Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Albany State Gets NEH Grant for Museum, Heritage Studies Program

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Albany State Gets NEH Grant for Museum, Heritage Studies Program

Article excerpt

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Albany State University approximately $99,000 to assist with establishing an interdisciplinary museum and heritage studies minor.

Dr. Charles Williams, ASU professor of visual arts in the College of Arts and Humanities, leads the project. He envisions the minor as a 15-credit-hour path that includes internships and one cross-disciplinary course such as business, education, history or computer science.

He describes the program development as a group effort.

"As director of the grant, I am organizing cross-training seminars that will include faculty who want to contribute by developing curriculum or offering their expertise, and local cultural organizations who will provide input into how such a program can suit their needs; said Williams, who also serves as gallery director for the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and on the board of trustees at the Albany Museum of Art.

The seminars will also include guest participants who work in museums and museum-related fields, he said.

The NEH Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities aim to advance the teaching and study of humanities in areas such as literature, history and philosophy at HBCUs.

The seminars will be professional-development opportunities. ASU educators will assess the needs of the cultural organizations and train to develop relevant coursework. Anticipated partnerships include the Albany Civil Rights Institute, the Albany Museum of Art, Thronateeska Heritage Center, the Albany Area Arts Council and the Flint RiverQuarium.

Each seminar will consist of a presentation by the director of the facility, a tour, a presentation by the guest participants and an interactive work session.

"That's a tremendous amount of entities," said W Frank Wilson, executive director of the Albany Civil Rights Institute.

He said the entities collectively serve a 26-county area.

"We have some small and poor counties," said Wilson. "This program will enlighten and raise the horizons of children in the area and serve as a recruiting tool for Albany State University. Areas like this normally don't have that outlet."

Wilson said he expects the partnership to be a tremendous benefit to the local community and beyond.

"It raises the level of attention to what we have here in Albany. Citizens will be able to recognize the value of having this tourist attraction, and it helps students appreciate being in a community where there are diverse programs. …

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