Federation releases report on the role of HSS disciplines

November 30, 2021

Dear members of the social science and humanities community,

Today the Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences is proud to release its new report, Think Big: How the social sciences and humanities are building a better Canada.

As we continue to emerge from the global pandemic, Think Big has a single, overriding message for Canada and its elected leaders: we must recognize and support the vital contributions of the humanities and social sciences. The knowledge and skills gained through these disciplines will help drive Canada’s COVID-19 recovery and contribute to a better future for people across the country and around the world. 

Above all, Think Big is a resource — one that will strengthen the Federation’s advocacy in Ottawa, and, more importantly, support our members in communicating the value of what they do to policy makers, students, community partners, and many others. The report highlights some of the most important ways that Canada benefits from disciplines stretching from philosophy, sociology, economics and modern languages to history, literature, political science and the visual arts. 

From climate change and human migration to income inequality and the rise of populism, huge global shifts require us to have the right skills, perspectives, and understanding to navigate an uncertain future. At the top of the list are critical thinking and analytical skills; historical and cultural awareness; and the insights, discoveries, and competencies acquired and shared through the humanities and social sciences.

These disciplines address big issues, whether racial injustice, reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, or the rapid advance of Artificial Intelligence. In times of crisis, they inform and guide our response. They discover, preserve, and mobilize knowledge about Canada and the world — including knowledge about our histories, languages, and cultural heritages. They promote engaged citizenship and public leadership, and they strengthen our democracy by analyzing issues, informing policy decisions, and exposing misinformation. 

And Think Big has reassuring news for students and their families: studying the humanities and social sciences leads to secure jobs and rewarding careers. Today’s employers are looking for grads who have the “human skills” to help their organizations grow and thrive: sophisticated communications skills; an ability to work with, understand, and adapt to other people; and analytical and problem-solving abilities. These are the skills that are the hallmark of an education in the humanities and social sciences. 

Think Big is a testament to your work, and to the power and impact of your disciplines. We invite you to read the report; share it with your colleagues, students, and friends in the community; engage with us on social media using the hashtag #RoleOfHSS; and share your feedback and contributions with communications@federationhss.ca.


Gabriel Miller
President and CEO
Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences