The Heart of the Matter: Around the Country


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Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences

When it first met in Chicago in 2011, the primary task before the American Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences was to devise a strategy for changing the public conversation about American education. For several years prior to the appointment of the Commission, most education debates privileged the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines over other fields of inquiry, occasionally to the detriment of the humanities and social sciences. Our Commission hoped to reassert the value of the full spectrum of intellectual endeavor and rebalance the scales.

We did not want to position the disciplines against each other in a new competition for shrinking governmental support; we had already seen enough of that approach in the national political discourse, and there are obvious reasons why the sciences should receive a larger share of available research dollars. Nor were we strictly interested in boosting the statistical profile of the humanities and social sciences—for example, by increasing the number of undergraduates who major in these disciplines.

We simply wanted to remind students, parents, teachers, researchers, and the public that their personal and professional lives, as well as the intellectual life of the nation, are deepened and strengthened by their daily interactions with the humanities and social sciences.

We wanted to remind all Americans that the humanities and social sciences—in a variety of ways, at a variety of levels, and for a variety of purposes—nurture a vibrant, competitive, and secure nation.

This publication is a record of our efforts, providing a small sample of the ways in which institutions and communities across the country have been encouraged and aided by our work. It is not an exhaustive list of our activities; rather, it is a collection of testimonies written by partnering organizations detailing their achievements following the publication of the Commission’s report, The Heart of the Matter. The response to this report has been extraordinary and encouraging, and we are grateful to every organization and individual who has helped to spread its message.

Ultimately, this document is proof of a large and growing community of people from all walks of life who recognize the importance of a broad education rich in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. We hope that the legislators who called for this report—Senators Lamar Alexander and Mark Warner and Congressmen David Price and Tom Petri—are pleased by just how much activity they initiated with their request. We appreciate their continued encouragement.

Richard H. Brodhead and John W. Rowe
Cochairs, Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences

Distribution Statistics of Publications
from the Humanities Commission

The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences for a vibrant, competitive, and secure nation

10,200 copies in print
208,974 unique downloads of PDF

The Heart of the Matter: Report Brief

6,000 copies in print
19,977 unique downloads of PDF (English)
2,753 unique downloads of PDF (Spanish)
7,033 unique downloads of PDF (Korean)

Humanities Report Card 2013

10,000 copies in print
7,312 unique downloads of PDF