New Humanities Site Showcases Wellesley’s Humanities’ Riches

October 15, 2015
Photos in ciricular frames of figures studied in Wellesley humanities courses

In August, the College announced a new, focused effort to spread the word—on campus and beyond—about the crucial place of the Humanities in a liberal arts education. Today, Wellesley launches a new website that, for the first time, offers a single space where Wellesley's humanities’ riches are easily accessible.

"There's something here for everyone: students, faculty, staff, alumnae. You can learn about innovative humanities courses and student blogs, read profiles of humanities faculty, see concrete examples of what our graduates do after leaving Wellesley, find a simple calendar of on-campus humanities events, and much more," said Thomas Hodge, professor of Russian and faculty building director of Founders Hall and Green Hall where the majority of Humanities courses are taught.  

Through the humanities initiative, Wellesley is exploring contemporary ways of thinking about and defining liberal arts for a new generation. "Thanks to the excellent ideas of faculty and staff—and crucial support from the Provost's Office—the pro-humanities initiative is gaining momentum," Hodge said.

According to Hodge, humanities faculty are connecting with colleagues in the science and social sciences over the initiative, and with each other. Additionally, in the few short months since this effort launched, the Office of Admission and Financial Aid has added a Humanities Liaison, and changes to the course browser mean it now offers a much richer opportunity to explore the curriculum. Events are also taking shape: Thomas Nolden, professor of German, is launching a series of humanities faculty talks later this month.

Skills learned through the humanities, including disciplined thinking, refined judgment, creative synthesis, and collaborative dynamic, are hallmarks of a Wellesley education. They are also habits of mind that serve students throughout their lives and careers and directly contribute to student success, no matter what her eventual major. The website gives students (and other visitors) the freedom to explore Wellesley’s humanities offerings in a central place.

"The main thrust of my efforts in coordinating the humanities this year is freedom: the freedom of our students to choose the course of study that genuinely reflects their intellectual inclinations, and the freedom of faculty to teach in a way that most closely embodies their pedagogical ideals," said Hodge. "These are tall orders, but creatively tackling such issues is what the humanities should be all about."

Visit the website and explore the humanities at Wellesley for yourself. Suggestions for website content are also welcome; please direct them to Professor Hodge.