Carnegie Mellon University
April 14, 2014

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences To Host "Mapping the Future of the Humanities and Social Sciences"

The American Academy's "Heart of the Matter" Report Continues To Inspire Action

Contact: Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 /

Mapping H&SSPITTSBURGH—Last summer, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released the "Heart of the Matter," a comprehensive report on the current state of the humanities and social sciences and their role in creating a vibrant, competitive and secure nation.

Carnegie Mellon University — which has a long history of humanities and social sciences collaborating with colleagues in other fields to solve problems — and the American Academy will hold the first Pittsburgh-area discussion of the report and its implications for improving education and creating a sustainable global society. "Mapping the Future of the Humanities and Social Sciences" will take place from 4 - 5:45 p.m., Monday, April 21 in the Jared L. Cohon University Center's Rangos Hall.

This event is part of "Crossing Boundaries, Transforming Lives," the yearlong celebration of the inauguration of Subra Suresh as Carnegie Mellon's ninth president.

"Carnegie Mellon is delighted to be a partner with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in hosting this discussion of the ways in which humanities and social sciences underpin American civic life and support the advancement of knowledge," Suresh said. "CMU's traditions of interdisciplinary inquiry have helped to shape the scope of the humanities and social sciences here, and in this respect CMU can make a valuable contribution to this national discussion."

Two members of the commission that produced the "Heart of the Matter," Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, and Hunter Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities, will visit CMU to discuss the report.

"The American Academy is grateful to President Suresh, and pleased that three leaders of American intellectual life will be coming together at one of our nation's premier institutions to discuss the contributions of the humanities and social sciences to every endeavor — including the sciences, engineering and business," said Don Randel, chair of the board of the American Academy.

Augustine and Rawlings will join four CMU faculty members for a panel discussion moderated by John Lehoczky, dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The Carnegie Mellon panelists are Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy; Susan G. Polansky, head of the Department of Modern Languages; David R. Shumway, professor of English and director of the Humanities Center; and Kiron K. Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of the Center for International Relations and Politics.

Carnegie Mellon's humanities and social sciences — which include the departments of English, History, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Psychology, Social and Decision Sciences and Statistics — are relatively young at CMU, compared to other institutions. CMU humanists and social scientists use their research to solve problems and impact society. For example, philosophers are engaged in research related to medical ethics, computation and human rights; historians are developing policy recommendations for forensic DNA profiling and drug addiction; decision scientists analyze risk and behavior in problems ranging from obesity to climate change; statisticians work with experts in cybersecurity, brain science, data science, education and other fields to solve complex and challenging issues.

Following the panel discussion, twenty Dietrich College honors students will showcase their research projects at a reception in the Cohon University Center's Peter, Wright and McKenna rooms.

"Mapping the Future of the Humanities and Social Sciences" is free and open to the public. For more information, visit