Non-STEM Nomeclature 2

March 6, 2008

As an economist, I suppose I am a non-STEMMER. But with the increasingly frequent use of the terms STEM and non-STEM in policy circles, I worry about my discipline's legitimacy. What we need is a collective name that places us in the mainstream rather than making us sound like deviants. Consequently, to indicate the legitimacy and vibrancy of non-STEM subjects, I propose that we talk about PETALS (philosophy, economics, theology, arts, languages and social science).

Of course, some may find this label excessively flamboyant. If so, what about HEADS (humanities, economics, arts, divinity and social science)? After all, stems without petals or heads are generally pretty dull things.

John Beath, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews.

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