Northern Michigan University has received a highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities grant worth $170,000 to support a Native American studies sustainable online programming project. Only 14% of the 2,300 eligible applications were funded through a new round of NEH Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act grants, according to a press release.
“Our grant will be used to offset a small percentage of salary and benefits for the Center for Native American Studies faculty and director as we engage in some important work focused on better preparing our curriculum to be delivered in an online environment,” said Project Director Martin Reinhardt. “Because many of our Native American studies courses incorporate oral traditions and place-based learning, it is challenging to figure out appropriate ways to transform the curriculum from onsite to online. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we need to be better prepared to continue offering our courses even during life-altering circumstances.”
Reinhardt said the conversion of course material to synchronous video and asynchronous online formats will also help the Center for Native American Studies reach a broader population that may have an interest in its programming, but cannot make the journey to NMU's physical campus.
The agency's press release stated the NEH received $75 million through the CARES act in March and previously distributed some of that to humanities councils to support local cultural nonprofits and educational programming. NMU is among more than 317 cultural institutions across the country to share in the remaining $40.3 million.
“Over the past few months we have witnessed tremendous financial distress at cultural organizations across the country, which have been compelled to furlough staff, cancel programs, and reduce operations to make up for revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “NEH is pleased to provide $40 million to preserve thousands of jobs at museums, archives, historic sites, and colleges and universities that are vital to our nation's cultural life and economy.”
The National Endowment for the Humanities was created in 1965 as an independent federal agency. More information about the NEH and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.
More information about the NMU Center for Native American Studies and its programs can be viewed here.