Texas Woman’s faculty ready to ‘go global’ with national grant
Jan. 24, 2018 – DENTON – As part of an initiative to support and enrich humanities education and scholarship at minority-serving institutions, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently awarded two Texas Woman’s University faculty members a grant to incorporate global perspectives and experiential learning into the university’s undergraduate humanities courses. This highly competitive grant, totaling $99,803, is the first of its kind to be awarded to TWU.
Gretchen Busl, Ph.D., and Ashley Bender, Ph.D., both assistant professors in the TWU Department of English, Speech and Foreign Languages, will serve as co-directors of the “Building Global Perspectives” project. Over two years, they will increase the number of globally-focused humanities courses offered at TWU while strengthening the university’s existing global studies minor, with the ultimate goal of creating a global studies major.
“At TWU, we recognize that living in a global society requires understanding of the complexity and interdependency of world events and issues,” said Busl. “We look forward to developing programming that exposes students to the unique position the humanities have to inform all aspects of a global education.”
Going global without going abroad
A primary goal of the “Building Global Perspectives” initiative is to provide international experiences to students who cannot study abroad, usually because of family/work obligations or lack of resources.
“We will encourage our students to partner with international entities across North Texas, where they will earn valuable hands-on educational and service experience,” said Bender. “Our close proximity to one of the nation’s largest cultural hubs—the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex—provides our Denton students direct access to a diverse community of cultural institutes, museums, organizations and businesses.”
According to Bender, experiential learning provides a measurable, positive impact on minority student success, including increased graduation rates and workforce preparedness. TWU is home to a large population of first-generation, minority and nontraditional students.
This new program will work in conjunction with TWU’s existing Global Connections Initiative, a biannual lecture series that hosts nationally and internationally recognized speakers for lectures, reading discussions and student seminars related to topical and international themes. Busl and Bender also will partner with the university’s Quality Enhancement Program, “Pioneering Pathways: Learn by Doing,” a five year plan designed to enhance student learning through student engagement in experiential learning, and the Center for Faculty Excellence.
About Texas Woman’s University
Texas Woman’s University is the nation’s largest public university primarily for women, with almost 16,000 students at its three locations in Denton, Dallas and Houston. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university in the nation’s top 10 for diversity. TWU is a Hispanic-serving institution, as determined by the U.S. Department of Education.
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: www.neh.gov.