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Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities

Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities

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Innovation, collaboration, and research across the humanities.

 $1.55 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to support new humanities collaboration with Cuyahoga Community College

MellonPhotoFor the second time in just over two years, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has supported a Case Western Reserve University collaboration in the humanities—in this instance, with Cuyahoga Community College.

The four-year, $1.55 million grant will catalyze an initiative designed to encourage interest in the humanities among students at Tri-C, and then provide them a well-developed pathway toward a bachelor’s degree at Case Western Reserve.

In 2012, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided the university and the Cleveland Museum of Art two grants totaling $500,000. The awards supported the redesign and launch of their joint doctoral program in art history, which dates back to 1967. The conversations involved in creating the new degree catalyzed enormous enthusiasm among participants and the broader community—so much so that, in 2013, Joseph and Nancy Keithley committed $15 million to the two institutions to create The Nancy and Joseph Keithley Institute for Art History.

This new cooperative effort with Tri-C, dubbed the Cleveland Humanities Collaborative, seeks to build on existing academic connections between the two institutions, in particular by nurturing ties among humanities faculty from both campuses and providing students extensive mentoring and advising. Faculty will work together to develop joint programs, such as seminars, workshops and teaching exchanges, and also create a summer bridge program to ease students’ transition from one institution to the next.

“The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and particularly Dr. Mariët Westermann, the foundation’s vice president, have been exceptional partners to Case Western Reserve and Cleveland itself,” University President Barbara R. Snyder said. “We are grateful to them, and to our colleagues at Tri-C, for this opportunity to develop a truly innovative program to advance the humanities.”

Michael Schoop, president of Tri-C’s Metropolitan Campus, warmly welcomed the concept of a formal initiative to draw more students to humanities disciplines and, ultimately, to bachelor’s degrees at Case Western Reserve. The university and Tri-C also are working together on a similar initiative to engage Tri-C students in STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics) fields before transferring to Case Western Reserve to complete their undergraduate educations.

In both instances, a longstanding agreement between the two institutions allows Tri-C students to take one course each semester at Case Western Reserve.

“We appreciate the generosity and vision of the Mellon Foundation in its support of the humanities,” said Schoop, whose own doctorate is in English language and literature. “This partnership builds on our longstanding relationship with Case Western Reserve to provide a unique opportunity for students.”

School and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Molly Berger announced the Mellon award and the new program during a National Endowment for the Humanities regional workshop Wednesday on the Case Western Reserve campus.

“The enthusiasm of the faculty involved in developing this program has been inspiring,” said Berger, also an instructor of history. “Everyone brings impressive experience and depth of expertise, as well as a profound commitment to students.”

Berger is leading the project on behalf of Case Western Reserve, along with the College of Arts and Sciences Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives Beth Trecasa. Their co-leaders from Tri-C are David Bernatowicz, associate professor of history, and Sonja Siler, assistant professor of political science. They are among more than 20 faculty and administrators from the two institutions designing details of the project.

Leaders hope to begin recruiting the first cohort of Tri-C students this year, and have them take their first Case Western Reserve class as part of their spring 2016 courses. The fall of 2015 will include continued mentoring from faculty at Tri-C, as well as the first events of the new Cleveland Humanities Collaborative. Among the goals of the model is to develop a true sense of intellectual community around the humanities among faculty, staff and students alike.

Both of the institutions already have active humanities programs in their own right. Tri-C, for example, offers Voices from the Village, a faculty-development and student-enrichment program that includes workshops led by renowned scholars. Case Western Reserve, meanwhile, has the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, an interdisciplinary center that celebrates the arts and humanities through public events. The center also provides faculty support for research and creative work within the arts and humanities.

Leaders expect the first group of students to transfer from Tri-C to Case Western Reserve in the fall of 2016. A significant part of their experience as juniors and seniors will be intensive research projects. By the end of the grant period in December 2018, the Collaborative hopes to have brought 45 students from Tri-C to Case Western Reserve to pursue a liberal arts education and earn a bachelor’s degree with a major in the humanities.

