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Montgomery College Launches Global Humanities Institute

Institute funded with grants from National Endowment for the Humanities and Webber Family Foundation

Montgomery College is launching a new Global Humanities Institute (GHI) that will both strengthen its existing long-term humanities programs and resources, and impact the development of global humanities initiatives at colleges and universities nationally. As an interdisciplinary program, the institute will enable Montgomery College faculty to develop new curricula; participate in humanities seminars abroad in China, India, and El Salvador; and share best practices and model curricula with other academic professionals nationwide. Global humanities seminars and lectures will also be offered to the College community and general public. The GHI will prepare students to participate in Montgomery County’s increasingly diverse community and global economy.

The institute is funded by a prestigious $490,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the Special Initiative for Two-Year Colleges—the largest grant awarded in 2012 for the initiative. Montgomery College now embarks on a six-year, $1 million campaign to meet the two-for-one challenge.

The Webber Family Foundation made the first lead gift for the challenge, and $100,000 of a three-year $150,000 grant is designated for the Global Humanities Institute. The foundation is a long-time supporter of Montgomery College, and has provided $680,000 since 2000 for a number of important college initiatives including scholarships and arts programming. Webber Family Foundation board member Erica Webber also serves on the Montgomery College Foundation Board.

The Global Humanities Institute is administered by one of Montgomery College’s most distinguished faculty members, Dr. Rita Kranidis. Kranidis holds a PhD in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook with a concentration in Victorian literature. She has extensive teaching experience and has spearheaded national award-winning initiatives such as the College’s Writing in the Disciplines Program, which received a program-of-the-year award from the Teaching English in the Two-Year College affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English. Kranidis is also the recent recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship.

“Providing faculty with greater cross-cultural competencies and giving them the tools they need to translate that knowledge into high-impact curricula will ultimately empower our students to communicate more effectively, demonstrate improved critical thinking skills, and navigate more effectively in an increasingly complex world,” said Kranidis. “The Global Humanities Institute will leave a lasting legacy of innovation in teaching and learning.”

For more information about the Global Humanities Institute, contact Dr. Rita Kranidis at 240-567-1617. For additional information about the NEH Challenge Grant, contact Carol Rognrud, executive director of the Montgomery College Foundation, at 240-567-7493.

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