Consortium Objectives

When it was established in 2014, Humanities Without Walls (HWW) aimed to experiment with large-scale collaboration in pursuit of the following objectives:

  • to leverage the strengths and resources of the constituent universities affords HWW the ability to ask newly developed research questions and to apply methods that are not feasibly tested on a single campus;
  • to distribute risks by permitting a degree of experimentation and innovation that no single institution might be willing to take up on its own;
  • to develop a new model of career diversity experience in graduate education through a series of pre-doctoral summer workshops that would advance the public profile of the humanities nationwide;
  • to distribute innovations in the culture of graduate training back into partner institutions, both to complement and to enhance local efforts;
  • to include doctoral students as full research participants in its funded collaborative research as part of their professional development for careers inside and outside of the academy;
  • to create opportunities for projects and other outcomes that showcase the vibrant cultures of humanities scholarship on each campus and throughout the consortium;
  • to create new possibilities for externally funded research through collaborations scholarly collaborations that leverage multi-institutional resources; and
  • to model humanities advocacy through a multi-sited collaborative partnership in debates about the humanities in higher education.

With our second renewal of the HWW grant in 2020, we continue to pursue these founding objectives. Drawing on five years of experience with multi-institutional partnership in research and graduate training, we commit ourselves to the following strategic goals—goals which center on redistribution and reciprocity as hallmarks of HWW methodology. We aim to:

  • to prioritize, through socially just commitments and practices, the education and well-being of people who have not historically had opportunity or access to higher education;
  • to continue to rethink traditional doctoral training past and present by foregrounding the discernment of values and opportunities that graduate education has not imagined or anticipated;
  • to cross and otherwise disrupt the porous boundary between the academy and “the world” through reciprocal partnerships that are ethical and equitable by design;
  • to cultivate humanities-based intellectual leaders who can move with the times in ways that align with local institutional and community values;
  • to respond to the shifting landscape in both the humanities and in higher education writ large with dynamic and ever-evolving humanities-based habits of mind;
  • to think intentionally and proactively about how to develop working relationships that are reciprocal and co-created, and to develop portable models for those practices; and
  • to offer education/training in a variety of “humanities without walls” dispositions and skills in order to redistribute the insights, resources and working knowledge HWW has gained.