University of San Diego has opened a centrally located Humanities Center; Unique Center will focus on undergraduate student and faculty engagement

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Unique Center will focus on undergraduate student and faculty engagement

SAN DIEGO –  Preparing students for purposeful lives and successful careers, the University of San Diego has opened a centrally located Humanities Center. The Humanities Center provides a space for the campus and the San Diego community to study and explore the human condition and the limitless ways human beings understand and interact with the world.

Noelle Norton, dean of USD’s College of Arts and Sciences, who led the campaign for the Center, says “We believe an understanding of history, art, philosophy, literature and language, is relevant for all citizens. In order to make reasonable, ethical and informed life choices as individuals and members of local and global communities, we need to think broadly and inclusively about our place in the universe. Our plan is to help our students connect the liberal arts: past, present and future.”

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Brian Clack, PhD, has been appointed director of the Humanities Center. Clack says, “Our Humanities Center will have four primary thrusts: collaborative research; digital humanities; interdisciplinary curriculum development; and public humanities. Our Center will offer unique opportunities for engagement between faculty and undergraduate students, and will welcome members of the San Diego community to become involved and engaged with our Center.”

In the months ahead, the Humanities Center will launch new programs that inspire the study and integration of the humanities. Two programs that are already underway focus on veterans and palliative care. The Philosophy for Veterans program, for example, is a unique partnership between USD and the Travis Manion Foundation that resurrects the notion that philosophy is “medicine for the soul,” a conception that opens up philosophical investigation to every person, and shows it to be especially valuable to those who have experienced life’s more turbulent and troubling phenomena.  The program opens concepts of philosophy to every person and investigates notions such as: the scope and nature of belief and knowledge; the character of ethics and of moral responsibility; and the very possibility of a purposeful and happy life. Participating veterans receive will participate in a semester long seminar free of charge.

“The humanities, as we’re focusing on them, is holistic,” says Clack. “This center will allow students to experience firsthand the many ways their studies can affect people – and the strange, sad, beautiful and wondrous experience of being human. Our Center will bring together what students are learning in various disciplines in a unified and integrated way.”

Through the Center’s Digital Humanities initiative, faculty and students will collaborate to blend technology and rigorous humanities scholarship to generate and record new knowledge that will enhance understanding of all forms of human thought for generations to come.

The Center’s focus on developing new interdisciplinary curriculum will ensure the Center’s academic partners engage faculty from across disciplines. Exploring intractable challenges, such as sustainability and social entrepreneurship, from integrated academic disciplines will better prepare USD students to address societal challenges post-graduation.

The San Diego community will have several opportunities to become involved with the Humanities Center throughout the academic year. Last year, the College of Arts and Sciences launched the Illume Speaker Series, a series of public events which invites distinguished thought leaders whose work focuses on humanistic study to speak to the broader San Diego community. The 2016 – 2017 schedule of Illume Speaker Series events can be found by clicking here.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning committed to teaching the liberal arts and preparing students to be ethical leaders and compassionate citizens. Chartered in 1949, the university enrolls approximately 8,300 undergraduate and graduate full-time equivalent students. The University of San Diego has a long history of public service and is one of only 36 universities in the world recognized as a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka, the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. The university’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD launched Leading Change, the $300 million Campaign for USD earlier this year.


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