Humanities for the Public Good was a multi-year, $1.5-million initiative intended to recognize and catalyze publicly engaged scholarly activity among humanists and humanistic social scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill. Initiated by Terry Rhodes, former Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, with support from the Institute for the Arts & Humanities and funding from the Mellon Foundation. Next led by Elizabeth Engelhardt, Senior Associate Dean of the Fine Arts & Humanities, the initiative offered grants and programmatic opportunities primarily aimed at graduate students and faculty in partnership with cultural institutions within and beyond the academy.
The emphases of the initiative was on integrating: public engagement in graduate education, through grants, teaching, and workshops; public and digital humanities efforts, an effort which was spearheaded by the Digital Integration Coordinator at the Digital Innovation Lab; and valorizing and promoting civic engagement in faculty teaching and research in the humanities through grants and associated workshops. This work relied upon and complements the long-standing work of UNC-Chapel Hill’s array of programs, centers, institutes, and initiatives which have served as bridges between the university and its many internal and external publics.
Fellowships, Programs, and Funds
Critical Issues Project Fund – Themed collaborative projects that engage the public using humanistic methods and content.
Humanities for the Public Good Graduate Fellows – Academic Year Fellowship Placements for Graduate Students in the Humanities.
Humanities Professional Pathways Award – Project based Graduate Student summer fellowships.
(Beyond the) Campus Programs Fund – Awards to interact with collaborators, participants, or audiences beyond the campus.
Faculty Engagement in the Public Humanities – Funds faculty travel and incidental costs during engagement in public scholarship.
About the Director
Ashley Melzer is a producer, writer and media-maker living in Durham, NC. Born in North Florida, she received her Bachelors in Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California and then a Masters in Folklore from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her writing and photography has been featured in Paste Magazine, eMusic, the Southern Foodways Alliance, and Indy Week to name a few. She’s worked with Hopscotch, Moogfest, Thornapple Films, The Southern Oral History Program, Southern Cultures Journal and more. Ashley produced the award winning feature documentary You Gave Me A Song: The Life and Music of Alice Gerrard, which premiered at the Full Frame Film Festival in 2019 and on PBS Reel South in 2020. She is director and producer of Zara, a one person show about an anxious, asthmatic Muslim kid’s search for meaning and the chance encounters that impacted him. Ashley is the founder of Mettlesome, a creative, project based collective, for which she performs, directs, writes and teaches comedy.
Steering Committee Chair
Elizabeth Engelhardt, Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities
Andrew Aghapour, Independent Scholar, Religious Studies Alum
Renee Alexander Craft, Associate Professor, Communication
Daniel Anderson, Curriculum Coordinator, Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative
Carolyn Allmendinger, Director of Education and Interpretation, Ackland Art Museum
Jennifer Boehm, Graduate Student, English and Comparative Lit
Monica Figueroa, Music Cataloging Librarian, University Library
David Garcia, Professor, Music
Hannah Gill, Program Director, Latino Migration Project
Amanda Graham, Associate Director of Engagement, Carolina Performing Arts
Joseph Jordan, Director, Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History
Meli Kimathi, Graduate Student, Communication
Seth Kotch, Director, Southern Oral History Program
Lloyd Kramer, Faculty Director, Carolina Public Humanities
Abigail Lee, Graduate Student, English and Comparative Lit
Isabell Moore, Graduate Student, History
Katie Murray, Director, Orange County Arts Commission
Christie Norris, Director of K-12 Outreach, Carolina Public Humanities
Todd Ochoa, Associate Professor, Religious Studies
Cherie Rivers Ndaliko, Associate Professor, Music
Michelle Robinson, Associate Chair, American Studies
Kathryn Wagner, Associate Director, Arts Everywhere
Tommie Watson, Executive Director, Institute of the Arts and Humanities
Kathy Williams, Company Artistic Associate, PlayMakers Rep