Dear Chancellor Gilliam and Provost Storrs,
The American Anthropological Association has been following with great interest the budgetary issues concerning the University of North Carolina Greensboro. We certainly understand the difficult decisions that must be made in addressing financial stability with the goal of keeping the best interests of the students in mind. We are especially troubled, however, to learn that you looking to dissolve the Anthropology Department.
Anthropology reflects on the breadth and complexity of the problems we face in the 21st-century and plays a key role in developing culturally sensitive strategies in a world that is increasingly animated by cross-cultural contacts. Whether students go on to graduate studies in anthropology or to other professions, they carry with them a sensibility gained from their exposure to our field that enable them to be involved in improving healthcare and educational systems, working towards environmental sustainability, protecting cultural heritage, reducing global inequalities, and increasing awareness of the many forms of household and families that raise our children and take care of our elderly.
The University of North Carolina Greensboro would do well to maintain, if not strengthen, the anthropology offerings available to your incoming students and, in turn, what your graduates will offer future employers. The new normal is that companies are now looking for candidates with essential critical thinking skills that include analytical ability, cultural understanding, effective communication, and an overall engagement with the world.
The numerous marketable skills acquired by anthropology grads are sought after by a variety of employers. In the tech world alone, Google, Facebook, Intel, and Microsoft, hire anthropologists to study market trends, human behavior, and technology. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5.2 percent employment growth for anthropologists between 2019 and 2029.
The Anthropology Department is an essential organizational unit on campus and in the community, having produced a significant number of graduates who are outstanding contributors to serving humanity. We regard the University’s Anthropology program as an outstanding training resource and feel that its contributions are widely felt. Thank you for considering our recommendation regarding this important program. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can answer any further questions you may have.
Whitney Battle Baptiste Ady Arguelles-Sabatier
President, AAA Executive Director, AAA