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Academics, Student Life

Humanities Department cultures students and reaps the results

The number of degrees awarded for the Humanities and Cultural Studies Department at USF Tampa is up by seven from the 2009-2010 school year.

In the 2010-2011 school year, according to USF’s Infocenter and Infomart, the trend is up from last year’s 24 humanities degrees awarded to this year’s total of 31 degrees. In the 2009-2010 academic year, 19 bachelor’s degrees and five master’s degrees were awarded from the Humanities Department, and in the 2010-2011 academic year, 23 bachelor’s degree and eight master’s degrees were presented according to the Infocenter.

Aristoula Mandelos, the undergraduate director and instructor at the Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies at USF Tampa, said that the humanities degree appeals to students.

“Contemporary issues attract students entering college,” Mandelos said, the Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies undergraduate director and instructor. “And our students will understand the theories and drive of media and modern technology with our department’s tightened curriculum.”

Granting an additional seven degrees is a big deal for a small department. Humanities’ 31 degrees given in the 2010-11 school year pale in comparison with the biggest of USF’s colleges and departments—such as the Department of Psychology within the College of Arts and Sciences that awarded a total of 638 degrees—but remains larger than other areas of study like the 19-degree-conferring Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

Daniel Belgrad, chairman of the Humanities and Cultural Studies Department and associate professor, reflected on the social obstacles of obtaining a degree in humanities that he linked with why the department isn’t as big as others.

“I was asked 20 years ago, ‘what are you going to do with that [major]?’” said Belgrad. “But people don’t understand that the humanities teaches you how to live and not how to make a living.”

Belgrad also said the department is not a technical school that teaches students a trade to get a job, but instead prides itself on creating well-rounded students that can adapt to contemporary change.

Although the Humanities and Cultural Studies department did not award the fewest number of degrees in the 2010-2011 school year, the department is still small and was comparable to the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies before its upward trend. Regardless of the small number of students graduating with a degree in the humanities, the overall number of degrees received from the department is increasing.

Zoe Stiling, an English major writing her undergraduate honors college thesis on the public opinion about, and prejudice toward, students with a humanities major, believes that the humanities degrees offered are valuable.

“I think humanities is massively important to our world with the focus on critical thinking, cultural studies, and communication,” said Stiling.

Mandelos added that a humanities degree offers a comprehensive education.

“Humanities is a perfect [bachelor's degree] because you get to study a little bit of everything that sets up a great foundation for a graduate degree or for future employment,” said Mandelos. “Our professors provide you the full picture by presenting everything out there. I think more and more students are realizing the value in learning about culture and contemporary issues in the fact that it relates to them.”


One Response to “Humanities Department cultures students and reaps the results”

  1. I agree 100%! Of course, I may be a bit biased, seeing as how I got my MLA in Humanities at USF in 1988, then went on to teach for 22 years at the University & State College level. Humanities teaches you nothing, I like to say, but the significance of life.

    Posted by oopsjohn | November 9, 2011, 10:01 pm
    Reply to this comment

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