Who We Are
The Humanities Institute at the University of Texas at Austin brings together students, faculty, and members of the public to “think in community” about some of the most important issues of our time. Our interdisciplinary programs on campus and in the community promote challenging dialogue and stimulate innovative research and teaching in all facets of the humanities. Some of our priority campus and community initiatives include community-based research fellowships, Health Humanities research seminars, and our new master’s degree in Humanities, Health, and Medicine, which welcomes its first students in Fall of 2023.
Dr. Jason De León (UCLA) speaking on “Soldiers and Kings: a Photoethnography of Human Smuggling across Mexico” (photo by Daniel Cavazos)
What We’re Fundraising For
We believe that the Humanities have a unique ability to support human connections so that we can face unprecedented challenges together.
Humanities, Health and Medicine Initiatives
Our Health Humanities Research Seminars bring together researchers, clinicians, and students interested in humanistic approaches to medicine and health. Seminar members and guests discuss work in progress, incubate collaborative projects, and explore how to improve health care. We also encourage practitioners, scholars, students, and our wider audience to create community through arts-based public programming such as poetry readings and film discussions. Starting in Fall 2022, our MA degree in Humanities, Health, and Medicine will offer students an opportunity to delve more deeply into intersections between health care and the humanities.
Humanities Institute and Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis Community Fellowships (formerly the Community Sabbatical Research Leave Program)
We are proud to expand our groundbreaking program that supports community-based research and intellectual work in the Austin non-profit community. Formerly called the Community Sabbatical Research Grant, the program is now called the HI and IUPRA Community Fellows program in recognition of our new partnership with the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis. Community fellowships enable directors and staff of Central Texas non-profits to research a problem related to their organizations' missions. Awardees are matched with faculty mentors and share their research with each other and the public. Our new partnership enables us to reach new constituencies and increase the potential impact of the program.
A gift to the Humanities Institute will help us develop our capacity to support students, faculty, and community members in innovative, interdisciplinary humanities projects. This year we are particularly seeking support for our community-based research fellowships and our humanities, health, and medicine programming.
The Community Fellows program is a unique, innovative way of bringing theory to practice and supporting creative leaders in nonprofit organizations. Developed in partnership with nonprofit leaders, the program leverages University resources and expertise in order to give nonprofit directors and staff the ability to step back from short-term obligations and address longer-term issues. Past projects demonstrate the effectiveness of the Community Fellowship in developing impactful interventions. Gail Rice successfully introduced restorative justice principles to domestic violence interventions at SafePlace. Deliana Garcia demonstrated that Migrant Clinician Network’s virtual bridge case management system is highly cost-effective for mobile patients being treated for tuberculosis infection. At the Texas After Violence Project, Gabriel Solis developed trauma-sensitive trainings for leaders in the fields of criminal defense, mental health, and community archives seeking to document the effects of violence, incarceration, and the death penalty on the families of victims and offenders. And at Foundation Communities, Julian Huerta’s project shaped the Children’s HOME Initiative, which serves over 200 families at 11 FC properties and has a 96% success rate in moving families from homelessness into stable housing, with improvements in family income, children’s health coverage, and educational success. Increased support for the Community Fellows program will allow us to better support leaders of community health, cultural, and social service organizations seeking to improve the lives of people living in Central Texas.
A recent grantee, K.C. Lawrence, Memory Connections Program Director at AGE of Central Texas, described the program as “a unique and meaningful opportunity that allowed me the time and space to look more deeply into our data to improve service to our clients. Because of the grant, I was able to learn from research experts at UT. I explored a subject I am passionate about and grew as a nonprofit professional.”
2019 Community Sabbatical Grantee, K.C. Lawrence (AGE of Central Texas), presenting on her research project on chronic disease management for dementia patients
A gift in support of our Humanities, Health, and Medicine initiatives will help us continue to build a network of clinicians, researchers, and students working collaboratively to better understand the humanistic dimensions of health care, including the patient-provider relationship, barriers to accessing health care, and ethical decision-making. Leaders in the health care industry and in health care education have increasingly recognized [SPT1] the need for professionals with proficiency not only in STEM disciplines but also in humanities-based skills and approaches. Our existing programming and the newly developed master’s degree in Humanities, Health, and Medicine address this need. Health care professionals value initiatives such as our “Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus” blog series, in which we shared a poem that spoke to our collective and individual experiences during the pandemic. Jewel Mullen, Associate Dean for Health Equity at Dell Medical School, shared that “Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus keeps me centered as I continue my health equity leadership and contribute to the pandemic response.” And Shruti Patel describes the impact of the health humanities on her perspective as a pre-med student: "Intimate bodily experiences captured by the humanities and literature have allowed me to understand how disease, illness, and disability deeply impact individuals and their communities in a way I could not with a traditional STEM education."
Health Humanities Graduate Scholars along with faculty and researchers attending the Health and Humanities Research Seminar (photo by Daniel Cavazos)