News and Features
Meet Benjamin Linzy, Humanities Without Walls program coordinator, based at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Linzy works with Associate Director Maggie Nettesheim-Hoffmann on career diversity initiatives for the consortium, including programmatic development and implementation for the career diversity summer workshop.
When Antoinette Burton began her tenure as director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (now the Humanities Research Institute), the Humanities Without Walls consortium was in its infancy.
“Coming into this job eight years ago, Humanities Without Walls was kind of a metaphor,” said Burton.
Over the course of eight-plus years of the Humanities Without Walls consortium (HWW), one of the key lessons to emerge is the essential role that business operations officers play in realizing the intellectual outcomes of the grant—and why they should be at the table from the beginning of each project.
During the 2016 presidential election cycle, Dr. Terrion Williamson noticed that when candidates were attempting to capture the vote of the ‘heartland laborers,’ these folks were often scripted as white and male. This erasure of Black folks from the Midwest—both from the public discourse and the historical archive—troubled her.
Graduate students in the humanities and social and behavioral sciences spent part of last summer supporting worthwhile causes: They worked with community organizations in the Urbana-Champaign area to help them achieve everything from running shelters to preparing incarcerated individuals for life outside of prison. They did so through the Summer Bridge Program, which was created by the Humanities Without Walls initiative, funded by the Mellon Foundation and housed at the Humanities Research Institute.
Dr. Samantha Majhor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Marquette University. She is also the faculty advisor for Marquette's Indigeneity Lab, which provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to collaborate with Native and non-Native faculty on interdisciplinary research projects in the sciences and humanities, with a focus on Indigeneous topics.
We spoke with Dianne Harris, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, about the origins of the Humanities Without Walls consortium (HWW). Harris was the director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) from 2008 to 2015. (In 2020, IPRH advanced to institute status and became the Humanities Research Institute.) Harris conceptualized, founded, and was the first Principal Investigator for HWW.
Building HWW’s infrastructure was an evolutionary process with several of the consortial partners finding ways to map or adapt HWW ideologies onto pre-existing institutional landscapes, while other members of the consortium forged ahead into more uncharted territory.
How can we make career diversity for graduate students in the arts and humanities an issue that affects substantive change on an institutional—even national—scale? For Dr. Danielle Fosler-Lussier, this systematic change starts with a conversational shift: she uses narrative storytelling to amplify career diversity outcomes for graduate students. Fosler-Lussier attributes her storytelling approach, in part, to her participation in the HWW Faculty Staff Institute (FSI) workshop held at Marquette University in the summer of 2023.
At La Casa de Amistad in South Bend, Indiana, large plastic bags of dried herbs labeled in blue permanent marker were placed on two tables. Women lined up, scooping combinations of herbs into small floral-patterned mesh bags. A row of papers with botanical illustrations were displayed in front of their real-life counterparts. Everyone sat down at the white folding tables, facing each other in a semicircle. Then the conversation began.
Meet Priyanka Zylstra, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of History, Priyanka worked with the Education Justice Project.
Meet Victor A. Ruiz-Divas, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership, Victor worked with Krannert Art Museum.
Meet Omar Agustin Hernandez, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, Omar worked with Strides Shelter: City of Champaign Township.
Meet Samuel Froiland, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of History, Samuel worked with The Land Connection.
Meet Alana Ackerman, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of Anthropology, Alana worked with Immigrant Services of Champaign-Urbana.
Maggie Nettesheim-Hoffmann is the Associate Director for Career Diversity at Humanities Without Walls— and a PhD candidate in History at Marquette University. Maggie has been involved in the consortium since 2017. We spoke to her about building inclusive graduate reform efforts, scalable programming, and the evolution of graduate education in the humanities.
Bianet Castellanos, director of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and professor and chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota (UMN), is passionate about diversifying educational experiences for graduate students. So, when the former IAS director Jennifer Gunn approached her with the opportunity to host the 2023 Humanities Without Walls (HWW) Career Diversity workshop in the Twin Cities, Castellanos immediately said yes.
The Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) has announced five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. Now in its third year, Summer Bridge invites humanities PhD students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to spend eight weeks working collaboratively with organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area, using their humanities knowledge while building new skills to make an impact in the community.
Meet Sebastian Williams. He received his PhD in English from Purdue University in 2021. Williams is currently an assistant professor of English at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia, where he participates in programs such as Upward Bound to mentor first-generation students in Appalachia.
The ”Flint Water Disaster Public Archive” will re-home public data that has been largely inaccessible to Flint communities — a form of data justice that is of urgent relevance to the history, present, and future of those communities. The project is a collaboration among the University of Iowa, University of Michigan–Flint, and the Flint Democracy Defense League.
Meet Nushelle de Silva. She received her PhD in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2022. She holds a SMArchS, also from MIT, and a BA in Architecture from Princeton University.
Meet Meghan Forbes, who holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and taught at the University of Texas at Austin.
The University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts will host the 2023 Career Diversity Workshop, organized in partnership with the Humanities Without Walls Consortium and the Institute for Advanced Study. The two-week, immersive career-diversity experience provides tools, values exercises, and space for 25 PhD students in the humanities to imagine their professional futures.
