IWU plans to use a $300,000 grant to expand humanities research and study. (photo by Erik Abderhalden/flickr)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - Illinois Wesleyan University is getting a big boost in the area of humanities.
The university was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to strengthen connections in the community for sciences, ethics, politics, and the environment.
"Anyone today that looks at the really significant problems we face as a community or nation or world knows that there is no one academic discipline that can answer these types of questions," University Provost and Dean of Faculty Jonathan Green said. "They're too complicated for a single target."
Wesleyan is looking at bringing national speakers and scholars in the humanities to campus. He says the main initiative is to cross boundaries in curriculum, discipline, campus to community interaction and faculty to student communication. The academic expansion is focused on building communication and ideas.
"Whether it's aspects of economics, science, political science working together to address issues and cultural understandings that are rapidly changing around the world, we need to be able to integrate lots of different ways of thinking and lots of different skill sets," Green said.
The humanities initiative will look to recruit visiting scholars and localized speakers to help expand the university's outreach. Green said the university has no specific speakers in mind yet.
"We are aiming at bringing in people that are going to be public intellectuals who are very actively thinking across platforms already engaged in thinking about new approaches."
According to Green, liberal arts colleges are the focal point for discussion on interdisciplinary crossover.
"We found ourselves in an ever more important place in terms of being able to prepare young leaders to move into the community and reach across disciplines in a meaningful way," Green said.
Green said the areas of focus - anywhere from philosophy to languages to history - all come from humanities study. He didn't put a timeframe on when the grant money or programs would be available.
Zach Dietmeier can be reached at email@example.com.