the most part have contributed little to society while the unsung heroes who provide solutions to problems are ignored by the media,” Romero shared. “We see in terms of information that is already politically slanted, that is a problem as it is hardly going to help us come up with the right solution.”
Since becoming dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Romero has attempted to address these problems by providing more media outlets for university faculty to take their work to the public. These include avenues such as Segue and This Week In CAS, along with other community and international outreach efforts by the college.
“I think that for many years academic institutions have remained isolated from the mainstream,” explained Romero, “We should be as open and transparent as possible to increase the sense of accountability.”
The full text of Romero’s testimony is available here: ( https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2aLOSnlOA4db3FSZzFXLVhaR3c )
Filed Under: Opinions On The Academy