Dietrich School Awarded $1.5 Million Grant to Transform Doctoral Education in the Humanities

Holger Hoock headshot

The Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh has been awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a transformation of doctoral education in the humanities.

The four-year, $1.5 million grant will fund Humanities Engage, a comprehensive plan to prepare doctoral students to become scholar-leaders ready to pursue high-impact careers within and beyond a changing academy. The grant will foster an ongoing culture change as programs, faculty and graduate students embrace the full spectrum of postdoctoral humanistic careers.

“The support from the Mellon Foundation will help us prepare our graduate students to face challenges in an interconnected yet divided world,” said Kathleen Blee, Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean of the Dietrich School. “Validating these diverse career outcomes is a vital part of transforming the culture of humanistic doctoral education.”

The grant will support significant curricular change and the creation of an immersive fellowship program, including funded summer fellowships across the non-profit, public and corporate sectors.

The initiative will also support a new position of director of graduate advising and engagement to modernize cultures of mentoring.

“I’m very excited about the immense potential of this novel position to help us model the benefits of expansively team-based mentoring,” said Holger Hoock, associate dean for graduate studies and research and J. Carroll Amundson Chair of British History in the Dietrich School.

Hoock, who is also principal investigator of the initiative, added, “The director will help advise PhD students on their professional development, support their evolving career aspirations and connect them with opportunities across the campus, city and region as well with our alums. They will serve, too, as a resource to the graduate faculty as we reimagine the broader importance of humanities PhDs and the societal impacts of humanistic training.

Humanities Engage builds on the Mellon-supported Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh project (2015-19) and Humanities Careers, which was funded by a Next Generation Humanities PhD planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The initiative also benefits from the Public Humanities Fellows Program piloted by the Humanities Center, which created opportunities for graduate students in local arts and cultural institutions.