– from The Daily, February 26, 2015


$2.2 million commitment establishes Eric and Jane Nord Family Professorship

Nord/Knox Photo

Peter Knox and Jane Nord

The Nord family’s enduring philanthropic support of Case Western Reserve University is evident in every corner of campus, from striking learning and research spaces to innovative programs that inspire faculty, students and the broader community.

Now, nearly two decades after the family first made a transformational gift to the humanities at Case Western Reserve, Jane Nord (GRS ’76), and the Eric and Jane Nord Family Fund have endowed a professorship in the discipline that also makes permanent the role of a designated champion for the humanities across the university.

Created through $2.2 million in gifts and commitments, the Eric and Jane Nord Family Professorship also establishes the principle that this scholar serves as director of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities. In 1996, Jane Nord and her late husband Eric (CIT ’39, HON ’98) committed $3 million to establish the center and support the renovation of Clark Hall, where it continues to be housed today.

Harvard-educated classicist Peter E. Knox, PhD, is the inaugural recipient of the Nord professorship, an appointment the campus celebrated at a chairing ceremony Feb. 18 in the Tinkham Veale University Center at Case Western Reserve. Knox, who taught at Harvard and Columbia before spending nearly 25 years at the University of Colorado in Boulder, has authored and edited six books on Ovid as well as dozens of articles regarding the works of the celebrated Roman poet.

“The Nord family’s engagement with Case Western Reserve has brought profound positive effects to the university,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “We are honored by their ongoing support, and delighted that this professorship has allowed us to recruit a scholar of Peter’s caliber.”

Jane Nord’s lifelong passion for the arts is reflected in countless ways across Northeast Ohio, including the master’s degree in art education that she earned from Case Western Reserve in 1976. Her late husband, Eric, attended the Case Institute of Technology, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1939. The couple first met soon after World War II, and in 1954 Eric and his brother Evan (CIT ’41) founded Nordson Corp. The pair grew a modest local firm into a publicly traded international company, personally accumulating more than 25 U.S. patents. At the same time, Eric and Jane raised five children. Among them is Virginia “Gini” Barbato, an alumna and current Case Western Reserve trustee.

“This professorship marks an opportunity to extend and deepen the role of the humanities at Case Western Reserve,” Barbato said. “It builds upon earlier achievements and creates momentum for greater impact and innovation.”

The Baker-Nord Center celebrates the arts and humanities through public lectures, panels, performances and special programs. The center also supports research and creative work in the humanities and arts through fellowships, grants and public forums.

In addition, the family’s $5 million gift to Case School of Engineering supported the conversion of what is now Nord Hall, allowing the engineering school to centralize academic and administrative functions and provide a common area for students, staff and faculty to gather and share ideas.

Committed to education across disciplines, the Nords also established scholarship funds for arts education, teaching innovation, faculty development and the Nord Professorship in Engineering.

 – from The Daily, February 19, 2015

American Academy of Arts & Sciences Makes Bold Statement to Congress

“Requested by a bipartisan group of legislators and scheduled to be distributed to every member of Congress, it is intended as a rallying cry against the entrenched idea that the humanities and social sciences are luxuries that employment-minded students can ill afford. People talk about the humanities and social sciences ‘as if they are a waste of time,’ said Richard H. Brodhead, the president of Duke University and a co-chairman of the commission that produced the report. ‘But this facile negativism forgets that many of the country’s most successful and creative people had exactly this kind of education.’” (New York Times) The full report can be found HERE.


Baker-Nord Center Awards Faculty Grants

Date posted: May 5th, 2015

Faculty Foreign Travel to Collections Grants:

John Broich, Department of History – Travel to London to visit the UK National Archives at Kew
Paul Iversen, Department of Classic – Travel to Turkey to continue his work as the Director of Epigraphical Finds for the Isparta Archaeological Survey
Kathryn Lavelle, Department of Political Science – Travel to Basel, Switzerland to visit the archives of the Bank for International Settlements
John Orlock, Department of English – Travel to Rome to visit the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, […Read more]

The Humanities at ShowCASE

Date posted: August 28th, 2014

On April 18, 2014, The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities participated in Case Western Reserve University’s annual Research ShowCASE. The Center produced videos highlighting the research efforts of several of our humanities faculty members, as well as an undergraduate and graduate student.