UNH and CCSNH Receive Mellon Foundation Grant to Support the Humanities

February 10, 2017

humanities class in session

Thanks to a $824,000 grant over three years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of New Hampshire and the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) will establish the New Hampshire Humanities Collaborative to promote study of the humanities, support the transfer of community college students in the humanities to the university and develop a humanities curriculum focused on grand challenges.

“This collaborative will illuminate the value of the humanities for civic well-being and career advancement by communicating to students the role of the humanities in providing a well-rounded education experience,” said UNH President Mark Huddleston. “It will also allow us to expand our partnership with the state’s community colleges.”

Currently about 700 students transfer from community colleges in New Hampshire to University System of New Hampshire institutions each year. Of those, only three percent enroll in humanities majors compared to the more than 20 percent who enroll in STEM majors.

“We’ve successfully partnered to provide pathways for community college students to matriculate into four-year programs but those efforts to date have been primarily focused on the STEM fields,” said Ross Gittell, chancellor of CCSNH. “The support from the Mellon Foundation will help us to not only illustrate the purpose and value of the humanities, but enhance our curricula and provide pathways for more students to pursue associate and bachelor degrees in the humanities.”

According to Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UNH, the value of a humanities education may not be evident to students, whether they are enrolled at community colleges or four-year universities. “The humanities are vital to our democracy and for addressing the grand challenges of our age, such as health care, urbanization, food sovereignty and the role of technology in human relations and discourse. Although these challenges are sometimes seen as the purview of STEM fields alone, the humanities are crucial for articulating relevant responses and enabling respectful civic discourse.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.


UNH Hosts Prominent Higher Ed Leader Freeman Hrabowski on Oct. 30

October 23, 2014

Freeman Hrabowski photo

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), will speak at UNH on Thursday, October 30, at noon in the Huddleston Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public. His talk, “The Humanities, the Public University, and Public Good,” is the keynote address of a series of lectures this fall that examines the state of the humanities in society and on college campuses.

Hrabowski’s research and publications focus on science and math education, with a special emphasis on minority participation and performance. Though a vocal proponent of education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), he has spoken nationally—and compellingly—about the importance of the humanities.

“As a STEM person, as someone deeply involved in issues of minority students’ involvement in higher education, as someone who as a child was a leader in the civil rights movement, and as someone who is not a ‘humanities insider,’ Dr. Hrabowski seems uniquely qualified to help us think about the value and importance of what we do,” says Burt Feintuch, professor of English and director of the Center for Humanities, which is organizing this event. “Having someone from outside of our fields talk about their value is especially meaningful. I think his talk will be provocative in the best possible sense of that word.”

Hrabowski was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He also chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME (2012) and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report (2008), Hrabowski also received TIAA-CREF’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence (2011), the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award (2011), and the Heinz Award (2012) for contributions to improving the human condition. UMBC has been recognized as a model for academic innovation and inclusive excellence by such publications as U.S. News, which for the past six years has ranked UMBC as the #1 “Up and Coming” university in the nation.

For more information, contact the UNH Center for the Humanities.


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