The Miami University Humanities Center brings together faculty, students, and the public for conversation and debate about human experience. The mission of the center is to recruit, retain, and energize outstanding faculty; foster flexible, collaborative inquiry in and beyond the humanities; cultivate a new generation of scholars and leaders; and demonstrate the value of the humanities to liberal arts education and society more generally.
The center offers over a dozen distinct programs for research, cross-disciplinary inquiry, creative teaching, and public engagement; it organizes, funds, and advertizes scores of annual lectures, readings, workshops, and symposia; it advocates for the value of the humanities adn coordinates capacity-building initiatives; and it is a resource for diverse institutional groups, providing funding, oversight, logistical support, and means of dissemination.
Events sponsored by the Humanities Center are free and open to the public.
In 1990, John W. Altman (Miami, 1960) made a major gift to create a Visiting Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities at Miami University. In 2008, Miami University awarded a $250,000 Presidential Academic Enrichment Award for the creation of a humanities center. At that time, Mr. Altman worked with the university to transfer his gift to the new Humanities Center, which was inaugurated in 2009 by President David Hodge and Dean Karen Schilling. The Founding Director of the Center was Allan Winkler, Distinguished Professor of History, who served from 2009-2011. Timothy Melley, Professor of English and Affiliate of American Studies, served as Interim Director for a semester in 2010 and then took over as Director in the summer of 2011.
In 2015, the Humanities Center won a prestigious $500,000 NEH Challenge Grant. The award is the largest and most prestigious offered by the NEH, and Miami was the only existing humanities center to receive a 2015 award. The award will be the basis of a new $2 million endowment to support collaborative faculty and student inquiry. In his award letter to Miami University President David Hodge, NEH Chairman William Adams called the Miami University Humanities Center a “model for integrating undergraduate training into advanced multidisciplinary scholarly efforts in the humanities.”* This award challenges Miami University to raise $1.5 million, creating a $2 million endowment to underpin the center’s work and create three pioneering programs for faculty research, student apprenticeship, and transformational teaching.
The Humanities Center now coordinates over a dozen distinct scholarly programs for faculty and students. It supports roughly 50 events per year and it promotes almost a hundred more, reaching thousands of people from Miami and beyond. The Center takes up capacity-building initiatives, creates community, and engages in advocacy to strengthen humanities teaching, scholarship, and public impact.
The director and assistant director of the center are appointed by the dean and share responsbility for planning, academic programming, financial oversight, fundraising, and public outreach.
The steering committee advises the director on matters of funding, selection of the Atlman program and its participants, annual financial planning, fundraising, and other aspects of governance. The Steering Committee consists of two Altman Faculty Fellows, who serve during the year of their fellowship; three at-large members, all from different departments or programs, who serve staggered, three-year terms; the director; the assistant director; the past director for one year after his or her service; and an ex-officio representative from the Dean’s office.
Faculty associates are the faculty community that constitutes the Humanities Center. All Miami University faculty members (including temporary, visiting, and part-time faculty) with interests in humanities scholarship are members by default.
Center associates form the wider scholarly community of the Humanities Center. They may include students, other members of the university community, and local or regional scholars interested in an association with the Center.
The Humanities Center is a member of The Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes.
*Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website and in Humanities Center print publications do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.