Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the Humanities

  • 2016-03-09
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education

The engineering field is booming these days. Society regards it as an essential part of innovation, and colleges promote a degree in it as an entry into a fruitful, sustaining career. The humanities, by contrast, are in peril, with fewer students each year.

We want to bridge this divide and help create a system where the two areas are not separate but are essential to each other. One of us began his studies in art and is now dean of an engineering school, and the other is an expert in Russian literature who originally planned to study physics.

We know that engineering and the humanities differ not just in subject matter but in the very kinds of thinking they encourage. So the question is not just what information from each domain might be useful to the other, but also what each could learn by imagining the world in a whole new way.