The Humanities Without Walls consortium has selected its Fellows cohort for the 2023 Career Diversity Workshop, hosted on-campus by the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Comprised of 25 PhD students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, the Fellows represent 20 higher education institutions across the nation.
Blanca Garcia-Barron is currently a Library Technician at Mt. San Jacinto Community College in Riverside County, California and a graduate student in the MLIS program at San José State University. She earned her M.A. in borderlands history at The University of Texas, El Paso and holds a B.A. in public and oral history from the California State University, San Bernardino.
The Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) has announced seven new projects funded by the final round of the Grand Research Challenge (GRC). Each of the interdisciplinary research teams will receive an award of $150,000 over a three-year period, provided by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.
Career exploration is time-consuming. For Heather Ennis, this period of discernment has been a slow, necessary evolution—one that has provided an opportunity for self-reflection about her graduate education in the humanities. The Career Exploration Fellowship Program, supported by the Graduate College, connects doctoral students with administrative units, enabling students to build knowledge and skills beyond traditional research and teaching roles, as well as envision alternative career paths.
Sara B.T. Thiel is an associate editor for Built In’s Expert Contributor Network. She joined the company in 2021, having previously managed adult education programs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater from 2018-2021. Currently, she manages and develops content for Built In’s Tech A-Z. Dr. Thiel holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and has taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois.
Do you believe collaboration is a transferable skill for graduate students? Kelly Wisecup does. While working with her team on the Grand Research Challenge (GRC) -funded project "Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates," Wisecup began to reimagine how to equip students to succeed, both within the academy and beyond.
What does public humanities research look like when community need and knowledge making are brought to the fore? Enter the Reclaiming Stories project, a Grand Research Challenge-funded initiative that is helmed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Miami and Peoria tribal nations, as well as academics from institutions across the country.
The travail de mémoire or “memory work” surrounding the Hmong people and their history during and after the French colonial conflicts in Southeast Asia still remains to be done, according to Chantal Brunel, former member of the French National Assembly. But how best to uncover and share these untold stories?
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign history professor Robert Morrissey is working with an interdisciplinary group of scholars, tribal cultural experts and community members on a project that will reconnect the tribes with their tradition of hide painting and with the ceremonial robes in the Quai Branly Museum.
The HWW team is pleased to announce our newest alumni board members. As current board members, these individuals will spend the next year consulting with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. Congratulations to all!
The Humanities Without Walls consortium (HWW), in partnership with the Graduate College at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is excited to share that Heather Ennis (English) has joined the consortium as a Career Exploration Fellowship Program fellow.
Meet Maureen Owens, account manager at Carnegie. As a current member of HWW's alumni board, Maureen consults with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. Maureen also attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2018.
Meet Jamil Jorge, Education Director at FirstWorks in Providence, Rhode Island. As a current member of HWW's alumni board, Jamil consults with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. Jamil also attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2018.
Meet Caroline Marris, non-tenure track faculty member at Columbia University in the Department of History. As a current member of HWW's alumni board, Caroline consults with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. Caroline also attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2017.
Meet Victoria Fields, one of four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. She is a PhD student in Communication. This summer, Victoria worked with community partner Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD). Within CUPHD, the Equity Council addresses various forms of systemic oppression and racism in carrying out public health initiatives in the Champaign-Urbana community.
Meet Suzanne Valentine, one of four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. She is a PhD student in English. This summer, Suzanne worked with community partner Champaign County Mental Health Board. CCMHB coordinates and evaluates the comprehensive local system of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services for Champaign County.
Meet Breanna Escamilla, one of four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. She is a PhD student in Anthropology. This summer, Breanna worked with community partner Driven to Reach Excellence & Academic Achievement for Males (DREAAM). DREAAM builds trauma-informed programming for boys and young men in the C-U community aimed at sustaining a culture of achievement, engagement and behavioral health.
Meet Rayven Morrow, one of four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. She is a PhD student in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership, with a concentration in Gender and Women's Studies. This summer, Rayven worked with community partner CU Freedom School at Garden Hills Academy. CU Freedom School is a summertime and after-school literacy and cultural enrichment program for K–5 students.
The Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) has announced four participants selected for the 2022 Summer Bridge program. Now in its second year, Summer Bridge invites humanities PhD students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to spend eight weeks working collaboratively with organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area, using their humanities knowledge while building new skills to make an impact in the community.
Meet John Moore, Communications Specialist in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. John attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2016.
Meet Andrew Boge, doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant at the University of Iowa in the Department of Communication Studies. Andrew attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2021.
Meet Kei Hotoda, Program Coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Philosophy Department. Kei attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2015.
New podcast episode: Dr. Assata Zerai, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion at the University of New Mexico, and Dr. Doug Woods, Dean of the Graduate School at Marquette University, discuss career diversity, interdisciplinary scholarship, and how humanities doctoral training plays a role in the work of higher education administration.
The Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) has announced five new projects funded by the third Grand Research Challenge, which provides grants for teams pursuing research with a commitment to methodologies of reciprocity and redistribution. Each of the five interdisciplinary research teams will receive an award of $150,000 over a two-year period, provided by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.