Before Congress adjourned for its August recess, both the House and Senate passed a budget deal that raises caps on discretionary spending for FY 2020 and FY 2021, paving the way for increased appropriations for humanities funding. The House has already passed ten of its twelve appropriations bills which included increased funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Department of Education’s international education programs, along with other humanities programs. Our funding chart tracks these proposed numbers.
Through our Humanities for All initiative, we have been working to support publicly engaged scholarship, cognizant of all the ways their work enriches academic and community life. While publicly engaged scholarship has proliferated, there remains concern among scholars about how this work is credited to them in the context of the three traditional expectations for faculty promotion and tenure in the humanities: research, teaching, and service. With this in mind, we want to support scholars in publishing on their work and have been working to showcase how publicly engaged work and scholarship can go hand in hand. To that end, we are delighted to partner with Routledge, Taylor & Francis to release Publishing and the Publicly Engaged Humanities: a free-access collection of recent articles featuring publicly engaged humanities work.
As the data documenting the widespread decline in humanities majors and enrollments sinks in, we are reaching out to the higher ed community to learn more about challenges to recruiting students to the humanities and strategies for overcoming them. Working to attract more students to the humanities on your campus? Have ideas about how to navigate the challenges involved? Please take our survey and share your perspective!
On July 23, we partnered with Hagley Museum and Library to present an exhibition-style briefing on Capitol Hill. Congressional staff members, humanities advocates, and other local friends had the opportunity to view items from Hagley’s remarkable collections and gain new insights into the impact of NEH funding in preserving our nation’s heritage.
This summer we’ve been reaching out to scholarly societies to learn about how they are communicating all their disciplines have to offer to prospective students. This is part of our Study the Humanities initiative, through which we are collecting and sharing strategies to help faculty, administrators, and scholarly societies make the case for studying the humanities as an undergrad. We’ve noticed that several scholarly societies have had great success with academic competitions that introduce students to their disciplines long before they arrive on campus.
From its support for academic research to its funding for public programs, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fosters a strong humanities ecosystem in communities throughout the United States. This was driven home to me most recently during a trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts. There, I saw first-hand how NEH-funded research allows us to reconsider how we understand key moments in our nation’s past and ensures that the public also comes to see these new interpretations.
Earlier this week, the House passed a funding bill that included a $12.5 million increase for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which would bring its budget to $167.5 million! If enacted, this would mark a very significant increase after four years of $2 and $3 million increases.
On May 21 we partnered with Virginia Humanities and the hosts of the history podcast BackStory to produce a briefing on Capitol Hill. The event, which was held in the Russell Senate Office Building, offered congressional staff and others the opportunity to see for themselves the power of humanities research. Beyond the books and articles produced by humanities scholars, humanities research offers critical insights into our past and present that help grapple with major challenges and prepare for the future.
As higher education institutions continue to make cuts to humanities departments (Millsaps College, Tulsa University, Wheeling Jesuit University), we are working to collect and share successful strategies for making the case for studying the humanities as an undergraduate, helping humanists to secure their rightful place on campus.