My dangerous colleagues in anthropology

My eternal thanks go to Florida Governor Rick Scott, without whom I would never have known that the 0.8% of Florida state university system graduates who major in anthropology1 comprise the major obstacle to state advancements in STEM. I always thought it had something to do with declining state support for higher ed, low requirements for science lab courses in high school, the large numbers of students who think they can be doctors without being ready to pass calculus or organic chem, the specific degree bottlenecks of individual campuses, the growth of non-liberal-arts professional programs, the worship of college athletics, and other factors. I now see the light: it’s anthropology.

In response to the governor, my colleague Brent Weisman (the chair of USF’s Anthropology department) and others are engaging in a set of scurrilous attacks on our good governor. Weisman and others have the gall to point out that the four fields of anthropology include such subjects as linguistics and medicine, that anthropology graduates work in a broad variety of jobs, and that Florida’s anthropologists have won millions in grants from federal science agencies.

All I know is that anthropology includes the study of human evolution. Isn’t that dangerous enough for the governor to shut them down?

Update: Below is an argument in Prezi that a number of USF anthropology students created:

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader, and sign up for my irregular newsletter below!


  1. In the last 10 years reported, through 2009-2010, there were 446,733 BAs awarded by all SUS institutions, of whom 3,395 or 0.8% majored in anthropology. Source: Florida Board of Governors public degree data. []

3 responses to “My dangerous colleagues in anthropology”

  1. Michael K. Potter

    I’d be surprised if Rick Scott knew that evolution was studied in Anthropology, as that kind of information doesn’t lead directly to corporate profits.

  2. CCPhysicist

    Does he know that Anthropology is a science supported by the NSF?

  3. Glen S. McGhee

    Thanks for the BOG link.
    A few years ago, this info was beautifully presented and very accessible at Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program (FETPIP), in amazing detail (earnings were listed that tied to SSN’s, etc), but now it is completely missing. Any idea where it went? After all, isn’t the FETPIP data what policy makers need to stay informed?