When I began thinking about how I could operate as a “new professional” and help revive education in my field, I found the Edelstein article extremely helpful. I completely agree with Edelstein that humanities curriculum usually demands and prioritizes originality from day one whereas STEM education usually demands reciprocation of information for most of the curriculum and then originality suddenly at the end. Demanding originality from the beginning encourages students to be developing their skills of innovation over a longer period of time and will produce students who are much more naturally innovative and productive when they graduate.
During my graduate studies, I have come to value humanities education much more highly even as an engineering students (even especially since I am an engineering student). The innovative and free-thinking mindset adopted by humanities classes is refreshing and helps develop and entirely new skillset that is equally as crucial to being a successful engineer. As Edelstein noted, innovation and creativity are still crucial in STEM fields and jobs, but we do not train STEM students to develop innovation and creativity. We train STEM students to learn and retain information and then expect them to magically have the ability to be innovative and creative as well when they graduate. That system just doesn’t make much sense.
Moving forward, I hope we can recognize and acknowledge the value of humanities studies for all students. We have seen how more diverse curricula benefit all types of students (as Edelstein gave examples for students in entrepreneurship, engineering, and medicine). Why not more fully adopt this beneficial approach more broadly as we aim to become “new professionals” instead of just continuing with the current trends?