Humanities

Looking to the Future of the Humanities

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DSC_9453-croppedFor Dr. Corey Campion, teaching is a “passion and privilege” and interdisciplinary learning is key. As the head of Hood College’s Master of Arts in Humanities program, he feels strongly about the role of the humanities in higher education. In fact, he feels so strongly that he has just published “Whither the Humanities – Reinventing the Relevance of an Essential and Embattled Field.” Published in the journal Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, the article looks at some of the struggles of many humanities programs along with why they are still incredibly valuable along with ways to help strengthen them.

Dr. Campion himself has a diverse background which he carries into his teaching and writing. In his own education, he trained as a student of language and culture before turning to foreign affairs and then history in graduate school. He says “along the way, I have enjoyed drawing on my training in various fields to explore a variety of topics from European history, to the history of food, the meaning of vacations, and the current crisis in honeybee populations.” He lives what he teaches, from sharing his experiences living in France and Germany (he speaks French, German, and Spanish) to being a beekeeper with his own apiary. He gives his students real background to their theoretical knowledge. He wants those students to know “how interdisciplinary work can enhance their own learning in a given discipline and to understand better the world in which they live”.

In his article, Campion explains his thoughts on many current humanities programs, and lays out many of the struggles that humanities programs in higher education are experiencing. These include the perceptions of many people that the humanities are “nice, but not necessary” since they don’t teach specific skills aimed at a certain career as a math or science degree might. Humanities teaches not only analytical and critical thinking skills, but empathy and communication, which are key for many careers. Campion believes that one of the stumbling blocks for these programs is stagnation – that many are still doing things the same way, and may be “committed to teaching models that support faculty rather than student needs.” For many graduate students, whose careers may not be in academia, but in other fields where an understanding of people as well as content is key, an interdisciplinary approach which teaches how to be a humanist along with the content may be the best approach.

Campion’s article sets out his ideas for how humanities programs can best serve colleges, students, and communities. “While humanities faculty should not abandon their traditional mission to attain and impart a deeper understanding of the human condition through the study of history, literature, and art, they should also establish their classrooms as a place where all students engage those questions of politics, economics, medicine, and the environment that are so relevant to contemporary society.” He sees the opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning at Hood as “exciting, and I share the College’s convictions with respect to the value of the liberal arts in the twenty-first century.” The college is also excited about his contributions to Hood and the higher education community at large!

Hood Hosts Student-Led Humanities Conference

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Humanities 1September 16th saw Hood College hosting its first ever student-led Humanities conference! “Discovering the Humanities” featured undergraduate and graduate students from Hood and other area colleges and universities. According to Dr. Corey Campion, director of Hood’s MA Program in Humanities, “the main goal was to showcase the exciting work students do in the Humanities at the undergrad and grad level at Hood and area schools”.  The presentations were varied, and topics ranged from literature, art, and gender, to popular culture, and world and local history. Where else would you find a presentation about “Applying and Comparing Baroque Features in Shakespeare’s The Tempest and TV Show Lost”, followed by “The Re-Imagined, Re-Defined, and Re-Created Roles of Carroll Creek” and “The Avant-Garde: Theory and Nature of Alienation”?

University of Pennsylvania Professor Bethany Wiggin, founder of the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities, gave the keynote focusing on the Humanities in higher education as well as the importance of working across disciplines as scholars. Hood English Professor Aaron Angello called Wiggin’s talk “rousing.”

 

Humanities 2The conference emphasized the student presenters themselves. Sarah Holsapple, a Hood Humanities graduate student, explained “There were several students from other schools who also participated, and it was a rare opportunity to talk about our research together and share our ideas with peers”. Her presentation, in the Modern American section of the conference, combined politics, philosophy, music, and culture when critiquing the avant-garde movement in music. Hood student  Asmaa Aaouinti-Haris presented in the Popular Culture section about Re-defining Black Masculinities in Beyonce’s Lemonade.” She also commented on the social and communal worth of the conference, saying “it was my first conference and I was excited and grateful to be able to share my research with classmates, professors and people from other universities. I loved the way in which the conference was organized. The atmosphere was perfect!”

 

Campion hopes this will be the start of a tradition. He looks forward to next year, saying “the presentations were excellent and showed an impressive level of rigor. It was a great event that gave us a chance to celebrate the humanities which are so central to the liberal arts tradition here at Hood. We’re excited about next year’s conference!” The date is already set for September 15, 2018.

