An infusion of the humanities into a non-humanities course can help better prepare students for the workforce, instilling in them an ability to be more flexible and think more critically. From a research standpoint, interdisciplinary collaboration can bring together experts in a variety of disciplines to have meaningful conversations and build collaborations related to shared problems.
The Lehigh Humanities Lab, the result of a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks to enrich teaching, research and co-curricular activities at Lehigh by bridging the gap between disciplines that might not traditionally collaborate through the incorporation of the humanities into other fields. Although the humanities are central to its mission, the Lab does not belong to a particular college, department or set of departments.
“We should set our sights on ‘audacious interdisciplinarity,’ in which scholars with depths in different areas begin to learn each other’s languages,” says Alan J. Snyder, vice president and associate provost for research and graduate studies. “The Humanities Lab can help us to learn how to do that well at Lehigh. It can also help us to re-center understanding of human experience, needs and aspirations in building a research portfolio that’s responsive to public concerns.”
Says Michael Kramp, associate professor of English and director of the Humanities Lab: “This is a truly university-wide initiative.”