About The Humanities Initiative

For Students

"Humanities"is a term that encompasses various fields of study that focus on fundamental questions about the human condition. At Western Carolina University, humanities majors and minors are housed in the departments of English, History, Philosophy and Religion, and World Languages.

There are many compelling reasons to study the humanities. Most importantly, the humanities help us to:

  • Develop our critical thinking skills in order to analyze complex situations and make sense of imperfect information
  • Express ourselves accurately, succinctly, beautifully, and compellingly, in our writing and in our speech
  • Understand our pasts and chart our futures
  • Understand and discuss other worldviews, cultures, and languages
  • Develop empathy and intellectual curiosity
  • Expand our perspectives far beyond the confines of our own circumstances

The study of the humanities opens myriad opportunities to enrich our lives, our relationships, and our careers. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, four of the five most desirable traits for business executives are precisely the kind of skills that form the core focus of the humanities: cultural competence, 360-Degree thinking (holistic understanding, pattern recognition, and problem-solving ability), intellectual curiosity, and empathy.

It is therefore not surprising that a 2012 survey showed that almost 60% of US CEO's and Heads of Product Engineering had degrees in the humanities.

So, whether you pursue the humanities as your primary major, secondary major, or minor, you can be sure that your studies will be rewarding on both a personal and professional level, as you become a more informed, thoughtful, well-balanced, analytical, and interesting person.

Public Intellectuals

The role that scholars play in bringing to the public square our deepest reflections (through a variety of media and disciplines) about the human condition is central to the Humanities project. In innumerable ways, we explore the human experience and help broaden our understanding of conflict and injustice, history and change, and cultures both local and global. We function as guides, to help our communities move towards peace, resolution, and more reasonable discussions about our differences.

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