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OPINION: USF needs to invest more in the humanities

President Rhea Law has put a lot of resources into the athletics department and honors college – it’s time for other departments to have a turn. ORACLE PHOTO/ULIANA LEARNED

President Rhea Law’s Jan. 19 inauguration speech was full of hope for USF’s future.

“We must continue investing in our people and in generating new innovations,” she said.  

One of the best ways the university can do this is to invest in additional infrastructure, course options and professors in the history, English and world languages and culture departments in order to give these students a better academic environment.  

Law has big plans to grow USF into a top 25 university, according to WUSF Public Media. Putting effort and funding into departments that are clearly lacking will help the university achieve that goal.

“My friends and I always joke about how the College of Arts and Sciences is neglected by the university, and you can tell just by looking at our building,” stated English creative writing major Grace Vlaming in a Jan. 24 interview with The Oracle.  

“Cooper Hall is deteriorating,” Vlaming stated.  

USF should focus on raising funds to restore older buildings that need revamping before building fancy new ones.

Investing in infrastructure is something USF has shown they are capable of doing, especially with its honors college and athletics department.

The $43 million Judy Genshaft Honors building is currently being built, according to an article from The Oracle. 

In addition, USF’s new $22 million indoor practice facility opened on Jan. 10, according to an article by The Oracle.

Plans to build a new football stadium are also in full swing. The final price for the new stadium could be between $250 million and $400 million, Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said in a Sept. 7 article by The Oracle.

A university’s top priority should be to grow its educational quality. Investing in better classrooms helps students and faculty know that their department is cared for by USF just as much as other departments.

Investing in more course options for the history, English and world languages and cultures departments is something USF should also do to help the university as a whole thrive.

“I feel like the history major easily gets overlooked and the classics department even more so. I know that on the St. Petersburg campus, there are even fewer history classes offered a semester. So few that I don’t understand how that campus supports history majors at all,” history major Gloria Lopez stated in a Jan. 24 interview with The Oracle.

English and world languages and culture major Peter Cuebas also believes that expanding the course options will positively help their department.  

“More elective choices in classics might help to generate interest and justify increased financial support to the concentration,” Cuebas stated in a Jan. 23 interview with The Oracle.

Not only will better infrastructure help stimulate educational growth, but so will expanding the course options. Offering a larger variety of courses will expand the departments and allow students to grow and expand in their specific interests.

Although there is plenty of room to grow in the English, history and world languages and cultures departments, some students applaud the department’s professors.

“In the classics concentration, especially, I’ve appreciated studying under such knowledgeable people,” Cuebas stated.

“I enjoy when a professor is as excited about a subject as I am, and the classics professors certainly are.”

These one-on-one relationships with professors are a valued experience across majors.

“I feel lucky to work with my professors,” Vlaming said.  “They are real artists with real experience, and that is very valuable.”

Even though there are many praises for current professors, there is still a need for more.

“We need more professors that specialize in fields like mesoamerican, ancient Egypt and Asian history. I feel our school has a very Eurocentric mindset,” Lopez stated.

Investing in USF’s athletics and honors college is beneficial to the university. However, some of its current departments are clearly lacking.

In order for the university to make it into the top 25, they need to put more care into the English, history and world languages and culture departments.