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Humanities for Our Future Panel Discussion in Annenberg Forum

by Aimee Mepham, Program Coordinator, WFU Humanities Institute

On Thursday, September 11, 2014, educators (K-12, higher ed, public and private) and leaders of cultural institutions from across the Piedmont and Western North Carolina gathered together for Humanities for Our Future: Envisioning the Heart of Humanities Education in Annenberg Forum, Carswell Hall on the Wake Forest University Campus.

From left: Michele Gillespie, Beverly Emory, Rogan Kersh, Corey Walker, Paula Watkins.

From left: Michele Gillespie, Beverly Emory, Rogan Kersh, Corey Walker, Paula Watkins.

The panel discussion and open dialogue addressed the future of humanities education, inspired by The Heart of the Matter, the 2013 report of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Commission on the Humanities & Social Sciences.

Panelists included Superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Schools, Beverly Emory; WFU Presidential Endowed Professor of Southern History, Michele Gillespie; WSSU Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and John W. and Anna Hodgin Hanes Professor of the Humanities, Corey Walker; and North Carolina Humanities Council Executive Director, Paula Watkins. WFU Provost and Professor of Politics & International Affairs, Rogan Kersh, acted as moderator. Provost Kersh solicited the panelists’ views on the tension surrounding curricula changes and funding cuts in humanities programs and departments, effective ways to promote and talk about the value of the humanities, and their vision for the future of humanities education.

NC Humanities Council Executive Director, Paula Watkins.

NC Humanities Council Executive Director, Paula Watkins.

Around 150 people were in attendance, and about 80 people stayed for the working dinner and table topic discussions in the Magnolia Room in Reynolda Hall. The topics represented and discussed were: Exploring Community & Humanities Education Partnerships; The Future of the Humanities in K-12 Curriculum; The Future of the Humanities in Higher Education; Exploring University Library & K-12 Collaborations in the Humanities; Exploring Collaborations in the Humanities Across Universities; The Role of Public Humanities; Humanities Education in a Digital and Multi-Media Age; Advocating for the Humanities; and The Humanities in Global Context. 

The Humanities Institute plans to facilitate further dialogue and possible collaboration on these important topics.

Listen to a recording of the panel discussion below: