Carleton’s Humanities Center receives new endowed fund for student research

The Trustee Humanities Endowed Research Fund was established by an anonymous donor.

Erica Helgerud '20 8 November 2022 Posted In:
Photo: Kallie Rollenhagen

An anonymous donor has created a new endowed fund at Carleton to support student internships and student research in the humanities. Named the Trustee Humanities Endowed Research Fund, it will allow Carleton’s Humanities Center to expand support for one of its core initiatives: the Student Research Partnership (SRP) program

The SRP program promotes close collaboration between faculty and students over summer and winter breaks, allowing students an intensive experience with humanistic research or creative work as well as enabling them to hone skills of value both to academic graduate work and a wide variety of other careers. Student research partners engage in a wide range of activities, from traditional bibliographical exploration and editing books and articles for publication, to on-site archival research, archaeological survey and excavation, to professional dramaturgy, sound editing and much more. In addition to the technical skills they strengthen, students benefit from participating in a longer-term project than typical trimester coursework allows, and from gaining a much greater understanding of the professional practice of the humanities.

“The fund will make a huge difference to the amount of support we can offer in the SRP program,” said Clara Hardy, professor of classics, David and Marian Adams Bryn-Jones distinguished teaching professor of the humanities, and director of the Humanities Center. “More students can be funded as well as more supplementary research costs like travel. We hope to do more outreach and publicizing of the SRP program now so as to get more people asking for SRPs.”

The predictable revenue stream that comes from an endowed fund will also allow the Center to pilot multi-year projects, which they haven’t had the flexibility to consider before. Longer-term projects would allow students to build much stronger working relationships with faculty— “more analogous to the way STEM students can work for multiple years in a given science faculty member’s lab,” according to Hardy. Students would be able to hone their skills over a longer period and perhaps get involved in mentoring or training students with less experience.

“The fund also gives us the opportunity to think creatively about other possible means of supporting student research in the humanities,” said Hardy. “We’re in discussion right now about piloting other opportunities outside SRPs for which the fund would be appropriate, which is very exciting.”

As the Humanities Center explores new possibilities and advances the SRP program, Hardy would appreciate feedback from those who have previously participated in research.

“If students or alumni have favorite memories of humanistic research they did that they’d like to share, as well as their thoughts on what benefits they derived, I would love to hear them,” she said. “Anyone’s ideas about what research opportunities they would like to see us consider would be hugely helpful to hear as well.”

“Mainly,” Hardy concluded, “I want the campus to know that our funding is on much more stable and generous footing now, so they should start planning to apply for some of it!”

Erica Helgerud ’20 is the news and social media manager for Carleton College.