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“Nationals October 2019

AACC and St. John’s College to forge partnership thanks to grant from NEH

| February 09, 2020, 10:41 AM

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $100,000 grant to Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) and St. John’s College. The prestigious award will fund a partnership between the two schools for “Bridge to the Liberal Arts through Primary Source Texts (BLAST),” which will incorporate the study of primary sources into community college courses and establish transfer pathways for students.

Through BLAST, the two colleges will partner to incorporate a Great Books curriculum in chosen English, philosophy and history courses at AACC. All readings will relate to equity, inclusivity and diversity.

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“Part of our goal is to broaden opportunities for AACC students,” said Alicia Morse, Ph.D., dean of the AACC School of Liberal Arts. “St. John’s has just been an amazing partner; they’re so open to the value of this partnership for students in general. Students only have something to gain by exposure to great books.”

Starting this summer, AACC faculty will attend a two-week seminar by St. John’s faculty to learn through their own hands-on experience and readings how to integrate the books into their own teaching. The outcomes and education requirements of the courses will remain the same.

“St. John’s is delighted to be working with AACC,” said Emily Brooker Langston, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate programs at St. John’s College. “Broadening our discussions to include more interaction with others outside of our own immediate communities re-energizes our thinking by exposing us to new perspectives and opening us to questions these classic texts raise for readers coming from a variety of different life-experiences.”

Though the grant is for three years, organizers expect the program will take off beyond the initial timetable. Eventually the two schools anticipate instituting a discount or scholarship for AACC students continuing their studies at St. Johns.

The partnership was one of 188 projects nationwide chosen for the $30.9 million from the independent federal agency created in 1965. NEH is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

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