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Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges: Funding the Disciplines of Memory and Imagination.

by Sherie Sanders on August 24, 2016
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candles-and-library_fJ4kY7du.jpgAccording to the American Academy of  Arts and Science “The humanities…are disciplines of memory and imagination, telling us where we have been and helping us envision where we are going. This definition of the humanities goes straight to the heart of their value. Although they have long been staples in a classical education, the skills they impart make them more relevant than ever. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the country, is currently offering a grant to strengthen the role of the humanities at community colleges.


The Value of Studying Humanities

History, philosophy, literature, ethics, art theory, comparative religion, selected social science courses and more constitute the group of academic subjects known as the humanities. Studying these disciplines encourages students to think critically and help them approach problems from many angles. It enables them to think outside the box, which is especially crucial in a society such as ours that faces constant change. Sometimes there is no blue print outlining how we have always done things because we perennially face new situations. Humanities training enables students to be comfortable with incertitude until they can pioneer unique and creative solutions. Finally, it encourages cultural competencies in the multicultural, & multigenerational world we live in. That is why one third of Fortune 500 CEOs have liberal arts degrees. Many employers, including high tech companies, like to balance their workforce with a variety of majors. As Steve Jobs once said “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields the results that make our hearts sing.”


Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges

This program funds projects that either strengthen humanities programs or incorporate the humanistic approach in other subject areas. Objectives may include:

  • Developing programs for at-risk and nontraditional students.
  • Integrating the humanities with developmental courses, especially reading, analytical writing, and speech.
  • Integrating professional training in such fields as business, law, engineering, hospitality, medicine with humanistic learning.
  • Supporting either new or existing humanities programs.
  • Creating or improving curricular pathways toward graduation or transfer to four year institutions.
  • Providing opportunities for faculty members to collaborate to improve their capacity to teach the humanities.
  • Collaborative projects between applicant institution and other relevant institutions.


Past Winners

  • York County Community College of Maine will be establishing a new American Studies concentration that emphasizes New England History with their $69,000 award.
  • Sitting Bull College, ND received a $99,998 grant to record and preserve the Lakota/Dakota language and oral traditions.
  • Medical students at Columbus State Community College in Ohio wanted a history course specific to their majors. Thanks to the $95,783 NEH grant, they now have a two course series in the foundation of Western medicine, disease and public health.
  • Wake Technical Community College, NC made itself into a more Veteran friendly campus. America's Wars: Individual Experience and Collective Memory will incorporate Veteran's perspectives in liberal arts courses, create a digital archive of their oral histories, and explore the nature of war and its effects on society. Their award was $96,673.


Applying for the Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges

Eligible applicants include nonprofit community colleges and post secondary two year institutions. Matching is not required. The resource page includes a links to download the application, further requirements, sample application narratives, and a complete list of last years winners. Apply by January 12, 2017 for applications beginning October 2017.

The calling of the humanities is to make us truly human in the best sense of the word - J. Irwin Miller


eCivis' Work with Community Colleges

If you work for a community college that's looking for a better way to find and/or manage grant funding, check out our page about community college clients that work with us:


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Topics: Funding News

5 min read time