Manhattanville University Receives NEH Grant to Help Bolster the Humanities

May 16, 2024
Manhattanville students collaborating on a project
Manhattanville students collaborating on a project

The NEH awarded $60,000 to Manhattanville through its Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education Program 

PURCHASE, NY, May 16 – Manhattanville University has been awarded a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for “Reinvigorating the Humanities: Developing and Piloting Curriculum for the Interdisciplinary Studies Initiative.”  

The project will develop and pilot a curriculum across disciplines that emphasizes the value of the humanities, including English, history, philosophy, art history, legal studies, and global studies in preparing students for an ever-evolving global society and increasingly challenging work landscape. This work is part of Manhattanville University’s larger Interdisciplinary Studies Initiative (ISI) that aims to reimagine how the humanities are taught through academic programs that share a core of three courses focused on important skills for the workplace including data and information literacy, storytelling, problem solving, and ethical decision making. The initial two majors, Social and Criminal Justice and Global Justice and Human Rights are currently active and enrolling students. Future ISI majors include Health Advocacy and Justice, Environmental Justice, and Media Arts. 

“Manhattanville University has a long history of curricular innovation in the humanities,” said President Frank D. Sánchez, Ph.D., of Manhattanville. “This kind of forward-thinking program development and delivery is exactly what will bring new life to the liberal arts for the next generation learner, merging the passions of students with the needs of tomorrow’s workforce. This grant will further our mission to educate ethical and socially responsible leaders in a global community.”  

David Gutman, PhD, Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at Manhattanville University, is the Project Director. “Based on anecdotal reports, we found that many of our students and their parents did not understand how a liberal arts curriculum, particularly one heavily informed by humanities disciplines, prepares students for lifelong professional and personal success,” said Dr. Gutman. This disconnect is even more prevalent among Manhattanville’s Latinx, first-generation, and low-income populations. “But as technological innovations change, many ‘hard’ skills in the workforce will be rendered obsolete. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on the skills that an interdisciplinary, humanities-driven education provides.”    

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand expressed support for this initiative. “Manhattanville University is a leader in liberal arts education in the Hudson Valley,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m proud to have worked to secure federal funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities that made this grant possible, and I look forward to seeing what students majoring in interdisciplinary majors like Social and Criminal Justice and Global Justice and Human Rights achieve in the future.” 

The funds from the NEH grant will assist faculty in developing and piloting the following core courses: (1) College in the 21st Century: Ways of Knowing; (2) Thinking Well: Information, Literacy, Inquiry, and Data Interpretation Skills; and (3) 21st Century Storytelling: Narratives Across Media. The project will culminate with Manhattanville hosting a conference in spring 2026 that will bring together Manhattanville faculty, staff, and students with attendees and speakers from other institutions to share the successes and challenges involved in building a robust interdisciplinary curriculum.  

The award is one of 22 awards given as part of the NEH’s Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education program.  

About Manhattanville University 
Manhattanville University (formerly Manhattanville College) is a private liberal arts institution dedicated to academic excellence, purposeful education, and social responsibility. For three years in a row, “U.S. News and World Report” has ranked Manhattanville the number one private, non-profit institution in New York among Top Performers of Social Mobility in Regional Universities North. Located 30 miles from New York City on a 100-acre suburban campus in the heart of Westchester County, Manhattanville enables easy access to entertainment offerings, educational resources, and business opportunities for its primarily residential and diverse student body. The university serves more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students from more than 21 countries and 34 states. Founded in 1841, the university offers more than 75 undergraduate and graduate areas of study in the arts and sciences, education, nursing and health sciences, business, and creative writing. Graduate students can choose from over 70 graduate and certificate programs. Extracurricular offerings include more than 45 clubs and activities and 24 NCAA Division III teams.  

Cara Cea,, 914-323-1278 or 914-906-9680