On August 16, 2016, I attended "CU Scoop: Featuring Patty Limerick and the Center of the American West," at which Prof. Limerick, the center's director and a C.U. professor of history who was named Colorado State Historian in January 2016 by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, explained how she had come to be picked by Governor Hickenlooper to become the state's first State Historian and what her new duties entailed since becoming Colorado State Historian.
Prof. Limerick is also a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes referred to as the "genius award," and during her talk she discussed the "highly regarded Center of the American West and its student-based initiatives." Prof. Limerick and the Center are noted for applying historical perspective to contemporary issues.
The program and Prof. Limerick's presentation were given in the auditorium of Old Main on the C.U. Campus, and it concluded with a special reception at Old Main in the C.U. Heritage Center, which features C.U. Boulder history exhibits.
In her talk, Prof. Limerick mentioned STEM, the acronym that refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, which according to Wikipedia is "the term typically used when addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development," and which also has implications for workforce development, national security concerns, and immigration policy.
Prof. Limerick said that she lamented the absence of the discipline of humanities studies when education policy and curriculum choices are discussed in terms of STEM disciplines and that when she has given her talk before, someone suggested that STEM be expanded to STEAM, with the addition of "Arts" courses to the usual disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
I suggested during the question-and-answer period following Prof. Limerick's presentation that instead of adding "Arts" to STEM to include humanities courses and expanding the acronym to STEAM, we should add the discipline of "humanities" courses to the core disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and we should use the tradition of Yiddish and Jewish jokes of saying a word, adding "SH" to that word for comic effect, and then concluding with the joke.
An example of such a joke is "Darwin-Shmarwin," which can be found on the Internet:
"Jennifer Finkel, a gansa 'Ivy' freshman, brought home equally pompous pals. She couldn’t wait to show off her new knowledge with her bubbe. Arguing with great intensity, the co-eds discussed Darwin and the revisionists’ attack on the theory of evolution.
"Finally, bubbe spoke up.
"'Oy vey. For dis mine son pays a fortune?! Feh! Narishkeit!'
"'No, gram,' protested Jen and her pals. 'It’s very complicated!'
"'Complicated-shmomplicated! Please. Even 60 years ago in Russia, we knew the answer, 1-2-3. If the baby looks like his father, that’s heredity. If he looks like the milkman, now that’s environment!'"
Now, whenever we hear someone mentioning STEM courses of discipline, we in the field of humanities can say:
STEM, SHTEM! Humanities should be included in the courses of discipline of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics!