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Major Gift to Reimagine Humanities Research, Community-engaged Projects

June 6, 2024

Humanities education has been under fire on college campuses over the past decade.

“There’s a lot of concern nationally about graduate education in the humanities. We’re producing plenty of Ph.D.s but are there enough jobs for them upon graduation?” said anthropology and heritage studies Professor Robin DeLugan, who leads UC Merced’s Research Center for Community Engaged Scholarship (ReCCES).

“How do we make a humanities career more feasible?”

That was the impetus for DeLugan and others to begin redefining humanities at UC Merced.

The Henry Luce Foundation, which funds projects focused on supporting humanities graduate education and research, noticed UC Merced’s interdisciplinary humanities faculty were doing something unique in their eight research areas — anthropology, critical race and ethnic studies, global arts, history, languages, literature, world heritage and writing studies.

“The difference is not that we have an interdisciplinary humanities program, but it's unique for graduate education programs in the humanities to be interdisciplinary and also integrate community-engaged research into the training,” DeLugan said. “What we're doing is innovative; we’re reimagining the future of humanities and the university by training grad students and supporting humanities faculty who collaborate with community partners on research projects.”