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Humanities Project Launching Community Collaborative for Graduate Training and Research

July 11, 2018

A new two-year project at UC Merced aims to bring academic and non-academic researchers together to recast the role of the humanities in public policy and, ultimately, improve the lives of San Joaquin Valley residents.

The collaborative project, entitled “Building Research Partnerships in the San Joaquin Valley: Community Engaged Research and Graduate Mentorship in the Interdisciplinary Humanities,” involves scholars and community organizations.

A theme will be chosen each year, and together the researchers will focus on questions of shared interest in the public sphere and illustrate how humanities research beyond the academy can affect the local, regional, and national dialogues on key issues, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts Dean Jill Robbins said.

The Henry Luce Foundation has funded the $280,000 proposal, one of the largest humanities grants the campus has received.

“We are excited about the innovative research and policy initiatives this partnership will help us all accomplish, as well as the unique training it will provide our Ph.D. students,” Robbins said. “This project will place UC Merced at the vanguard of institutions that are working to rethink the Humanities Ph.D.”

The project will be overseen by a committee of two faculty members, two community partners, Robbins and Vice Provost and Graduate Division Dean Marjorie Zatz . There are three key elements:

  • A graduate seminar to be held each fall semester, informed by the year’s guiding theme, and including training sessions and workshops for community partners, graduate students and faculty;
  • Supervised collaborative research activities each spring; and
  • A summer internship during which students, faculty members and community members prepare the dissemination of research results, including how they will attract the attention of policy-makers.