Professors Receive National Endowment for Humanities Grant

Professors Stephen Rice and Meredith Davis, of American studies and art history respectively, received the renewal of an education grant, courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will be used toward the development of the 2013 workshop "The Hudson River in the Nineteenth Century and the Modernization of America," which follows a similar event held in 2011 at Ramapo. The academic gathering is intended for and targeted toward K-12 educators.

The National Endowment for the Humanities, otherwise known as NEH, is an independent agency within the federal government dedicated to funding humanities-related projects, including research, preservation and education. According to the organization's website, the NEH was created out of the Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965, legislation that intertwines democracy, education and the preservation of arts and humanities. Ever since, the agency has been allocated grants for different academic projects wrapped around an art and humanities basis.

In July 2011, Rice and Davis directed two workshop sessions concentrated on American history and culture of the Hudson River over a two-week period, each session with approximately 40 participants. The workshops included different types of on-campus lectures, visits to local historical sites and a walking tour of Lower Manhattan.

"We spent our last day with a three-hour tour through the Hudson islands, high mountains on both sides of the river," Rice said.

At the end of the workshop, participants also received an honorary certificate with a detailed syllabus of cover material.

The NEH grant provided funds for the planning of the workshop, as well as funding to accommodate participants through campus facilities.

"Events and Conferences, Dining Services, the Office of Residence Life, the George T. Potter Library and Informational Technology Services office were so helpful planning this conference," Rice said.

Additionally, participants of the conference were offered a taxable stipend of $1,200. This was intended to cover the cost of transportation, meals and housing. However, to earn and attain the stipend, punctual attendance to all scheduled meetings and engagement in project activities were strictly required.

Two Ramapo students were hired to help with the development, organization, facilitation and operation of the workshops during summer 2011. Two students will also be needed for this summer's event.

"We are planning on inviting on participants from 2011 to come back and share with the 2013 participants the lesson plans or curricular changes they made on their participation two years ago," Rice said. "A big part of the workshop is the faculty incorporating these approaches into their teaching. And for us, it's an interdisciplinary approach with art, literature, history. We think that's going to be a nice addition, for people to say they've taught this unit four times on the Hudson River."

This summer, other universities will be hosting similar events for K-12 teachers, including workshops and seminars at Duke University and Harvard University. Rice and Davis said they hope to see their workshops continue through 2015.

Completed applications for this summer's workshops should be postmarked no later than March 4. For any questions or concerns regarding the workshop, contact