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April 30, 2015

2015-16: Year of the Humanities at Pitt

Provost Patricia E. Beeson has designated 2015-16 the Year of the Humanities at Pitt in order to highlight the importance of humanistic thinking not only in the humanities departments, but in research and education University-wide.

The provost is making available $100,000 in matching funds in support of programs and events that highlight the role of humanistic thinking across the University. Faculty, staff and students are invited to apply for matching funds of up to $5,000 in support of events or programs that bring together multiple schools or units and that fit the overarching theme of “Being Human.”

The Year of the Humanities organizing committee has developed a number of questions that could be addressed in alignment with the theme:

• How can studying the arts and humanities improve creativity and innovation in other fields?

• Many disciplines study aspects of being human. What aspects do they focus on? What do they have to say to one another?

• Some disciplines study worlds other than the human. How do their inquiries engage in/with humanistic thinking?

• How do the professions understand being human? What can the various professional schools learn from the humanities? What can the humanities learn from the professions?

• How can the values, methods and opportunities of the humanities be made visible, legible and exciting to Pitt undergraduates, the Pittsburgh community and the wider public?

• What are the most urgent questions now for human beings/being human and how are the disciplines and professions at Pitt addressing them? How could they collaborate more fruitfully?

Funding requests are being accepted on a rolling basis via a call for proposals posted on the Humanities Center website at

Members of the organizing committee are: Don Bialostosky and Jonathan Arac, English; Geri Allen, music; Randall Halle, German; Arthur Kosowsky, physics and astronomy; Scott Morgenstern, political science, and Terry Smith, history of art and architecture, all in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Also, Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Swanson School of Engineering; John Camillus, Katz Graduate School of Business; Vivian Curran, School of Law; Maggie McDonald, School of Medicine; Susan Meyer, School of Pharmacy; Angela Miller-McGraw, Office of Student Affairs; Lisa Parker, Graduate School of Public Health, and Alberta Sbragia, vice provost for graduate studies.

The provost declared academic year 2014-15 the Year of Sustainability at Pitt, with programming focused on sustainable practices and on sustainability as a focus of research and education. (See Sept. 11, 2014, University Times.)