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.
One of the great benefits of leading the Humanities for All initiative is having the opportunity to meet with NHA members to introduce them to the website and to learn more about their publicly engaged work. Over three days in the Research Triangle in North Carolina, I had the opportunity to learn from NHA members at the National Humanities Center, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Dialogues on the Experience of War program brings together veterans and civilians to reflect upon powerful literature and art. Over the past year, we have partnered with several recent grantees to document the impact of these programs in order to demonstrate the value of the humanities and the NEH for veterans and their communities. While data collection continues, preliminary results from our pre- and post-program surveys illustrate how these programs equip veterans with humanities resources to process their experiences, share their stories, connect with fellow veterans, and reintegrate into their communities.