SPCC selected for humanities project

MONROE — South Piedmont Community College has been selected to participate in the Community College Humanities Association’s “Advancing Humanities: A National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures Project.”

SPCC was one of 18 community colleges, and the only one from North Carolina, selected from among 70 applications from 30 states.

The purpose of the project is to advance cultural and civic understanding in introductory humanities courses. The 18 colleges will receive day-to-day guidance from humanities scholars and experienced community college humanities mentors as they strengthen their curriculums and engage in faculty development and scholarship in one of five disciplines: literature, history, philosophy, religion or civic engagement.

SPCC will participate in literature. Its three-person team will consist of Dean of Arts and Sciences Valerie Jones and English instructors Sherri Breitigan and Tammy Frailly.

The project will pay travel expenses for two of the team members to attend the National Bridging Cultures Conference on Sept. 27 to 29 in Washington, D.C., and for one to attend the same conference in December 2013 at a location yet to be determined. The project will provide stipends for Breitigan and Frailly to pursue project tasks and independent scholarship to strengthen preparation and enrich their teaching.

At the conference in September, SPCC’s team will work with mentors and scholars there to begin developing a plan to advance cultural understanding toward building a community and begin developing an action plan for implementation during the project’s 18-month period.

The impetus for SPCC to apply for the program was a course that will be new at SPCC next spring. English 262, World Literature II, will introduce selected works from the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas from the 18th century to the present. Many of these are works SPCC instructors have not taught before and the college wanted to ensure faculty could help its students – many of whom have had little exposure to diverse religions, socioeconomic classes and ethnicities – gain an appreciation for the importance of intercultural understanding. This also will benefit many of these students who later transfer to four-year universities and move farther out of their comfort zones.

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