"The Heart of the Matter:" A Report from the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences

June 21, 2013
Image of the logo for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Humanities & Social Sciences.

On June 19, 2013, The American Academy of Arts & Sciences Commission on the Humanities & Social Sciences presented “The Heart of the Matter,” a report about the importance of humanities and social sciences in education.

The Academy created the Commission in response to a bipartisan request from members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, asking: What are the top actions that Congress, state governments, universities, foundations, educators, individual benefactors, and others should take now to maintain national excellence in humanities and social scientific scholarship and education, and to achieve long-term national goals for our intellectual and economic well-being; for a stronger, more vibrant civil society; and for the success of cultural diplomacy in the 21st century? "The Heart of the Matter" is a also a reponse to a 2007 report about the role of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in education.

In the report, the Commission identifies three overarching goals: 1) to educate Americans in the knowledge, skills, and understanding they will need to thrive in a twenty-first-century democracy; 2) to foster a society that is innovative, competitive, and strong; and 3) to equip the nation for leadership in an interconnected world. The Townsend Center for the Humanities applauds the efforts of the Commission, which included former UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau, and its message that these goals cannot be achieved by science alone.

"The Heart of the Matter" video features director George Lucas, actor John Lithgow,
cellist Yo-Yo Ma, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and members of the Commission.

For more information or to view the whole report, visit the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Humanities Commission website.