Reimagining the Humanities PhD and Reaching New Publics

The Simpson Center announces a new four-year program—Reimagining the Humanities PhD—starting in July 2015, thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. At this time of accelerating change in higher education, Reimagining the Humanities PhD addresses the pressing need to take scholarship and teaching in the humanities to broader publics. 

This innovative program has three basic components: The first will build bridges between the University of Washington and two-year colleges in the Seattle District. Two-year colleges in the United States serve close to half of all undergraduates, including fifty percent of undergraduates of color and an increasing proportion of low-income students; at the University of Washington fifty percent of our graduating majors in the humanities are transfer students from two-year colleges. Yet two-year colleges receive very little recognition for the crucially vital role that they are playing in higher education today. As part of Reimagining the Humanities PhD, UW doctoral students in the humanities will engage with this highly diverse student body by shadowing faculty members at North Seattle College, Seattle Central College, and South Seattle College. 

Secondly, the grant from the Mellon Foundation will provide funds for summer fellowships for doctoral students to pursue public-scholarship projects. The third component of program is support for UW faculty members to develop graduate seminars that incorporate the public humanities. 

With the focus on doctoral students, the three components of Reimagining the Humanities PhD are designed to address the problems of increasing racial and economic segregation in higher education while broadening the prospects for PhD graduates in the humanities and increasing audiences for humanities scholarship. 

 For more information, contact Kathleen Woodward, Director, at kw1@uw.edu.

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