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Graduate School Awarded 2022 National Endowment for the Humanities Initiatives Grant

Dean Dana Williams
National Endowment for the Humanities

Howard University Graduate School has received a $150,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to develop and launch an interdisciplinary studies graduate certificate in digital humanities (DH). The award, part of the highly competitive Humanities Initiatives program, is one of 33 issued this year to encourage curricular innovation and strengthen the teaching and study of the humanities. Humanities Initiatives grants fund the development or enhancement of programs, courses and resources at four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities.

The grant will allow Dana A. Williams, dean of the Graduate School and professor of African-American literature, and an interdisciplinary planning committee of Howard faculty to develop a program of study that contributes to a growing emphasis in national DH studies on “Black digital humanities.” The number of DH initiatives that incorporate African-American literature, history and culture has increased slightly over the last five years, but challenges of race and culture deficiencies in DH studies persist. “Most of the time, DH initiatives simply ‘add on’ occasional African-American culture projects to shore up their diversity efforts,” Williams said. “Not many programs focus on using DH tools and methods to study African-American culture specifically.” The interdisciplinary graduate certificate in DH addresses this gap with an innovative curricular design that directly relates DH study to research and scholarship that center race and culture.

The certificate program will also strengthen the humanities at Howard, transforming academic and professional pathways for graduate students. Students in the Graduate School’s humanities and humanities-related programs will complement signature humanities competencies, such as close reading, critical thinking and persuasive communication, with DH skills, like advanced computing, data analysis, digital content creation and graphic design, that meet the needs of a modern economy and a fast-changing, highly digital and globally connected world. The program will help prepare graduate students for a range of employment opportunities while connecting existing humanities fields with an emerging discipline in exciting ways.

As one of the nation’s largest producers of African-American students who complete doctoral degrees, Howard’s Graduate School takes pride in its efforts to diversify the professoriate nationwide. Formally established in 1934, the school’s 1976 reorganization led to its current structure, with divisions in the arts and humanities, biological and life sciences, engineering and physical sciences, and social sciences. Today, the Graduate School offers 28 master’s and 27 doctoral degree programs as well as four graduate certificate programs. For more information about the Graduate School, visit gs.howard.edu.


About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.

Media Contact: Aaliyah Butler; aaliyah.butler@howard.edu