Thomas Edison State University (TESU) has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Spotlight on Humanities Development Grant for the university’s project, Incorporating DEI Concepts and Content Into Humanities General Education Courses.

The $60,000 NEH grant, the first of its kind for the university, will be dispersed over two years to support the university’s integration of diversity and inclusion themes across a broader swath of its curriculum.

“We work continuously to update our academic offerings with a particular focus on incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into relevant course content,” said Dr. Tara Kent associate dean of the Heavin School of Arts, Sciences, and Technology and director of Undergraduate Studies at TESU, who is working through the project’s implementation with Dr. Burton Peretti, assistant dean at the school. “This support will enable us to extend our efforts in these areas.”

According to Kent, the award will also support the expansion of the school’s undergraduate Certificate in Diversity. The certificate program will provide students with a foundation to explore social inequalities related to gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, social class and disabilities. The multidisciplinary certificate will include courses in the social sciences and humanities and will provide students with the foundational knowledge to understand historic and contemporary sources of social inequities.

“The objective of the certificate program is to develop culturally competent professionals who are well prepared for living and working in a diverse local and global society,” noted Kent. “The coursework will enhance students’ baccalaureate studies personally and professionally, and cultivate informed and empowered learners.”

According to NEH’s website, this funding cycle includes the first round of awards made under the federal agency’s new Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education grant program. Developed as part of its American Tapestry: Weaving Together Past, Present and Future initiative, the program supports humanities teaching and research projects that benefit underserved populations at small- to mid-sized colleges and universities.

“We are extremely grateful to receive this highly competitive award,” said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president of the university. “Purposeful DEI efforts are reshaping how higher education addresses social disparities and the distribution of opportunity while strengthening the value and applicability of our academic programs. We have made it a priority to embed these efforts across our curriculum and student learning environment. The NEH support reinforces that commitment and helps us to create a climate that embraces the unique experiences, aspirations and identities of all our students.”

Source: Thomas Edison State University