Monday, September 26, 2022

During the past several years, nearly a hundred faculty, staff, and graduate students have been part of the transformational work of the Mellon Foundation-funded Humanities for the Public Good (HPG). Together, we developed an appreciation for the value of incremental changes. Through a series of HPG course mini-grants, we invited faculty to find discipline-appropriate ways to integrate HPG values and practices, asking each awardee: How can we prepare students to use humanistic methods and mindsets and a commitment to social justice to position themselves for success in diverse careers?”

Many faculty members who took advantage of the mini-grants were rethinking introduction to graduate studies courses in their departments. Professors Roxanna Curto, Anny-Dominque Curtius, and Ana Rodríguez-Rodríguez revamped introductory courses of the Departments of French and Italian and Spanish and Portuguese, the latter being a department that has been especially innovative in creating varied tracks through their Ph.D. program. Professor Paula Amad reworked the Cinematic Arts intro course and now regularly invites alumni, both in and out of academe, to share their career trajectories with each new class of film scholars and filmmakers. We stretched to include the qualitative social sciences, supporting Professors Julia Kleinschmidt and Yolanda Spears as they revised a course in the School of Social Work in which they were experimenting with meaningful ways to teach graduate students about the tough topics of discrimination, oppression, and diversity, while Professor Lina Murillo, who had already demonstrated incredible creativity in designing thoughtful online courses during COVID, revamped Foundations for Feminist Inquiry, a core course in the Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality graduate certificate. Even without a mini-grant, Professor Jennifer Buckley generously shared her imaginative restructuring of the introductory course in English, where she, too, now introduces the value of the humanities in varied sectors, drawing on the expertise of alumni.

Want to know more? Learn about some of these incremental outcomes from the faculty themselves in this video conversation about the impact of the HPG mini-grants program.