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Liberal Arts Receives ACLS Grant

College of Liberal Arts Receives Community and Student Engagement Grant

The American Council of Learned Societies recently awarded funding for a Texas State University project entitled the “Engaged Humanities Research Accelerator,” a collective of several projects from departments and centers, including the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Fine Arts, and the College of Applied Arts. Led by principal investigator Dr. Aimee Kendall Roundtree, Associate Dean of Research in the College of Liberal Arts, the program prioritizes student research activity and community engagement in data collection, data analysis, and dissemination of findings.

The grant revives projects focused on advancing engaged humanities research slowed or stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funding enables faculty and students to partner with communities hardest hit by the pandemic to create knowledge and increase community, cultural, and educational engagement. The projects address pressing social challenges through dialogue, insights, and humanities inquiry regarding racial equality, US-global relations, public health and pandemic recovery, and America’s diverse history.

Center and departments awardees include the Center for the Study of the Southwest, The Center for Diversity and Gender Studies, Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies, Geography and Environmental Studies, English, Communication Studies, Anthropology and Public History, and African American Studies. Funded projects and grantees include:

  • Dr. John Mckiernan-González, director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest and professor in the Department of History, will collaborate with cultural organizations, museums, and other community groups to design and host a digital media project that celebrates the culture, work, and life is communities, historians, and writers in the American Southwest. The Center for the Study of the Southwest will also partner with Austin ISD for outreach in Spanish and English.  

 

  • Dr. Gloria P. Martinez-Ramos, director of The Center for Diversity and Gender Studies and professor in the Department of Sociology, will partner with the San Marcos Library, the San Marcos Youth Advisory Community Council, and the San Marcos CISD to promote the benefits of art, poetry, storytelling, and photography for youth mental health. Youth will be able to tell and interpret their stories, as well as learn about San Marcos and the greater rural community through creative workshops. 

 

  • Dr. Shetay Ashford-Hanserd, chair of the Department of Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies (OWLS), will empower community members through counter-life storytelling to help them explore their experiences closing the racial wealth gap in low-income communities. The project will use a human-centered approach to understand economic and cultural issues of national importance from the community’s perspective.  

 

  • Drs. Jennifer Devine and Sarah Blue, professors in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, will document drivers of migration from Central America to the US-Mexican border using migrant testimonies. Migrant stories humanize the complicated US-global politics around the issue. The grant will facilitate collaboration with the Science History Museum and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services in San Antonio to co-create knowledge about asylum-seeking and immigration. 

 

  • Dr. Aimee Kendall Roundtree, Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and professor in the Department of English, in collaboration with the San Marcos Fire Department and Citizens Fire Academy Alumni Association, will gather stories from citizens about fire risks and new risks posed by the pandemic, to inform and promote community risk reduction strategies. These strategies identify and prioritize local fire risks to invest resources and programming that help lower fire risks in the community.  

 

  • Dr. Elizabeth Egers, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies will document presenteeism for marginalized workers and groups, particularly trans communities on and off campus, through oral histories. These oral histories will help advance the understanding of trans- and marginalized work experiences before, during, and after a pandemic.  

 

  • Dr. Nick Herrmann, professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Public History will work together with students in the Public History program and local historians and preservationists in Fredericksburg and Gillespie County to create a public history of local African American cemeteries that were previously unrecorded. An archeological technician and public history student will be responsible for conducting the cemetery survey and working with local families and community members to collect personal stories about the cemetery.  

 

  • Dr. Dwonna Goldstone, director of the African American Studies (AAS) program and associate professor in the Department of History, will partner with local elderly clinics, Veteran’s Affairs, local churches, and nursing homes. Using oral history methods, the program will write one-page personal narratives for elderly patients. This will help humanize the elderly, educate AAS students in oral history methods, and increase medical empathy as well.  

The grant advances applied research at Texas State and promotes community engagement between Liberal Arts faculty, Texas State students, and community organizations in Central Texas.