Calling all SRU students!!!
Are you passionate about the humanities?
Do you enjoy helping others?
Are you looking for a cool job this fall?
The Stone House Center for Public Humanities is looking for several student mentors for our Humanities Ladder program.
The Humanities Ladder provides college-level humanities education to high school students faced with socioeconomic difficulties through weekly team-taught sessions. As a student mentor, you will work with a Slippery Rock University professor by assisting students at Aliquippa High School OR Union Area High School with once-a-week classroom activities. The goals of the Humanities Ladder Program are to:
If you are interested in being a mentor, please send your resume along with your availability for the fall 2017 semester to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the Humanities Ladder program here.
The Humanities Ladder is a unique program that introduces college-level humanities to low-income and under-represented high school students through weekly sessions with Slippery Rock University professors. It is the Stone House Center for Public Humanities' flagship initiative.
This transformative experience empowers students to succeed by providing groundwork for
understanding the complexities of the world, while fostering empathy for others and a desire to become active and effective citizens. Through the Humanities Ladder, students envision new educational goals and develop greater confidence in civic participation.
We are pleased to reveal a NEW website exclusively for our Humanities Ladder program. We invite you to learn more about the program, our successes, the curriculum, and the people involved by visiting humanitiesladder.org.
The Stone House Center for Public Humanities (CPH) at Slippery Rock University has received a $45,000 Grable Foundation Public Schools Grant to expand and enhance its ongoing Humanities Ladder initiative. The program offers college-level humanities education for high school students in economically-disadvantaged communities.
Created in 2014, expanding on programming at a small, historic site curated by the History Department at Slippery Rock University, the CPH is at the forefront of a growing movement among scholars and activists to create learning communities that extend beyond the boundary of the college classroom.
The CPH provides an opportunity for university and community members to engage as partners and demonstrate the vital contribution of the humanities to all areas of contemporary life. In this way, the CPH continues to break down barriers that hinder a wider dissemination of humanities programming and education for often isolated and sometimes marginalized populations.
While the CPH sponsors a variety of public programs – including community reading programs, historic foodways workshops, digital humanities projects, and more – the Humanities Ladder has become its flagship initiative.
The Humanities Ladder is an adaptation of the proven Clemente Course, which offers college-level humanities courses to low-income adult students with no access to such educational opportunities. By helping students to understand their own experiences through the rich legacy of the humanities, the course brings intellectual empowerment to people who have been limited by economic, social, or political forces. The CPH began an adaptation of the Clemente Course model in September 2015 in collaboration with Aliquippa School District in Beaver County, PA.
In December 2016, the CPH was awarded a $100,000 Humanities Access Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Humanities Ladder Program.
The Trump administration may soon eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) entirely as part of a plan to curb spending. The administration plans to cut $10 trillion, nearly all of our budget’s non-discretionary spending, over the next 10 years.
The NEA has been the life-blood and foundation of the arts community across our nation since 1965. They provide grants for dance, music, drama, literature, outreach education, and so much more. The NEH offers research funding to museums, libraries, and colleges. Together, these two organizations enrich the arts in America, giving creativity and freedom of speech a voice. Don’t allow these organizations to slip away quietly. Keep reading to learn how you can help.
What is the NEH?
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1965 to support “scholarly and cultural activity in order to achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future” (National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965). It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.
What does it do?
The NEH awards grants that typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, radio stations, and to individual scholars. In fact, the Center for Public Humanities was recently awarded an NEH grant for our Humanities Ladder program.
These grants allow for projects to deeply reach into communities across the country by way of exhibitions that help preserve valuable heritage collections, historic installations, discussion programs at local libraries, or simply by allowing us to indulge in the humanities from the comfort of our own homes through documentaries, radio programs, websites, and apps.
What is in jeopardy?
President Trump has proposed the elimination of National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts funding in order to eliminate some of the country’s debt. Further drastic cuts could threaten programs that provide important support for humanities teaching, scholarship, preservation, and public programs in communities across America. For example, the NEH provides support for some 56,000 lectures, discussions, exhibitions and other programs annually. The NEH and NEA only require a combined .006% of the federal budget.
Why should you care?
The NEH serves to strengthen our democracy by promoting excellence in the humanities, while conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. Through the strengthening of teaching and learning provided to us through the NEH, we are better able to learn about and tell the stories of our communities and our nation. The NEH facilitates research, provides opportunities for lifelong learning, preserves and provides access to cultural and educational resources, and strengthens the institutional base of the humanities
How can you help?
