DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > First cohort of student fellows joins DePaul's HumanitiesX Collaborative
By College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences /
March 4, 2022 /
Posted in: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY /
How can we honor the stories and raise the voices of immigrant communities in Chicago? That is the question six DePaul students plan to help their peers address this spring quarter as part of DePaul's Experiential Humanities Collaborative, also known as HumanitiesX.
In January, six students joined six Faculty Fellows from across the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and leaders from Chicago-area community organizations to create three interdisciplinary courses for HumanitiesX. As part of this innovative initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the courses will transcend the traditional boundaries of the classroom to harness the potential of the humanities to tackle some of the most pressing social issues of our times.
Selected from a pool of well-qualified applicants, the Student Fellows are spending the winter quarter collaborating with LAS faculty and the community partners—Midwest Human Rights Consortium, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and the Japanese Arts Foundation—to create and support this new suite of courses.
Created and deployed by teams of two LAS faculty in different disciplines and a representative from a community organization, each class is designed to make students engage with and respond to the needs of the organizational partners and the communities they serve. Each course will publicly showcase a class project at the end of the spring term.
“At first we were a bit nervous to collaborate with faculty and advocates from nonprofit organizations," says Sergio Godinez, a student fellow majoring in political science and American studies, and minoring in Spanish. “Stepping into the realm of course creation was intimidating. We soon realized we each brought our own set of experiences, ideas and passions to the project. We were called on to contribute a powerful mosaic of information that we had learned not only in the classroom, but in our own lives."
HumanitiesX is part of the burgeoning national movement dubbed public humanities and with it, DePaul extends and amplifies its long history of project-based community-engaged learning.
“By structuring the collaborative to include community organization leaders as fellows alongside faculty, the college will develop a new type of academic-practitioner model for these kinds of collaborations that can be shared with other universities," says Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco, dean of the college. “This approach is consistent with DePaul's foundational belief that it is embedded in the community it serves. We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for its support of this initiative, which will exemplify the role the humanities and an urban university can play in developing innovative solutions to pressing social problems."
Students can get involved by applying to be a HumanitiesX Fellow in the 2022-23 cohort, with the theme “The Environment: Crisis and Action." Alumni who work at nonprofit organizations focused on environmental issues are encouraged to contact the newly hired HumanitiesX Coordinator Deborah Siegel-Acevedo. Full-time LAS faculty who already teach about environmental issues, as well as those excited to explore this subject area, can meet with Lisa Dush, the collaborative's director and an associate professor of writing, rhetoric and discourse, to brainstorm their proposals for future HumanitiesX courses.