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Humanities Center

Humanities Grant Vision

The humanities are disciplines of memory and imagination, telling us where we have been and helping us envision where we are going. (The heart of the Matter”- 2013 US Report on the Humanities - American Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Complex realities created by an increasingly technological and global world require us to analyze, evaluate, and innovate; they urge us to fix our attention on questions central to the humanities: "What kind of ‘beings’ or creatures are we; what do we know, and how do we know it; what values are to be cherished and why; what is our conception of a valuable or significant life?" (Rudenstein).

Furthermore, individuals from inside and outside the academy are concerned about a general decline in focused, sustained reading (Arum and Roska). Empathy, some studies show, is decreasing among college students (Dolby). These capacities, along with others central to the humanities, are valued by companies that look for employees who are informed and flexible thinkers, adept communicators, ethical individuals, and life-long learners (Hart Research).

The humanities play a vital role in the education of students everywhere. By engaging in a dialogue with authors and texts of long-standing traditions in Literature, History, Philosophy and Theology, the humanities open new horizons for understanding the human experience in its many facets. In so doing, they also provide a fundamental anchor in a world that continues to present us with new challenges.

In an increasingly technological and global reality, where speed and immediacy seem to govern our everyday experience, the in-depth, analytical and critical approach of the humanities does not seem as relevant as it may have been.   However, it appears so, only if one looks at the challenges of our time as detached from their specific context, and thereby risking to miss its relationship to our human world, which has been characterized by constant and even radical change (think, for instance, of the Industrial Revolution, World Wars, Environmental disasters of unprecedented scale, etc.).  To be able to face the challenges of the time, whatever they may be, we need to see them in relationship to the context from which they arise and understand how they affect our human experience.  Only by bringing into dialogue the variety of ways in which human experience is conveyed, literally, historically, philosophically and theologically, can we hope to truly grasp the challenges of our time and thereby find ways to properly face and address them.

At Carroll College, we recognize the vital role the humanities play as an integral part of the education of each student. However, it is also clear to us, that more needs to be done in order to prepare students to face the challenges of our time. We believe that the humanities provide this fundamental ground and the proper place for forming engaged and caring individuals.

Hence, our intent to create a Center for the Humanities, as the pivotal space that, by bringing together the humanities and engaging manifold perspectives, will generate a vibrant and stimulating conversation. It will also involve the Helena Community at large and function as a fulcrum of creative intellectual life.

Humanities Center

The Humanities Center will:

  • Encourage and provide opportunities for undergraduate research and interdisciplinary learning, in collaboration with a team of faculty of different disciplines. This will also entail securing additional grants for students to participate in workshops, conferences at other institutions, nationwide.
  • Promote and encourage the development of interdisciplinary courses, as part of the major/minor in the humanities, although not exclusive to that. This will entail providing course development opportunities for faculty.
  • Organize a series of lectures and seminars throughout the academic year on a variety of topics central to the human experience.
  • Develop a program of studies that will enable students to major and/or minor in the Humanities.

Rationale

The Humanities Center at Carroll College will act as a fulcrum of intellectual life involving the whole campus community and the Helena community at large. It will provide:

  • Visibility to the humanities and their relevant role in our time
  • A space of vibrant dialogue and conversation on the challenges we are faced with in our ever more complex world
  • The opportunity to explore the relationship between local and global reality

Outcomes

  • Creation of a Humanities Center
  • Series of lectures, seminars throughout the year on a specific topic
  • Development of interdisciplinary courses
  • Faculty development
  • Undergraduate research in the humanities
  • Student Scholarships
  • Creation of a Major & Minor in the humanities
  • A yearly interdisciplinary conference on selected topic