Working Groups

Working Groups

Working groups offer conference participants the opportunity to more deeply explore an area of shared interest and involve both pre- and post- conference participation by group members, as well as time at the conference to meet to advance their project. This year’s working group topics include: K-12 Education, Indigenous Connections, Support for Public History Projects, and Humanities Graduate Programs.

Click the below tabs to view each of the four different working groups offered at this year’s conference.

K-12 Education

Indigenous Connections

Public History Projects

Humanities Graduate Programs

K-12 Education – (Salon 2)

NEH Chairman William Adams has called for deeper engagement with humanities in K-12 schools. The state humanities councils are perfectly positioned to meet this challenge. This session will survey the extensive work councils are doing, ask participants to dream big, and chart a path forward for state councils.

Prior to the conference, working group organizers will share three documents with attendees: 1) results of a survey of K-12 work currently being done by councils; 2) a plan for getting humanities programs off the ground in schools; and 3) an overview of Minnesota Humanities Center initiative to advance the humanities as a means to transform education.

At the conference, working group participants will break into discussion tables focused on programming options (e.g. teacher workshops, after-school programs, etc.); getting humanities programs off the ground; and approaching humanities education reform through policy and advocacy strategies. The working group will conclude with a report out from each table.

Organizers will arrange for a follow-up conference call to begin crafting two documents: a plan for securing support for this work through national funders and a compilation of documents and websites summarizing strategies and proven practices in humanities education, demonstrating how the humanities provide a unique and powerful resource for education reform.

William Adams, NEH;
Carol Peters, NEH;
Julie Ziegler, Humanities Washington, Federation Board;
Jean Cheney, Utah Humanities

Moderator: Ken Egan, Humanities Montana, Federation Board

Indigenous Connections Action Group: Reenergizing the Public Humanities with Native Communities – (Salon 3)

Following up on sessions in 2012 and 2013, and responding to the 2015 discussion on Indigenous Humanities, this concept-focused meeting will bring humanities professionals together in a deliberative work session to establish a network of people and resources to “take stock” and address ways in which humanities organizations have engaged with native communities in our states/territories, and the partnerships critical to this work.

Participants will create a mission statement, determine goals and objectives, and develop an assessment instrument to identify experts, best practices and programs, challenges, and support. This action group will continue to collaborate to revisit these important questions:

1. What are our responsibilities to engage native people?
2. What partnerships need to be cultivated in order to effectively and respectfully explore these issues?
3. What are the necessary resources – financial, programmatic, community – to carry out this work?
4. How do we assess their impact?
5. What are the local challenges and global implications of this work?

This collective will provide insight and access to anyone desiring to work with native communities. This unique session will invite indigenous scholars and/or humanities staff from different councils, and will be co-facilitated by members of Humanities Guahan and the Alaska Humanities Forum.

Monaeka Flores, Humanities Guahan;
Ernestine Hayes, Alaska Humanities Forum

Moderator: Kimberlee Kihleng, Humanities Guahan

Building Capacity to Challenge the Exclusive Past: Relevancy, Inclusion, and Diversity – (Canyon A)

Granting organizations and professional associations that support public history projects are in a unique position to make the field more inclusive by directing resources and initiatives toward relevancy, inclusion, and diversity. A 2016 NCPH Working Group of state humanities councils, the NEH, and other granting organizations and professional associations have drafted best principles that can help public historians guide collaborations and model effective partnerships that build the capacity of grassroots groups and community organizations to explore and use their histories in meaningful ways.

In this working group, we will continue to address this challenge through the lens of relevancy, inclusion, and diversity.

Leondra Burchall, NEH;
Joseph Cialdella, Michigan Humanities Council;
Jesse Johnston, NEH

Moderator: Meg McReynolds, NEH

Humanities Graduate Programs and Next Gen Collaborations Across the Academic and Public Humanities – (Canyon B)

New approaches to graduate studies in the humanities are rooted in collaborations among universities; state humanities councils; cultural institutions; civic organizations; and nonprofit, business, and technology sectors. This round table gathers representatives of projects that envision graduate education and postdoctoral training as preparation for diverse careers, whilst creating reciprocal partnerships among councils, universities, and other organizations. Discussion of these partnerships among participants will yield recommendations and best practices to better meld the academic and public humanities.

A subset of the group will follow up by drafting a white paper to share with the Federation, the NHA, the participants, and others interested in graduate humanities education.

Teresa Mangum, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, University of Iowa;
Mona Frederick, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Vanderbilt University

1. Sara Guyer, Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison;
2. Keira Amstutz, Indiana Humanities;
3. Leah Nahmias, Indiana Humanities;
4. John Paul Christy, American Council of Learned Societies
5. Matthew Countryman, Associate Professor, American Studies: Director, Arts of Citizenship, University of Michigan;
6. Mona Frederick, Executive Director, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, P.I., Mellon Partners for Humanities Education;
7. Christa Williford, Director of Research and Assessment, Council on Library and Information Resources; Director, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship;
8. Bruce Burgett, Professor and Dean, School of Interdisciplinary Arts, University of Washington-Bothell; Board Director, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life;
9. Miriam Barta, Director, Graduate Programs, University of Washington-Bothell; Co-Director, Public Humanities Certificate, University of Washington-Seattle;
10. Jonathan Elmer, Professor, English; Director, College Arts and Humanities Center, Indiana University; Artistic Director, Chicago Humanities Festival;
11. Antoinette Burton, Professor, History; Director, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities; Director, Humanities Without Walls Mellon Consortium (15 universities, which together oversee the Humanities Without Walls Alternative Academic Career Summer Workshop);
12. Stacey M. Hartman, Coordinator, Connected Academics Project, Modern Language Association
13. Nicky Agate, Coordinator, Connected Academics Project, Modern Language Association