Public Displays of the Humanities

By: Joel Gruber   Michael Hall   Briana Jurries   Tiara Avaness  

This focused discussion summarizes, examines, and discusses the possibilities, challenges, and benefits of publishing undergraduate-faculty collaborations. We explore whether this type of collaboration could be a viable, replicable, and productive approach to addressing some of the challenges facing the humanities, including the need to increase public awareness regarding the purpose of the humanities, attract more humanities majors, and provide students with an experiential understanding of the benefits (and potential job prospects) accompanying a humanities-based education. The public discourse surrounding topics studied in the humanities is frequently misinformed and unproductive. Often, undergraduate students offer more sophisticated, nuanced, and meaningful analysis. With this in mind, I developed several in-class discussions for a chapter published by "Macmillan," crediting specific students for their contributions. The following semester I assigned the Macmillan chapter, and the impact was unexpected: the students became more actively engaged. The increased excitement in the classroom led to essays we were able to develop and publish in the "Huffington Post," which brought positive attention to the humanities center and an increased interest in religious studies. The discussion will include a panel of four, with myself and three of the students involved in the publications. I will summarize the project and introduce the students, who will offer their perspective on the experience, particularly in relation to how the project influenced their interest in the humanities. I anticipate the audience discussion being lively, and the feedback will likely be invaluable for planning new directions and further publications.

"Education", " Undergraduate Research"
Humanities Education

Dr. Joel Gruber

Teaching Professor, Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego, United States
California, United States

Joel Gruber earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara, specializing in Tibetan Buddhist biography, history, and doctrine. He currently teaches courses covering a wide array of topics at the University of San Diego, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese religions, and religious studies theory. He has published numerous articles in journals such as the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies and Implicit Religion, as well as pieces for Macmillan and the Huffington Post. Joel is currently working on a forthcoming book on an enigmatic medieval saint purported to have influenced the religio- cultural history of Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese Buddhism.

Michael Hall

-, -, University of San Diego

Briana Jurries

-, -, University of San Diego, United States
California, United States

Tiara Avaness

Co-­owner / Chief Financial Officer, Management, Christara, Inc. , United States
CA, United States