 

See photos and the full schedule of this years’ conference.

Why the Humanities?

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DebarbaThe Graduate School at Hood College takes pride in its diversity…of people and programs. One such program is the Master of Arts in Humanities. Many students credit the program’s interdisciplinary focus for their increase in both analytical and big-picture thinking. One such student is Robert DeBarba, who started the program in fall of 2016.

A 2015 graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Arts in History, Robert stayed in Maryland and began work as a government contractor. When looking to continue his education, he chose the Hood Humanities program because he “really liked how the Humanities program was tailored to personal interests of study and offered a well-rounded variety of coursework.” A year into the program, he credits it with helping advance his career due to his increased ability to analyze, interpret, and articulate abstract concepts. He describes the program as a ‘skill set’ degree that has provided him with a unique combination of analytical tools in a very technical field. After receiving his Master’s, Robert intends to continue his education with a Ph.D. and would like to become a teacher.

Outstanding Student- Humanities

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i-7WvP3JX-L  Maura Page is the Event and Recruitment Coordinator in Hood College’s Center for Career Development and Experiential Education.  In addition, Maura has been a Hood History Museum docent since fall of 2010 and has participated in multiple Frederick Historic Sites Consortium events, including the Frederick Historic Sites Consortium – Master Docent Series.

As a graduate student Maura brought a passion for learning that often shaped class discussions and inspired her peers to consider topics from new perspectives—Maura is well deserving of this year’s outstanding humanities student award.  Maura competed in and won a People’s Choice Award in Hood’s our Three-Minute Thesis competition for her talk entitled, “Domestic Servitude: bonds with no common ground; racialized economic relationships in Jim Crow era films.”

Hood College hosts Humanities Conference

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This fall, Hood College will host its first-ever student research conference in humanities.  The conference, “Discovering Humanities at Hood”, is designed to highlight the exciting work of students in humanities-related programs.  The conference is set for September 16th.

Dr. Corey Campion, director of the MA in Humanities program and co-organizer of the conference says, “The conference has two objectives. First, and most importantly, we wanted to give students a chance to share and receive feedback on their work in the humanities in a conference setting without the expense of a regular academic conference.  For many of our undergraduate and graduate students, attending an academic conference is not an option for a variety of reasons, from work schedules to financial concerns.  Not wanting our students to miss out on the rich intellectual exchange that can take place at such conferences, we decided to host one here at Hood. Second, we want the conference to serve as a celebration of the humanities and the students and faculty in this discipline.”

Student participants will have the opportunity to present their research to a panel and obtain feedback on their work. They will also hear about work done by their colleagues and have the chance to connect and network with others in the humanities. Plans are also underway for an exhibit of visual art projects.

Participation at the conference is open to any student who has written a paper for a humanities course at Hood or other area schools.  Submissions must be emailed to angello@hood.edu and are due by 5pm on May 5, 2017.

For more information contact Dr. Corey Campion at 301-696-3227 or campion@hood.edu.

Student makes career switch to teaching

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Patrick CassidyPatrick Cassidy, a Hood College Master of Arts in Humanities candidate with a concentration in Geography, is a General Science Teacher of 7th graders at Wynn Middle School in Tewksbury, MA. Patrick graduated from The Catholic University of America where he majored in Interdisciplinary Studies. Prior to his career switch to teaching, he worked as an officer with the United States Capitol Police. Here’s what he has to say about his time at Hood and career motivations.

Why did you choose Hood?

I chose Hood because I enjoy interdisciplinary studies and the Humanities program embraces such an approach.  I took several courses in undergrad in which I was introduced to the Humanities and I was hooked.  Also, Hood is cost effective for graduate students and is in a great location.

What have you enjoyed most about your time at Hood?

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with other Hood students and with faculty members.  One of the things I miss, now that I am not in the classroom at Hood, is the classroom discussions and conversations with fellow students.

What’s your thesis topic?

My thesis topic is the legacy of exploration in the 20th Century.  I am looking at the long-lasting resonance of exploration and how such achievements become the crowning achievements for the nations represented by the explorers.  I am questioning what it is about exploration that makes it so captivating to an audience.

How has your experience at Hood contributed towards the change in career path?

My experiences at Hood helped me develop an appreciation for the impact which great teaching can have.  Also, my classes at Hood were eye-opening concerning environmental science.  Discovering new and interesting topics and issues in environmental science promoted a desire to enlighten other students in these areas.  This line of thought eventually led to my career change.

