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WVU sends delegation to Humanities Advocacy Day at the Capitol

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WestVirginia University sent a delegation of three academics to the National Humanities Alliance’s Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day on March 13th and 14th in Washington D.C. 

The delegation consisted of:  

Travis Stimeling, assistant professor of music history in the School of Music

YvonneHammond, a doctoral candidate in the Department of English

Melissa Bingmann, associate professor and director of public history in the Department of History 

West Virginia has received nearly $10 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities since 2000. This funding has supported projects across the state including WVU faculty studies of subjects ranging from the fall of Mussolini to the history of the Mountaineer mascot. Most recently, Stimeling was awarded an NEH fellowship this past December to chronicle the history of musicians and record production in country music’s “Nashville Sound” era. 

The university’s participation in Humanities Advocacy Day was co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice President for Research. “The humanities are vitally important not only because they provide us a lens through which to critically look at society, but because in humanities courses students learn to think critically, creatively, and responsibly—skills that are highly valued by employers,” said Melanie Page, associate vice president for creative and scholarly activity in the WVU Office of Research. 

Coordinated by the National Humanities Alliance, of which WVU is a member institution, the event is designed to convene humanities leaders from around the country and train them to communicate the value of the humanities disciplines to members of Congress. The WVU delegation joined more than 200 scholars from institutions and organizations across the country to exchange ideas and promote the continued study and funding of the humanities. 

On Tuesday, despite the adverse weather conditions in D.C., they met with numerous legislative staffers as well as directly with Senator Joe Manchin and Representative Evan Jenkins. 

“Tuesday was a great day of humanities advocacy on Capitol Hill,” Stimeling said, “and the sessions with other humanities scholars offered exciting, concrete ideas about how we might move forward and continue to support the humanities on our campus and in our state.” 

The National Humanities Alliance is an advocacy coalition dedicated to the advancement of humanities education, research, preservation, and public programs. It is supported by more than 170 national, state, and local member organizations and institutions and is the only organization that brings the US humanities community together as a whole. 

The Alliance aims to cultivate support for humanities funding in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government and advocate for policies that advance activity in the humanities. Their goal is to connect members with government officials and policy experts to develop policy initiatives and promote an engagement with and appreciation for the humanities among the general public. 

-WVU- 

jm/ac/03/15/17  

Ann Claycomb; Assistant Vice President for Strategic and Academic Communication 
304.293.9919; ann.claycomb@mail.wvu.edu 

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