The Recorder – GCC receives grant to ‘revitalize’ humanities education

Posted: 11/17/2021 16:13:55 PM

GREENFIELD – Greenfield Community College recently received $ 194,212 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support its project, Strengthening the Humanities in Rural Western Massachusetts.

The award is part of NEH’s Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) program, supported by an additional $ 135 million in funding allocated to NEH by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). GCC was one of nearly 300 cultural and educational institutions to receive funding, intended to help recover from the economic impact of the pandemic; retain and rehire workers; and reopen sites, facilities and programs.

“The grant will help revitalize the humanities as a CCG,” said Acting Humanities Dean Matthew Barlow. “It gives us the opportunity to increase technology in the classroom and… to have more innovative offerings that meet the needs of the community. This allows us to take the advantage.

Barlow explained that Strengthening the Humanities in Rural Western Massachusetts is an internal project that aims to advance the humanities division, in part by developing and further expanding the humanities portion of its general education requirements.

“For example,” he said, “we are developing Spanish courses for the health professions”.

This course, said Barlow, could be taken by students or practicing doctors, nurses, paramedics or firefighters.

“This is the part of this grant that excites me the most,” he said.

According to a press release from the GCC, the goal of the project is to help recover jobs lost during the pandemic and to strengthen student enrollments by strengthening the role of the humanities in helping GCC students achieve their goals, whether it’s getting a degree, moving on to a four-year college program and / or entering the workforce.

Acting NEH President Adam Wolfson said in the statement that the American Rescue Plan Act recognizes that the cultural and educational sectors are essential parts of the economy and civic life of the United States, and are essential to the health and resilience of American communities.

“These new grants will provide a lifeline for colleges and universities, museums, libraries, archives, historic sites and societies across the country; save thousands of jobs in the human sciences threatened by the pandemic; and help bring economic recovery to cultural and educational institutions and those they serve.

Barlow said it was exciting for GCC to be recognized nationally.

“It’s exciting for us to be noticed for the work we do and the work we intend to do,” he said. “This is a testament to the incredible dynamism of the humanities at GCC and the hard work of the humanities professors. ”

In support of the project, GCC will reach out to regional industry partners to determine which humanities skill sets are most needed in the job market, and integrate them into all humanities courses, the statement said. This will include courses that meet the requirements of the General Education Diploma, to ensure that all students benefit, regardless of their study program.

“I think the project will rejuvenate the humanities,” Barlow said. “It level the playing field for us. “

Journalist Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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