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Clark Awarded $600,000 for Humanities Initiatives

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

 

Clark University has been awarded $600,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support Humanities Present, a new initiative of the Higgins School of Humanities that promises to have a critical impact on the Clark curriculum, and contribute to Clark’s Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP) initiative.
 
“This generous Mellon Foundation grant allows us to fully explore the role and potential of the humanities at Clark and through LEEP, our pioneering approach to undergraduate education,” Clark University President David Angel said.
 
Humanities Present is an institutional and curricular initiative at Clark University that advances the pivotal role of the humanities in liberal education and builds on Clark’s commitment to a strong humanities presence within the curriculum, and in the campus culture as a whole.

It consists of three initiatives: The New commons, a program to deepen community engagement and curricular innovation around timely topics; the Humanities Research Collaboratives, a program dedicated to designing new, collaborative and intra-or cross-disciplinary courses; and Mindful Choices, a guided, intensive arts-immersion experience that integrates students’ experiences in the visual arts, music or creative writing with conscious exploration of their interests and passions.
 
Together, these programs will enhance humanities practices across the curriculum and strengthen the foundation for Clark’s exceptional liberal arts education and the innovative work of the LEEP.

“The grant is a powerful affirmation of the significant role of the humanities and the arts in the educational experience at Clark, and we are grateful for the remarkable opportunity it offers us to expand and deepen that role through public programs and faculty fellowships, innovative pedagogy, and research collaborations,” said Sarah Buie, Director of the Higgins School of Humanities.
 
Development of the Humanities Present initiative was supported by a Mellon planning grant of $100,000, awarded in late fall of 2010. Since that time, more than 70 percent of the humanities faculty (along with many non-humanities faculty) participated in aspects of the process – through 15 lunch gatherings, retreats, an advisory group, symposium planning, and faculty fellowships alongside recent symposia, Buie notes.
 
“I think this rich process has sparked a new faculty culture, both within the humanities at Clark and beyond,” Buie remarked, adding that [Associate Professor of English] Betsy Huang served as associate director of the Mellon initiative and was an “extraordinary collaborator and partner” on the project.
 
Buie also cited the work of the Mellon advisory group, which included: Professor Kristina Wilson (Visual & Performing Arts); Assistant Professor Toby Sisson (V&PA); Associate Professor Amy Richter (History); Professor Patricia Ewick (Sociology); Professor Robert Tobin (Foreign languages & Literatures); Professor James Elliott (English); and Associate Professor Timothy Downs (International Development, Community and Environment). Professor Walter Wright (Philosophy) contributed in an ex officio status.
 
The Humanities Present initiative is expected to sustain and further its pivotal role for the humanities, both in relationship to the LEEP initiative and in the core mission of Clark University in the years to come.

 

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