According to the New York City-based foundation, fewer college and university students are majoring in the humanities, fewer non-majors are enrolling in humanities courses, and humanities faculty are reporting that they feel demoralized.
Modeled after Purdue University's Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts certificate program, the initiative, Cornerstone: Learning for Living, will provide students of all backgrounds with a pathway to connect the humanities to their professional aspirations and increase opportunities for humanities faculty. To that end, the initiative will award grants of up to $350,000 over two years to community colleges, liberal arts colleges, regional comprehensive institutions, and research universities to promote gateway courses anchored in transformative ancient and modern texts and develop thematically organized course clusters that bring humanistic inquiry to problems in business, health, engineering, and other technical fields.
"Encouraging students to ask questions about meaning and purpose in life and about how to organize a just society — and to do so with the help of searching works and caring teachers — is essential for a rewarding college experience and ultimately for the health of American civic life," said Teagle Foundation president Andrew Delbanco. "Yet the humanities, which pose such questions, are languishing on many campuses. Our partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities to co-sponsor the Cornerstone: Learning for Living grant program aims to foster deep discussions in and beyond the classroom about formative ideas in our multicultural world, and thereby to help students grow into responsible adulthood."