Wesleyan Awarded $300,000 Grant for Humanities Initiatives
Jan. 23, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Illinois Wesleyan
University a $300,000 grant to re-center the humanities, to reclaim its position at
the core of the University’s liberal arts curriculum. The Re-Centering the Humanities grant will allow Illinois Wesleyan to strengthen existing relationships and establish
new connections between the humanities and other disciplines and between the humanities
and the community.
“History, philosophy, religion, languages and literature serve as a gateway to the
study of other disciplines,” said Provost and Dean of the Faculty Jonathan Green.
“The humanities help us understand complex issues, draw connections between disparate
media and messages, and allow us to locate our thinking in the history of ideas.”
The funds will be used to establish four major initiatives: Crossing Curricular Boundaries,
Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries, Crossing Campus/Community Boundaries, and Crossing
Within the Crossing Curricular Boundaries initiative, team-taught, interdisciplinary
seminars will tackle problems facing our local community that involve the sciences,
ethics, politics, sociology and environmental studies. Another goal is to create a
speaker-and-performer series linked to curricular themes rising out of these seminars.
Crossing Campus/Community Boundaries connects to Crossing Curricular Boundaries by
emphasizing the humanities in practice and thus countering the national trend in which
the humanities are disengaged from service learning programs. Re-Centering the Humanities will help Illinois Wesleyan recruit visiting scholars and scholars in residence to
expand the arts and humanities’ service learning potential.
Students will be able to engage in full-time research as Mellon Humanities Scholars.
The Mellon Humanities Scholars initiative, which will be similar in structure to the
University’s Eckley Scholars and Artists program, will provide qualified students
the opportunity to work full-time during the summer on academic projects under the
guidance of faculty members. Other research opportunities for students will include
interdisciplinary May Term travel courses; the development of a Humanities Fellowship
program for faculty interested in furthering inter-curricular fluencies and in creating
innovative new courses; the initiation and expansion of undergraduate humanities conferences;
the formation of teams of student consultants drawn from multiple disciplines; and
the establishment of research partnerships, in which students work as research assistants
Dan Terkla, professor of English, will serve as the director of Re-Centering the Humanities. He will work with faculty from across the university to implement the program. Mary
Ann Bushman, associate professor of English and Writing Program Director; Sonja Fritzsche,
associate professor of German; Emily Kelahan, assistant professor of philosophy; Sherilyn
McElroy, professor of art; Rebecca Roesner, chair and associate professor of chemistry;
and James Simeone, chair and associate professor of political science, will serve
as members of the committee that will administer the grant, Green said.
Contact: Kim Hill, (309) 556-3960