This document titled “Humanics in the Year 2000” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Dr. Barbara E. Jensen on April 13, 2000. Jensen starts out by welcoming everyone to and thanking her two Humanics mentors, Dr. Beth Evans and Dr. Peter Polito. She explains that each year the Distinguished Humanics Professor is encouraged to have a focus, and hers was to encourage members of the ...
This document titled “Humanics in the Year 2000” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Dr. Barbara E. Jensen on April 13, 2000. Jensen starts out by welcoming everyone to and thanking her two Humanics mentors, Dr. Beth Evans and Dr. Peter Polito. She explains that each year the Distinguished Humanics Professor is encouraged to have a focus, and hers was to encourage members of the College community to conduct research studies in Humanics. Jensen explains that this type of research was designed to further complete our description of what is meant by the term Humanics. Rather than present a definition, Jensen goes on to list some words that she believes are important to the Humanics Philosophy. They are: service to others; interdisciplinary education; helping people to work toward their potential; being inquisitive; desire for new ideas; making ethical decisions; multicultural outreach; and treating people humanely. Jensen goes on to give a brief preview of each of the research investigations included in the booklet entitled “Humanics in the Year 2000: A Research Perspective.” For example, Dr. Eileen Cyr, Dr. Ann Moriarty, and Dr. Marjorie Marcotte conducted a study how we help our new faculty to become aware of the meaning of the Humanics Philosophy. Dr. Beth Evans studied the experiences of students working with children with special needs. Dr. Susan Joel and Kevin Pollak, along with the students in the Women and Society class in the Fall semester of 1999, conducted a focus group study on the purpose and function of the new Diane L. Potter Women’s Center. Dr. Mary Brydon-Miller, from the School of Human Services in New Hampshire, conducted a study with her students in a gerontology class on participants in the community who were in the Meals on Wheels program. Dr. Mimi Murray and Lenny Wiersma have been gathering data on student-athletes concerning their perceptions of the purposes of sport. Jensen’s last research example is his Research 302 class and their efforts to conduct a multivariate study on positive and negative health-related behaviors. He states that health behaviors, positive and negative stress, and the balancing act we all face daily in a stressful, academic setting are a very important aspect of our balancing of the spirit, mind, and body influences of everyday life. Jensen concludes that Humanics at Springfield College is alive and well in the Year 2000. Jensen states that what interested her the most during this year of research on the Humanics Philosopy was the diversity of topics and research methods used. She had emphasized all year long that diversity is good, varying interpretations is meaningful, and that Humanics is interpreted in a variety of ways. Jensen believes that the Humanics Philosophy influences most of what we do at the College: how we accept people into the Springfield College community; how we implement our educational philosophy; how we work with students; and how faculty, students, staff associates, and administrators interrelate with each other. Jensen finishes by saying that Springfield College is more than just a family, it is a community that continues to keep on giving and practicing the Humanics Philosophy every day. Humanics is a word that has a special meaning in the history and philosophy of Springfield College, as well as in the college’s motto of “Spirit, Mind, and Body.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines Humanics as, “the subject or study of human affairs or relations, especially of the human element of a problem or situation as opposed to the mechanical.” In 1962, Dr. Glenn Olds, President of Springfield College at the time, began to wonder why this name was given to the intended philosophy of the college by Dr. Laurence Locke Doggett, Springfield College’s first full-time president. Olds acknowledged that the practices of the faculty were in large part consistent with the Humanics philosophy, but he believed that a more self-conscious application would improve chances of its continuity and survival. To ensure this, a Distinguished Professor of Humanics position was created at the college, first filled by Dr. Seth Arsenian from 1966-1969. The purpose of this position was to catalyze a renewal of consciousness in the philosophy. This was done by annually mandating the Distinguished Professor of Humanics to give a Humanics lecture on the definition of Humanics and what the concept means to them. Arsenian started this tradition in 1967 with his speech titled, “The Meaning of Humanics,” in which he described the concept as a set of ideas, values, and goals that make our college distinct from other colleges and make commitment and unity toward commonly sought goals possible.