May 23, 2024

Collaborative Humanities Grant Expands AI Initiatives at UMW

The University of Mary Washington is part of a $25,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant aimed at helping public colleges and universities navigate the world of artificial intelligence.

The project, “Developing a Public Liberal Arts Humanities Curriculum: Empowering Students to Navigate an AI World,” is led by five public liberal arts institutions representing distinct regions of the country. Collaboratively, faculty from each school will develop classes, units or short modules in humanities courses focused on the positive and negative aspects of generative AI.

The funding was awarded to Miriam Wallace, dean of the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and Emily Todd, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Connecticut University, through a partnership with the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).

The grant will support collaborative curricular design by humanities faculty at UIS, Eastern Connecticut State University, the University of Mary Washington, Northern State University and Evergreen State College. Participants will form learning communities and share progress first on their own campuses, and then meet in the summer of 2025 to share insights and experiences during a COPLAC workshop at Innovate Springfield, UIS’ business incubator in downtown Springfield.

As part of the grant, the institutions will also create open-access AI teaching resources, such as syllabus modules, readings, activities and assignments for all COPLAC institutions to utilize. UMW’s Center for Teaching, directed by Victoria Russell, associate professor in the College of Education, will lead the effort at UMW.