Take action! Let your voice be heard by calling and writing to your local Members of Congress and letting them know that you value the NEH and NEA.
Click here to send a message to your Members of Congress and the President.
You can also sign the petition.
How have the humanities impacted you? Share your experiences below.
If you're an SRU student, take this opportunity to share why the humanities are important to you via our Shout Out for the Humanities contest!
With funding challenges forcing many institutions across the country to either scale back or consider cuts to liberal arts programming, Slippery Rock University's Humanities Ladder program will soon receive an infusion of capital courtesy of a $100,000 Humanities Access Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.The NEH today announced $16.3 million in funding for 290 projects in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to support a variety of humanities-based research and programs. The grants include the inaugural round of Humanities Access grants which were awarded through NEH's Office of Challenge Grants to 34 organizations - including SRU's Humanities Ladder - that provide "cultural programming for young people, communities of color and economically disadvantaged populations."
SRU's Humanities Ladder program, a 10-week initiative that launched in fall 2015, introduces underserved high school students at Aliquippa High School to topics not normally covered at the high school level, including: art history, gender studies and philosophy.
The ultimate goal of the program is to help students develop a love of humanities and find motivation to attend college.
"The grant speaks volumes about the significance of the Humanities Ladder and its tremendous potential," said Aaron Cowan, SRU professor of history and program co-director. "There is an entire national movement in the humanities where we think about how to make enrichment available to people outside the University."
According to Timothy Aiken, director of congressional affairs for the NEH, the 34 Access Grant recipients were awarded following a "rigorous and highly competitive" peer-review process.
Aiken said the NEH evaluated each grant application before forwarding recommendations to the National Council on the Humanities, which serves in an advisory role to the NEH. The council then provides its recommendations to NEH Chairman William Adams for final approval.
"The humanities help us study our past, understand our present, and prepare for our future," said Adams. "The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to support projects that will benefit all Americans and remind us of our shared human experience."
While the NEH awards 900 grants a year ranging from $1,000 to $750,000, Aiken said many applicants get turned down.
"In most programs, the applicant success rate varies from about 6 percent to 40 percent," he said.
SRU's Humanities Ladder served 25 high school sophomores in its first year and has followed those participating students into their junior year while welcoming another class of 30 sophomores in 2016.
"Since the program started, these students have exhibited increased educational goals, a deeper appreciation for the humanities and an overall greater confidence," Cowan said. "There was a 50 percent increase in students motivated to apply for college admission."
Participating faculty have been joined this fall by SRU students Max Knight, a junior secondary education/history from North East and LaMorie Marsh, a senior English major from New York City, who act as student mentors in the program.
The NEH grant monies are designed to support initiatives by matching other external funding up to $100,000, according to Lia Paradis, SRU associate professor of history and program co-director. The program was the recipient of a $45,000 grant from the PNC Foundation in June.
"The support of the NEH will help us approach other potential funders, because it indicates that the Humanities Ladder is an important program worth their attention," she said.
Funding from the NEH grant will allow for expansion of the program to additional area school districts that, like Aliquippa, lack funding for humanities education.
The Humanities Ladder program is part of SRU's Stone House Center for Public Humanities. Cowan and Paradis launched the Center in 2014, with the goal of taking humanities programming into the wider community and sustaining interest in liberal arts education.
"The Center connects the University's humanities faculty and students to the broader community by offering collaborative educational programming, public forums, non-degree courses, workshops and service-learning opportunities, all focused on bringing the insights of the humanities to bear on contemporary public life," said Cowan.
"The mission is to provide unique opportunities for the western Pennsylvania community to celebrate cultural heritage, foster innovative educational experiences and highlight the humanities' relevance to contemporary life."
Humanities empower students to succeed by providing a framework for understanding the complexities of the world, while fostering empathy for others and a desire to become active and effective citizens. Our Humanities Ladder program builds these skills through mentoring relationships with Slippery Rock University professors. Each week, professors provide engaging opportunities for students to practice reflective critical thinking in disciplines like aesthetics, philosophy, anthropology, history, and more.
Since the program started in fall 2015, these under-represented students have already exhibited increased educational goals, a deeper appreciation for the humanities, and an overall greater confidence in academics and civic participation. In fact, there was a 50% increase in students motivated to apply for college admission.
We are currently looking for SRU teachers and student mentors to participate in our spring 2016 Humanities Ladder program. Scroll down to learn how you can get involved.
Our vision is to create a community of learners enriched, engaged and enlightened through the humanities.