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Montgomery College Awarded $490,000 NEH Challenge Grant

College Will Match Gift Two-To-One to Launch New Institute for Global Humanities Initiatives and International Education Programming

Montgomery College is one of six community colleges nationwide to be awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant for Two-Year Colleges. As part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, NEH has awarded the College $490,000 to launch an Institute for Global Humanities Initiatives (IGHI) and a series of related international education programming. As a part of the grant, the College will match two-to-one for a total of $1.49 million in funds required for the new NEH Challenge Grant from individual, corporate and foundation gifts over the next six years. With the IGHI, Montgomery College will be able to strengthen its long-term humanities programs and resources, and strengthen the role of the humanities at the College.

The Institute for Global Humanities Initiatives will place Montgomery College at the forefront of global humanities initiatives nationally. Under the leadership of Dr. Rita Kranidis, professor of English at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus, and with the assistance of key faculty and staff from across the College, the IGHI will create model humanities curricula through a strategically-designed faculty development program in internationalizing the humanities.

The globalized curricula will serve as national models, enhancing students’ cultural awareness, global understanding, and intercultural competencies.

Among the planned curricula are learning communities, a new introductory foundation course in the humanities with a global focus, and expanded humanities course offerings responding to the NEH Bridging Cultures theme. In addition, the Institute will sponsor three humanities seminars abroad to China, India, and El Salvador to increase the intercultural understanding of the faculty, administrators, and staff who participate. The humanities seminars abroad will support and expand current initiatives with China and India, and enable the College to build on Montgomery County’s Sister City partnership with the State of Morazan in El Salvador. These seminars abroad will result in expanded opportunities abroad for faculty with regard to joint research, teaching, and exchange.

The NEH Challenge Grant will further provide funds for the acquisition of instructional software to support the study of world languages and cultures, the creation of a Bridging Cultures website and database of resources, and the addition of Hindi I and II to the College’s world language course offerings. As part of the grant, the College will host colloquia to demonstrate progress to date. Grant funds will also enable the College to send faculty and staff to national humanities conferences to share, model, and showcase examples of the curricula created as a result of the grant, ensuring that the College is able to share and disseminate its model curricula.

The College’s NEH Challenge Grant proposal was developed collaboratively, with input from the following faculty and staff who served as the core members of the NEH Challenge Grant Workgroup: Brenda Braham, Professor Marcia Bronstein, Dr. Christina Devlin, Dr. Maria Donahue, Dr. Sharon Fechter, Dr. Amy Gumaer, Professor Shelley Jones, Dr. Rita Kranidis, Dr. Greg Malveaux, Dr. Timothy McWhirter, Professor Sharyn Neuwirth, and Laura White. The College received its last NEH Challenge Grant award in 1998, to create the Paul Peck Humanities Institute, named in honor of the philanthropist who provided the largest single gift to meet the challenge grant at $400,000.

For additional information about the grant and the IGHI, please contact Dr. Rita Kranidis, professor of English and project director for the NEH Challenge Grant, at 240-567-1617 or or Dr. Amy Gumaer, grants manager, at 240-567-4201 or

For information about how to contribute to the Institute for Global Humanities Initiatives, please contact Rose Garvin Aquilino, interim director of development, Montgomery College at 240-567-4249 or

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