Humanities Institute

National and Civic Engagement Resources

The Humanities Institute aims to serve as a leader both nationally and at UT in promoting public scholarship in the arts and humanities. Through its public programs and online resources, the Institute offers humanities and civic engagement opportunities to the diverse communities it serves. A member of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes, the Institute also connects with national initiatives in public humanities programming and University-community relations. The following entries provide more information about other humanities organizations and community engagement projects.

Consortium of Humanities Centers and Insitutes

Established in 1988, the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Insitutes is an umbrella organization that serves as a site for the exploration and advancement of crossdisciplinary scholarship and as a network for the circulation of information and the sharing of resources among its member institutions. It has a membership of over one hundred and fifty centers and institutes, diverse in size and scope, located in the United States, Australia, Canada, Finland, Taiwan, Ireland, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom.

National Civic Engagement Consortium and Programs


Imagining America Consortium
Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life is a national consortium of colleges and universities committed to public scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design. Public scholarship joins serious intellectual endeavor with a commitment to public practice and public consequence. It includes:

  • Scholarly and creative work jointly planned and carried out by university and community partners;
  • Intellectual work that produces a public good;
  • Artistic, critical, and historical work that contributes to public debates;
  • Efforts to expand the place of public scholarship in higher education itself, including the development of new programs and research on the successes of such efforts.

Public scholarship in the arts and humanities integrates all the missions of higher education: research, teaching, service, and public engagement.


Animating Democracy Initiative
Animating Democracy is a program of Americans for the Arts, the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. Animating Democracy fosters arts and cultural activity that encourages and enhances civic engagement and dialogue. It is based on the premise that democracy is animated when an informed public is engaged in the issues affecting people's daily lives. The arts and humanities can contribute unique programs, settings, and creative approaches that reach new and diverse participants, stimulate public dialogue about civic issues, and inspire action to make change.

Egan Urban Center at DePaul University
The Egan Urban Center focuses on community development in the Chicago area through the formation of creative community/university partnerships and by initiating programs that impact community development policy and practice through teaching, research, and evaluation. The Center provides opportunities for community leaders and practitioners to pursue reflective work at the EUC in partnership with DePaul faculty members, and provides university scholars, staff, and students with opportunities for meaningful community involvement through hands-on work with community partners.

Humanities Out There, University of California, Irvine 
Humanities Out There brings public school teachers, graduate students, and undergraduate tutors together to create age-appropriate curricula to enhance the critical thinking and writing skills of Santa Ana students. As teachers and mentors, UCI students bring a university education to public school classrooms.

Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, University of Rutgers-Newark
The Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience is an interdisciplinary academic program for the study of ethnicity, race, and culture in modern life. It serves as a hub for the promotion of research, collegial discussion, and especially, scholarly service to the public. The Institute seeks to promote interracial and multicultural understanding through research, lectures, symposia, film, performances, exhibitions, and other programs open to the public.

Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project, Georgia
Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project prepares educators, K-16, to become more effective teachers of writing in their own classrooms and prepares teacher-leaders to deliver literacy instruction through workshops and seminars in local schools. KMWP uses communities of inquiry to facilitate writing and reflecting for teachers' professional growth.

Penn Humanities Forum, University of Pennsylvania
The Penn Humanities Forum uses humanistic knowledge and expertise to promote an ongoing cultural conversation involving a range of university disciplines and the general public. The Forum provokes its participants to discover common ground through the selection of a yearly theme which is explored in a rich program of public lectures, performances, and exhibitions. The Forum also promotes research through its academic think tank and sponsors student activities.

Simpson Center, University of Washington
The Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities is dedicated to fostering innovative cross-disciplinary research and teaching in the humanities and to stimulating exchange and debate on cultural and intellectual issues among scholars and the citizens of the community. The Simpson Center seeks to promote discovery, conversation, and collaboration in the humanities using public lectures and forums, scholarly conferences, research groups, interdisciplinary courses, public humanities programs, publications, and a fellowship program for University of Washington faculty and doctoral students.

UCLA Center for Community Partnerships
The Center for Community Partnerships nurtures and develops partnerships between community groups and UCLA to improve the quality of life for area residents. The Center's programs and activities promote the exchange of ideas and resources between the campus and the community and serve as a portal through which information, human capital, and services flow out to the community and in to the campus.

Other Civic Engagement Resources — Publications

"What is Arts of Citizenship: Putting the Academy in its Place"
David Scobey, Arts of Citizenship Program, University of Michigan, Lecture, February 10, 2000

"What We Want Students to Learn: Cultivating Playfulness and Responsibility in a Liberal Education"
Nancy Cantor and Steven Schomberg, Public Engagement and Institutional Relations, November/December 2002, 34, 6

"Taking the Humanities Out of the Box"
Kurt Spellmeyer, Arts of Living: Reinventing the Humanities for the 21st Century, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003, 3-25

"Poised between 2 Worlds: The University as Monastery and Marketplace"
Nancy Cantor and Steven Schomberg, Educause Review, March/April 2003, 12-21

Reinvigorating the Humanities: Enhancing Research and Education on Campus and Beyond (PDF, 1.5MB)
Association of American Universities, 2004

"A Manifesto for the Humanities in a Technological Age"
Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg, The Chronicle of Higher Education: Review, February 13, 2004, Vol. 50, Issue 23, B7

"Toward the Practice of the Humanities"
Evan Carton and Sylvia Gale, The Good Society, April 2006