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Strengthening Global Humanities at Virginia's Community Colleges: An NEH Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges Project

Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges

Postmark Deadline: April 1, 2013

A two-year faculty and curriculum development project on the religions and cultures of Asia, the Middle East, and Russia for thirty-six faculty and academic administrators from five Virginia community colleges (Southwest Virginia Community College, Piedmont Virginia Community College, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Blue Ridge Community College, and Virginia Western Community College).

Dates: 2013-2015
Director(s): Rachel Stauffer
Grantee Institutions: University of Virginia
Location: Charlottesville, VA

Today, more than half of post-secondary students in the U.S. attend community colleges. Yet the essential role of humanities instruction at these institutions is sometimes overlooked – despite the fact that many students’ only serious study of the humanities takes place in two-year college classrooms.

For the most part, only slender resources are devoted to humanities instruction at community colleges. Community college humanities faculty carrying very full teaching loads, often on part-time or adjunct appointments, have insufficient opportunities for professional development. To mark a new commitment to this vital and growing sector in higher education, the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2011 launched NEH Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges, a program to advance humanities teaching at community colleges through sustained faculty and curriculum development.

Funded projects focus on the theme of Bridging Cultures, an agency-wide initiative that encourages exploration of the ways in which cultures from around the globe, as well as cultures within America’s borders, have influenced American society.

In 2011, five institutions were each awarded up to $360,000 in cooperative agreements for projects to be held in 2012-15. Three additional awards were made in 2012. These projects:

  • draw on sound humanities scholarship related to the theme of Bridging Cultures;
  • engage participating faculty in shared readings of important humanities texts;
  • involve noted humanities scholars in discussions, mentoring, and review of courses and
  • support demonstrable and measurable improvements in humanities course offerings; and
  • serve as national models of excellence in addressing needs that are widely shared.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.