This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

How do we measure transformation? How can we quantify human connection? How should we assess critical thinking in a complex world? Ultimately, in what ways can we evaluate the relevance of the humanities? These are questions with which the humanities are often challenged.

National and local work in the humanities matters, perhaps now more than ever. The partnerships we strengthen, the conversations we encourage, the historical initiatives on which we collaborate all combine to improve lives.

We gauge the depth of our influence by the quality of discussions and civic dialogue Utah communities are having. We evaluate our work by seeing the increased capacity of Utah's small museums to preserve, curate and share the heritage of their respective communities. We detect the importance of what we offer when children, young adults and adults alike are talking about literature and connecting what they're reading with their own lives and current events. We weigh the significance of our programs when students are truly engaged with their own education and begin sharing their understanding of cultures, social issues and civic participation.

The humanities reveal us to ourselves. As long as we are human, we will need the humanities to gauge and guide our growth.

Deena Pyle

Salt Lake City

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