NYU has received a $1.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a Public Humanities program in doctoral education in its Graduate School of Arts and Science.

New York University has received a $1.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a Public Humanities program in doctoral education in its Graduate School of Arts and Science.

Public Humanities aim to bring humanities scholarship into the public sphere, where advanced knowledge can be used to address issues facing policy makers, non-profit organizations, and community groups.

“The program we envision responds to longstanding, but arguably under-appreciated, facts about the nature of work in the humanities—namely, that it goes forward both within and beyond academia, and that it entails a public function that Ph.D. programs should rightly prepare their students to fulfill,” says Phillip Harper, dean of NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS).

“Our program in Public Humanities will prepare doctoral students in the humanities to engage with a variety of publics in a range of different contexts, readying them for a broad array of career paths,” adds Carolyn Dinshaw, dean for the humanities at NYU.

The program, which will be fully launched in the 2020-21 academic year, aims to meet the growing need for humanities faculty who have knowledge about public issues and emergent technologies, and who are attuned to the demands of an increasingly dynamic employment landscape.

Moreover, recent studies indicate that the preponderance of the non-faculty positions available to Ph.D. recipients will be located in the northeastern United States, the region that includes all 10 of the states or districts with the largest shares of job holders in positions typically requiring a doctoral or professional degree.

Notably, the New York State Bureau of Labor Market Information has projected that the employment sectors that typically require doctoral or professional degrees will have grown in the state by nearly 14 percent between 2012 and 2022—second only to those requiring an associate’s degree.

In addition, this curriculum will likely expand the types of students pursuing doctoral degrees.

“We speculate that training programs in Public Humanities—because they offer such diverse employment outcomes—can more readily attract applicants into major research universities from a more diverse pool than those for conventionally academe-focused programs,” notes Harper.

NYU’s program will consist of three components: (1) enhancement of the curriculum to provide specific Public Humanities training; (2) provision of a set of co-curricular activities that will help students develop concrete professional skills; and (3) introduction of students to professional Public Humanities practice through internships taken concurrently with dissertation completion.

This will be achieved through multiple initiatives, including the following:

·      Coursework in Public Humanities that Ph.D. student may apply either toward a Public Humanities certificate or toward a certificate in Management and Leadership of Public Service Organizations, offered in partnership with NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service;

·      Skills-building workshops to be offered throughout each year, designed to prepare Humanities Ph.D. students for a range of career paths; and

·      A fellowship enabling doctoral students to complete their dissertation while simultaneously holding an internship at an institution relevant to their academic preparation and career objectives.

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai, and has eleven other global academic sites around the world. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, engineering, social work, cities, global public health, big data, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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