With the groundbreaking of the new four floor science building the mission is now clear: Wilkes will become the one of the premiere educational institutes in the region for science education.
However, few are aware that at one time, Wilkes was once one of the premiere educational institutes in the area for music. You heard me right: music. During an interview with associate professor of music Dr. Phil Simon, I was told that at one time, every room on the third floor of the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center had one baby grand piano. Now there is really only one that I can think of on the third floor: the one in associate professor of music Dr. Steven Thomas’s office.
Even better, at one time Wilkes had more than one language major besides Spanish. They included French, German and Russian and even had an art major, not just integrative media.
According to the 2011-2012 fact book, the School of Pharmacy in total has 408 total enrolled as their primary major that includes the Pharmacy Practice program and the Pre-Pharmacy program. The Division of Performing Arts meanwhile only has 13 enrolled as their primary major. And look at philosophy; only two majors enrolled and one professor in its entirety!
Now Wilkes is one of the few schools in Pennsylvania that has a fully-accredited pharmacy school and is the size that it is, so I have to give it credit for that.
But majors such as philosophy, Spanish and theater arts are only in existence because at least one class in one of these areas is required for general education requirements. Every major has to take at least Philosophy 101 or Spanish in order to graduate.
It simply blows my mind that a school that at one time was considered one of the best music schools in the area has now seemed to almost completely ignored the arts and humanities.
I believe Wilkes should place more emphasis on the arts and humanities as there is so much that they offer to society in terms of communicating human emotions, beauty, and experiences that appeal to everyone.
The arts and humanities give society the opportunity to pause, think and reflect on our experiences and the world around us. According to an essay online through Whitman College (which, by the way is also getting a new science building), the role of the arts in the academy, as in life, is to enable us to see the world and the human condition differently, and seeing the world through a particular work of art, to see a truth we might not have understood before.
The photos of the first man on the moon are a work of art for science because they show the scientific accomplishment of putting a man on the moon. Even the video shown at the groundbreaking ceremony that showed how Wilkes will advance science into the 21st century in Northeastern Pennsylvania was a work of art. It took some real talent in video production and graphics to put that together.
The arts and humanities should not just exist at Wilkes for extracurricular activities and general education but should be in place as academic classes, even academic majors for that matter as they compliment everything around us in society.
]The arts and humanities should not be viewed as something interesting to look at or something to do in one’s down time. They need to be valued as academic majors just as the scientific majors are currently.