The liberal arts are dead. The number of students majoring in liberal arts has fallen precipitously with data from the National Center for Education Statistics showing the number of graduates in the humanities declined by 29.6% from 2012 to 2020. This decline has worsened in the years since. Notre Dame has seen 50% fewer graduates in the humanities over the same period, while other schools have made headlines recently for cutting liberal-arts majors and minors including Marymount University and St. John’s University. The shuttering of liberal-arts programs has even led to Catholic colleges and universities ending theology programs.
That’s Danielle Zito, one of several participants in this conversation. I’ll just say once more what I always say: The liberal arts, and the humanities, do not live only or even primarily in universities. They can, and they do, flourish elsewhere, among people who ain’t got time for academic bullshit.