Establishment of new US Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences welcomed

1 March 2011

The Presidents of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) and the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) jointly welcome the recent decision by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to establish a national Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Professor Barry McGaw, President of ASSA said that “the new Commission will boost education and research in the social sciences. These fields are critical to culture, education and to a nation’s economic prosperity.”

The new national Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences has been established in response to a bipartisan request by Congress for practical action to maintain national excellence in humanities and social scientific scholarship and education, to ensure the preservation of intellectual and economic wellbeing, for a stronger, more vibrant civil society, and for the success of cultural diplomacy in the 21st century. The Commission comprises membership from the humanities, the social sciences, the physical and life sciences, business, law, philanthropy, the arts and the media.

Professor Linda Rosenman, President of CHASS said that “although there has been support for the disciplines of maths and sciences in Australia as a key to our long term economic prosperity, we have not yet embraced the long term importance of the arts and social sciences. Yet, we know that knowledge of history, understanding of cross-cultural communication and an ability to utilise evidence and to think creatively are all qualities critical to a country’s well being and economic prosperity.”

With changes that have occurred over the past decade to student funding arrangements and research funding, including the various reviews underway into relative funding models, it is worthwhile giving consideration to such an innovative model for Australia to ensure support for teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences is maintained.

Contact for Information:

Professor Linda Rosenman
Tel: +61 3 9919 4020

Professor Barry McGaw, AO FASSA
Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
Tel: +61 2 6249 1788