NEH Grants Support Models of Excellence in Humanities Education

WASHINGTON, (April 19, 2004)

$3.8 million awarded to 23 projects to create new humanities resources and develop new courses

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $3.8 million in grants for 23 projects to create new teaching and learning resources in the humanities. Projects are designed to serve as national models of excellence in humanities education.

For example, Chicago's Wilbur Wright College will refine and expand its highly successful Great Books program to provide community colleges more effective methods of introducing non-traditional students to these classic works. Other projects address American history and society, including projects that focus on early American history at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston and the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

"America's humanities students and teachers will benefit from the resources developed by these talented scholars and educators," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "Using innovative approaches and the latest technology, they will make significant scholarship accessible to much larger audiences, both in and out of the classroom."

Grants awarded for development of teaching and learning resources enhance a broad range of educational needs in the humanities. Several projects concentrate on regional American issues, such the Montana Historical Society's development of teaching resources for 20th-century Montana history, the Santa Fe, N.M., School of American Research's project on Southwestern cultures, and Chicago's Newberry Library project on the North American Midlands.

Several projects will use digital technology to present primary resources and teaching aids for different aspects of Asian studies, including medieval Asian illustration (Columbia University), the 19th-century interactions of Japan and America (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and the development of Japanese society and culture in the early 20th century (University of Pittsburgh). A languages project at Vermont's Middlebury College will create resources for the study of Brazilian Portuguese, and one at the State University of New York, Buffalo, will provide Web-based texts of literary and historical importance in a variety of languages (including Hindi, Arabic, Wolof, and Fulani) all expertly annotated for American students, with additional contextual materials. These two projects help address the nation's need for deeper understanding of languages critical to America's role in the 21st century. Many projects will make important texts and data widely accessible for teaching and learning. For example, the University of Illinois, Chicago, will apply a geographic information system (GIS) program to allow classrooms to use census data to understand the social, economic, and educational history of America from 1790 to 2000, bringing to the study of U.S. history a whole new level of precision and data-driven analysis.

Work supported by the new NEH program, "Grants for Teaching and Learning Resources and Curriculum Development," draws upon scholarship in the humanities and uses scholars and teachers as advisers. A complete list of the awards is available as an Adobe PDF file in the above box.

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