The National Humanities Center has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a new project training educators with military backgrounds to use literature to improve their students’ and communities’ understanding of the experience of veterans and their families. The grant, totaling $99,862, will help fund a weeklong institute (June 17–21, 2019) at the Center for thirty educators from communities in North Carolina and Virginia. The participants will work with literary scholars during the institute to devise educational programs for their classrooms and communities to be implemented over the course of the following year.
This project, titled “Troops to Teachers: Helping Classrooms and Communities Understand the Military Experience,” will be directed by Andy Mink, vice president for education programs at the National Humanities Center, and Hilary Lithgow from the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“It’s not surprising that you find many veterans moving into the classroom after their military service,” says Mink. “Teaching is often fueled by a sense of civic-mindedness and educators and veterans tend to be individuals whose professional calling and personal experiences are deeply intertwined.”
The “Troops to Teachers” project is designed to help those teachers who have military experience translate that experience for their students and their communities by drawing on a rich collection of literary resources that help readers develop a more nuanced understanding of the values most commonly associated with military service—loyalty, duty, patriotism—and to reflect on the distinctive challenges facing veterans and their families, including reuniting with loved ones and reintegration into civilian life. Drawing on their own experiences of military life as well as the pedagogical methods and materials gained from the institute, teachers in the institute will work with the project team throughout the coming year as they conceive and lead meaningful initiatives in their communities and schools.
The grant supporting NHC’s “Troops to Teachers” project was one of nine awards totaling $827,712 recently made by the National Endowment for the Humanities as a part of its initiative “Dialogues on the Experience of War” which supports the study and discussion of important humanities sources about war and military service.
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About the National Humanities Center
The National Humanities Center is the world’s only independent institute dedicated exclusively to advanced study in all areas of the humanities. Through its residential fellowship program, the Center provides scholars with the resources necessary to generate new knowledge and to further understanding of all forms of cultural expression, social interaction, and human thought. Through its education programs, the Center strengthens teaching on the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels. Through public engagement intimately linked to its scholarly and educational programs, the Center promotes understanding of the humanities and advocates for their foundational role in a democratic society.