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Penn State to Expand Arts and Humanities Initiatives

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Penn State Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones has announced the formation of the Humanities Institute in the College of the Liberal Arts, and an increase in support for the Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI) in the College of Arts and Architecture. With these new investments, the existing Institute for Arts and Humanities (IAH) will be dissolved.

“Penn State’s commitment to occupying a place of distinction among the best public research universities necessitates more than superior strength in the natural sciences and engineering,” said Provost Jones. “The University must also be a world-class destination for research, creative practice, and education in the arts and humanities.”

Penn State’s strategic plan identifies “advancing the arts and humanities” as one of its five priorities. University administrators worked with faculty leadership in both the College of the Liberal Arts and the College of Arts and Architecture to develop a plan that capitalized on existing strengths and presented opportunities for future growth.

 “A dedicated humanities institute is the logical next step for our college.  It will allow us to build on the work of the IAH while providing a focus on the humanities, including the humanistic disciplines in Arts and Architecture and other colleges and campuses,” noted Susan Welch, Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts.  “It will be a real asset in facilitating our goals of national leadership in all our humanities disciplines.”

Barbara Korner, Dean of the College of Arts and Architecture, adds that expanded investment in the ADRI provides an opportunity to continue and build upon the work of the IAH. “The College launched ADRI in 2014 with a very modest investment of resources,” Korner said. “In the short time since, the incubator has positioned the college as a national leader in the evolving field of integrative, transdisciplinary arts research. With this new funding, and building upon the work of IAH, we will be able to extend the impact of ADRI in important new ways.” 

The new Humanities Institute will enhance Penn State’s commitment to excellence in the humanities by supporting innovative research and creative projects launched by Penn State faculty and graduate students; leveraging the successes of the college’s nationally ranked humanities departments in hiring and retaining outstanding faculty; hosting post doctoral fellows chosen on a competitive basis nationally; providing public programming on matters of abiding interest to the State College community and beyond; and generally enhancing the academic reputation of Penn State as a vital hub of cutting-edge interdisciplinary humanities scholarship.

Increased funding will allow the ADRI to expand its innovative template for arts-based research, creating sustainable partnerships between practitioners, scholars and theorists in the arts and design disciplines and their counterparts in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and professional colleges. The effect will be to position the arts as an integral component in the research enterprise at Penn State. The ADRI, which offers extensive public programming, has already provided funding for projects that connect College of Arts and Architecture faculty with researchers in medicine, kinesiology, and environmental science among many other fields. For more information, visit

The existing IAH will continue operations through the 2016-17 academic year.