Humanities for the Public Good: An Integrative, Collaborative, Practice-Based Humanities PhD is a new program focused on creating cross-disciplinary opportunities for humanities graduate students
interested in a range of careers.
A Note from the HPG Team:
Just over a year ago, focus groups met at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies to imagine an experiential, interdisciplinary humanities PHD. We envisioned a program that would use the subject matter, methods, and values of the humanities to solve problems in the service of the public good. Fast forward to April 2020. Those conversations and our work since seem almost prescient.
Like colleagues across the University of Iowa, the country, and the world, we now find ourselves restructuring our work as well as our lives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapidly changing situation requires balancing quick action with long term thinking; traveling toward an uncertain future through the past; weaving communities together through storytelling while unravelling disinformation with incisive evidence and arguments; then persuading those communities to embrace complex, intersectional, and ethical approaches to problems by considering multiple points of view rather than clinging to self interest.
Many of us have just designed, well, not so much  online   courses  as virtual  emergency  courses. So, first, congratulations on surviving the first week. For the rest of the semester, the HPG team will shift to briefer bi-weekly newsletters in which we'll roll out resources to support you as a teacher, a scholar, and a human being. If you'd like to share useful websites, tools, assignments, and reflections, please email them with a brief description to .
Interested in being part of our planning process and our growing commitment to collaboration, community, inclusivity, intentionality, and hope? W e've extended the deadline to apply to be on the 2020-21 HPG Advisory Board until  May 1 . You'll find details down below.
The pandemic is teaching us hard lessons—including how profoundly our world needs leaders, collaborators, and problem solvers grounded in the humanities and prepared for every conceivable workplace. We hope you are well and safe and taking care of yourself and others in your worlds—large and small. We look forward to remaining socially connected even as we protect one another through physical distance.
With thanks and compassion,
Teresa Mangum, Jennifer New, Ashley Cheyemi McNeil, and Victoria Burns

The HPG Advisory Board:
On the Meaning of Humanities and the Work of Higher Education Amidst COVID-19
In the final week of March 2020, as the University of Iowa geared up to commence classes and work from home in response to the novel coronavirus, members of the Humanities for the Public Good advisory board offered some informal, of-the-moment reflections about their work as humanists during this globally anxious time. Our board members bravely shared both
professional and personal thoughts to the prompts (highlighted below in bold). To protect their honesty and vulnerability in thinking through the current tensions and opportunities in the humanities, their specific responses are anonymous; instead, we employ the page break line to indicate a transition to a different member’s response:
(Why) Do we need the humanities during a pandemic?
The humanities gives us ways to understand our current situation and connect. This is the first time many of us have experienced anything like this during our lives, but we are not the first to live through a pandemic. History, literature, philosophy, and art can help us make sense of it while thinking beyond our immediate experiences. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, they remind us that we are not alone. The behaviors required to curb the spread of the virus can ... CONTINUE READING
Online Teaching Strategies:
A Video Conversation
On March 25, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies Director Teresa Mangum interviewed Professors Lisa Heineman (History & GWSS), Lina-Maria Murillo (History & GWSS), and Brady G’Sell (Anthropology & GWSS) to discuss ways to address some of the human—as well as tech—issues of the 2020 sudden leap to online teaching. In this video, the participants share how they planned with and for their students through a humanistic lens, including inviting students to process where they are (physically and emotionally); giving students choices about how to engage with their classroom communities; and practicing flexibility in their courses.
Resources for Teaching Online
Feeling overwhelmed as you try to navigate the transition to online courses? The Graduate College has compiled an incredibly useful page of resources, including links to their recorded webinars (with topics like "Best Practices in Online Teaching" and "Helping Students Succeed in Online Environments") and a host of resources for whatever digital platforms you've chosen for your courses.
Introducing: Summer 2020 HPG Interns
The Humanities for the Public Good program welcomes our second cohort of summer interns. The interns, who earn $5,000 for their 8-weeks in the field, will work with organizations in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids corridor on specific projects that range from oral history recording and archiving to curriculum development. In addition to their time at the job site, interns meet regularly as a cohort to develop professionalizing skills and reflect on their experiences. The internships are intended as a way to help humanities and humanities-adjacent PhD students gain experiential, on-the-job learning about careers outside the academy. 

