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Posted: July 25, 2017 Initiative blends STEM with humanities
The Herald Tribune

A new grant from Indiana Humanities will provide up to $4,000 for libraries, museums, schools, historical societies and other tax-exempt organizations to develop programs that connect science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) with the humanities (history, literature, philosophy, religion, world languages and culture, etc.). The grant program is part of Indiana Humanities’ new thematic initiative, called Quantum Leap, which explores the spirit of possibility and problem solving that occurs when bridging the STEM fields with the humanities.

“We’re especially eager to support experimental ideas that not only combine STEM and the humanities, but also fuse together formats and methods in unexpected and creative ways,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We encourage organizations to dream up programs that spotlight how Hoosiers have and could create a better society through innovation, as well as how Hoosiers can wrestle with the changes wrought by STEM innovation—which is both exciting and scary.”

Funding for Indiana Humanities’ grant programs is provided in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Posted: July 25, 2017 Taw Caw receives grant for Briggs v. Elliot exhibit
Manning Live, SC

Twenty-five teacher scholars from across the country will be able to hear stories directly from the children of the Briggs v. Elliott plaintiffs. Discussions will be facilitated by Dr. Bernard Powers of the College of Charleston and Dr. Patricia Sullivan of the University of South Carolina.
“The goal of the exhibit is to create a visual history that will enhance the oral stories which will be captured during the NEH Institute visit,” Hammett said. “The exhibit will be open and available for the community and the stories collected from the children of the plaintiffs will be placed at the Clarendon County Archives and History for future public use.”

Dr. Minuette Floyd of the University of South Carolina will curate a display of photos, letters and family artifacts to complement the exhibit.
“Therefore, the Summerton experience will be structured around oral history, investigation of archival and in-print primary sources, the ‘Courage’ exhibit and a scholar-led session,” Hammett said. “Project advisors and staff will be on hand to help with the event, ensuring that content remains in place for the local community to use through its local archives and history agency.”

The 2017 Institute will place special emphasis on local oral history and memory as evidenced by having the teachers interact directly with the surviving children of the Briggs v. Elliott plaintiffs. Local educators will have access to lesson plans and visual essays that will grow out of the Summerton event via the NEH Summer Institute website at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

Posted: July 21, 2017 A Bill Funding Arts and Humanities Endowments Passes House Committee
New York Times

Four months after President Trump proposed eliminating the cultural agencies altogether, a bill to continue to finance the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities won approval this week from the House appropriations committee.

The House bill, part of the process of thrashing out the federal budget for fiscal year 2018, includes $145 million for each endowment. The amounts represent a cut of about $5 million to each agency, but is a stark contrast to President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the endowments entirely as outlined in his first federal budget plan he announced in March.

That proposal was a political statement about the president’s wishes; Congress writes the federal budget, and those line items are now being thrashed out in the House and Senate.

The cultural funds — a small part of the broader interior and environment appropriations bill — may eventually receive a vote by the full House, perhaps as one part of a bigger omnibus bill after the summer recess.

Posted: July 21, 2017 Nothing laudatory about drifting away from traditional liberal arts
Boston Globe

Merrimack College’s new approach (“Giving it the new college try,” Page A1, July 18) is neither new nor laudatory. I taught there from 1965 to 1985. During earlier years the school’s mission was to introduce, to educate its blue-collar constituency in the liberal arts and sciences. As a professor in a developing English department dedicated to writing and literary study, and in a humanities division offering team-taught courses, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, in history, fine arts, classical literature, philosophy, and theology, I taught students who continued their education in law school, medical school, social services, broadcasting, even politics, as well as in graduate work and teaching in English.

By the 1980s the school’s mission became “pragmatic,” catering to those equating college with vocational training. Our English majors dropped from about 50 graduates to 10, our department declining toward a service department. Because of my scholarly publications, which were of little consequence at Merrimack, I was invited to Brigham Young University and spent the next 22 years where the liberal arts were still valued.

It is lamentable that a college identifying as Catholic has in fact a history of moving away from the traditional liberal arts. The drift, national really, has much to do with our loss of ideals.

Posted: July 21, 2017 Vermont Arts Council appoints executive director - Karen Mittelman Appointed Vermont Arts Council Executive Director
The Vermont Digger

Karen Mittelman Appointed Vermont Arts Council Executive Director
National Endowment for the Humanities Director of Public Programs Will Take the Helm in October

The Vermont Arts Council today announced that Karen S. Mittelman, Ph.D., has accepted the position of executive director for the state arts agency. Mittelman is currently director of the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in Washington, D.C. She brings to the Arts Council more than thirty years of experience in the public sector and the federal cultural arena. In addition to the NEH, Mittelman held a senior position at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and served as curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

“I’m honored and excited to join the Vermont Arts Council in its vital mission,” said Mittelman. “This is a challenging time for artists and cultural organizations, and it is also a time when the arts are essential to the life and strength of our communities. I look forward to working with my new colleagues and with our partners across the state to learn about, build on, and enhance Vermont’s deep commitment to the arts.”