Stanford has just instituted a new policy: a $5,000 research grant every year for every professor in the humanities, whether tenured or non-tenured.

In announcing the grants, President John Hennessy cited the difficulty of humanities professors getting support at a time that “the challenges of the world will make humanities as important, if not more important, than they’ve ever been.”

(That, by the way, is a very different message than the one emanating from Mass Hall the past few years.)

Stanford seems to be doing an excellent job of supporting the sciences while reaffirming the importance of the humanities, and this move is another shot across Harvard’s bow…..

In Cambridge, such grants are currently unlikely because of the deficit spending initiated under Larry Summers and Bill Kirby. FAS, whose deficits are approaching $100 million a year, with no capital campaign imminent, probably can’t afford to spend, what, $30-35 million a year on such a plan?

Correction: As several of you have pointed out, my math is shaky; a more accurate figure would be perhaps $3 million.