Resource Summary

Controversy over the value of the humanities and liberal arts is central to current debates about educational policy. This debate affects the work of humanists in all contexts—K-12, higher education, and public humanities programming. The Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment project (HULA) has developed new research methodologies for deepening our understanding of just how humanistic pedagogy works, what humanists expect it to accomplish, and what our methods for assessing it might be.
In this report, we present our analysis of an archive of works produced by professional humanists between 1981 and 2012: 92 grant proposals submitted to and awarded funding by the Illinois Humanities Council over that time period. This archive is neither complete, nor necessarily representative. Rather, the Illinois Humanities Council selected grants from across the full chronological range of its grant-making for the sake of a pilot project whose purpose was to ascertain whether the HULA research methods could shed useful light on the past practices of the IHC and its grantees. The IHC had the same executive director across the whole of this time range, suggesting some degree of continuity in its work.