What do you love most about being a science teacher?

Opening students’ eyes to the world around them.  I have found the greatest satisfaction when students begin making observations about their surroundings.  They are getting their heads out of their cell phones and seeing some of the things we are discussing in the classroom at work in their daily lives. Admittedly, this does not happen all the time, but when it does, it’s rewarding.

Campion Honored for Adjunct Teaching Excellence

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Corey Campion (center) with Daryl Boffman

Corey Campion (center) with Daryl Boffman, Vice Chair of the Board of Associates, and Dr. Edgar Schick, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Corey Campion, program director and professor of the Humanities program, is the 2015 recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award for Adjunct Faculty.  As Graduate School Dean Maria Green Cowles said at the awards ceremony in May, Professor Campion’s Humanities students are quite clear: He makes them work hard. And in so doing, he inspires them to do their best.  

As one student wrote, Professor Campion’s “classes are challenging (to say the least), but the class discussions are always informative and engaging….[He] truly pushes his students to create their best work.  He doesn’t give students any slack when it comes to writing and analysis… you absolutely cannot complete one of his classes without improving your academic skills.” 

At a time when the Humanities is often disparaged by political pundits, Campion is known for challenging his students to explore its meaning and relevance.  He serves as a mentor in a manner that students cherish. In the words of other students, “he lets you know when you’ve done something well, and he encourages students to think about their futures beyond graduate school”; “he goes above and beyond to provide resources and advice for scholarship”; and “his integrity is unimpeachable.”

Roth Receives Outstanding Student Award for Humanities

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Francesca Roth with Hood President Ron Volpe and Humanities program director Corey Campion

Francesca Roth with Hood President Ron Volpe and Humanities program director Corey Campion

The 2015 Lisa Ann Sullivan Outstanding Humanities Student Award winner is Francesca Roth.

Professor Corey Campion, who worked with Fran both in the classroom and on her capstone committee, was “impressed by her intelligence and dedication to scholarship. Her capstone examined a series of literary representations of the French Revolution and drew on work in both history and literary studies…I found the project to be an ideal example of what work in the Humanities can look like.” To top it off, Fran wrote and defended the project in French!

Fran’s master’s thesis was a continuation of a study of the Terror and its influence on post-revolutionary French literature that she began in her undergraduate honors thesis. French professor Dr. Lisa Marcus says that Fran’s “critical analysis of the texts and of literary criticism, already perceptive in her undergraduate years, evolved into a much deeper understanding of texts and contexts that could easily develop into an original and noteworthy doctoral dissertation topic.”

Fran was accepted for the University of Maryland’s Ph.D. program in French with a full fellowship for fall 2015, an impressive feat indeed considering the highly competitive nature of such fellowships. Fran has been teaching elementary French at Hood since she completed her master’s degree.

Reception for All New Students: August 20

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All students who are new to the Hood Graduate School for the Fall 2014 semester are invited to an orientation on Wednesday, August 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The informal welcome reception, to be held at Whitaker Campus Center, will provide an opportunity to meet faculty, staff and fellow students.

The agenda includes a campus tour, introduction to the bookstore and Apple computer lab, a welcome from Graduate School Dean Dr. Maria Green Cowles, and dinner with the program directors. Get the complete agenda and then RSVP here 

Present and Past Professors and Alum Collaborate on Books

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Emilie Amt, Professor of History, Chair and the Hildegarde Pilgram Professor of History

Emilie Amt, Professor of History, Chair and the Hildegarde Pilgram Professor of History

This spring, Emilie Amt, Hildegarde Pilgram professor of history at Hood, published two books. The first is a collection of translated medieval texts entitled The Crusades: A Reader, Second Edition. The sourcebook explores the Crusades from medieval perspectives. It includes original European and Middle Eastern documents written by Muslims, Jews and Christians, and covers multiple facets of the period. Emilie’s co-editor, S.J. Allen, taught at Hood in the early 21st century and directed the M.A. in Humanities program for a year. She now teaches at England’s Open University.

The second publication, The Latin Cartulary of Godstow Abbey, is a compilation of more than 900 documents and records from that convent, written mostly in Latin. The book is the result of 10 years of research conducted by Emilie and provides insights into medieval nuns’ lives. Working extensively with the Latin texts, Scott Mauer (M.A. ’14) helped index the book while he was a Humanities graduate student at Hood.