History of Research Investments


The Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme has recommitted the university to the specific importance of the humanities and the arts to understanding, representing, and addressing global concerns and pressing social issues and to creating a diverse, engaged research and learning community. In addition to the $2.5 million commitment in one-time cash to support grants and programming for a five-year period (2015-2020), the Global Arts + Humanities has increased the percentage of its permanent, annual rate funding of $2.5 million earmarked for the hiring of tenure-track faculty and development of programming to fund several new open grants competitions and fellowship opportunities. 

From the spring of 2015, when Provost Steinmetz first announced that he wanted to establish a new Discovery Theme in the liberal arts and appointed Vice Dean Susan Williams and Vice Provost Michael Boehm to start the planning for it, the Discovery Theme has distributed nearly 3 million dollars toward cross-disciplinary research, teaching, and community engagement initiatives, which includes three new tenure track faculty and eight post-doctoral researchers. Newly named the Global Arts + Humanities, the initiative is now entering its fourth phase of investment in cross-disciplinary research.

  • Phase 1 — The Pilot Projects: After the establishment of the scope of the Discovery Theme (that it would include arts as well as humanities; that it could support programming as well as faculty hires; that it would require cost sharing with units), and the innovative work of faculty fellows and faculty-led committees in 2016, the Discovery Theme entered funding Phase 1. In 2016, Vice Dean Williams and Vice Provost Mike Boehm awarded a $1.1 million non-recurring cash grant to the Division to investment in the Arts and Humanities. Via a call for proposals, faculty in the Division of Arts and Humanities were invited to submit proposals for two-year pilot projects. The faculty Steering Committee discussed and evaluated 34 proposals, and Dean Hahn allocated the $1.1 M in available funding to 11 projects.
  • Phase 2 — Connections Across Pilot Projects: In spring 2017, Dean Hahn requested proposals from the Pilot Grant Principal Investigators that reflected new, scaled-up collaborations. These proposals constituted Phase 2. Six collaborative proposals were received. The Steering Committee recommended the Migration, Mobility, and Immobility project as the first area for investment. In consultation with leadership, two additional proposals, Livable Futures and Public Narrative Collaborative, were identified as meriting investment in that they envisioned new cross-disciplinary collaborations and meaningful student engagement, and amplified how the arts and humanities shape human-decision making and action.
  • Phase 3 — Faculty-Driven Identification of New Areas for Investment: This phase will be completed by the end of this academic year. Based on the recommendations of the external reviewers (March 2018), and a consultative process that included a division-wide faculty retreat (April 2018), convening of several faculty working groups, as well as consultations with faculty across the disciplines, three additional areas for future investment were identified: Medical and Health Humanities and Arts; Social Change, Community Engagement, and Creative Practices; and the Arts and Humanities Methods and Practices Amplifier. Two Project Directors were hired to produce institutional scans of research and creative practices in these areas and one of our faculty fellows in developing a consultative process for faculty to define the Amplifier.
  • Phase 4 — Broadening Faculty Involvement: This year, in addition to our continued support for arts creation grants, field school grants and graduate fellowships, we are pleased to offer 3 new grants programs that will support centers and individuals in conducting cross-disciplinary collaborations and community-based research. Finally, we are excited to announce a special grants initiative in Race and Social Justice, which will support cross-disciplinary projects that explore a wide range of social issues linked to structural injustices and cultural and political forms of resistance. More information on all these opportunities can be found on our Funding Opportunities page.

Wendy S. Hesford
Faculty Director, Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme
Professor of English and Ohio Eminent Scholar of Rhetoric, Composition and Literacy