in brief

If I were a journalist and given the task that Nathan Heller had, here’s the primary (though not the only) thing I’d have done: 

First, I’d have approached professors of English and related humanities fields and said this: “Enrollments in your discipline have been declining for quite some time, and declining dramatically — a decline I assume you’d like to reverse. What do you do in your classes? That is, how do you teach the books you assign? What are your key concerns, your primary educational purposes? What do you most want for your students? And why should they want for themselves what you want for them?” 

Then, having gathered and sorted through answers, I’d have approached students and told them what the professors had said in reply to my questions, and I’d have asked: “Does that sound like something you’d want to pursue?” 

Nathan Heller didn’t do any of this, as far as I can tell.