The following students have been selected for these job sites and internship positions:

  • Kassie Baron (English) – UI Labor Center, Women in Trades Network Researcher and Outreach
  • Dellyssa Edinboro (Ed Leadership & Policy) – Public Space One, Center for Afrofuturist Studies Partnership & Program Development
  • Michael Goldberg (Teaching & Learning) – UI Labor Center, Iowa Labor History Oral Project Assistant
  • Laura Hayes (English) – National Czech & Slovak Museum, Education Associate
  • Matthew Helm (English) – Iowa Valley Resource Development & Conservation, Rural Communities Culture & Culinary Traditions
  • Jennifer Miller (Language, Literacy, & Culture) – African American Museum of Iowa, Exhibit Oral History and Community
  • Cody Norling (Music) – Hancher, Community Engagement
  • Jonathan Lack (Cinematic Arts) – Iowa Valley Resource Development & Conservation, Storytelling and the Food System
  • Emily Wieder (French & Italian) – Hancher, Audience Development and Student Engagement
Remote CV to Résumé Workshop:
Sign Up Now!

Our next HPG graduate student workshop is moving online! Join us on Thursday, April 16th, from 12:00-1:30PM CST for a Zoom workshop on transforming your CV into a résumé. Learn tips and tricks for creating and perfecting a crucial job application document. Led by the Graduate College's Jen Teitle and Brady Krien, this virtual workshop will equip you for success wherever your job search takes you.
HPG Advisory Board Applications:
Deadline Extended
The HPG Advisory Committee will serve as a kind of humanities lab, actively and collaboratively developing a cross-disciplinary humanities Ph.D. The committee will work with the P.I. and postdoctoral fellows in small working groups to conduct research into diverse career initiatives at other universities, study critiques of humanities graduate education, envision possible structures and partnerships for cross-disciplinary humanities collaborations, attend HPG events, and consult with UI alumni and other graduates of PhD programs in a range of careers. The group will also provide feedback for plans and proposals each year. Advisory Board members each receive a $3,000 stipend for their commitment. 

To accommodate the shifting terrain that the novel coronavirus presents, the application due date has been extended to May 1, 2020.
Thinking About Your Research
Data gathered from the March 2020 newsletter poll.
As classes have moved online, what category of resources do you think your students most need?
Technology (internet, computer, etc.)
Hospitable space to perform academic work
Guidance and support for mental and emotional stability
Support that the university/instructors aren't capable of offering
In these weeks since COVID-19 has been marked as a pandemic, has your anxiety:
1: Decreased
2: Stayed the same
3: Increased slightly
4: Increased moderately
5: Increased dramatically
 Have an extra 5 minutes? Read this.
 Have an extra 13 minutes? Read this.

Living the Humanities Values in the Time of COVID-19:
Community : Reimagined Little Free Libraries
Some people are creatively repurposing Little Free Libraries to provide both reading materials and pantry items. From toilet paper to canned goods, people are sharing supplies with their communities. If you have a Little Free Library and are looking for ways to support your neighbors, this is a low-cost, minimal effort, and impactful way to do so.
Learning :
Digital Museum Exhibits
Google Cultural Institute offers access to exhibits at famous museums around the world. You can read details about individual pieces and even view pieces within the galleries via Google "street view." Travel the globe without leaving your living room, and discover your new favorite works of art in the process.
Empathy : Donate Blood
The Coronavirus has dramatically reduced blood centers' supplies of donated blood, in part because of cancelled blood drives. However, independently donating blood is still a safe way to save lives and an excuse to get out of the house for a good cause. Visit the link below to identify your nearest blood bank, and sign up to donate today.

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