Humanities Task Force Report

October 13, 2016

Members of the University Community:

The University Strategic Plan identifies the humanities as a foundational element—"a core component of the University, upon which the institutional priorities and the integrating themes that shape the strategic plan will stand."  These disciplines play a central role in undergraduate education and in preparing scholars for teaching and research careers.  Last fall, I asked a small group of faculty from across the University to work with the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs to recommend strategies for supporting and enhancing the humanities at Rutgers, and for ensuring that the humanities retain their traditional strength and viability as the University changes and grows.

The Task Force on the Humanities has submitted its report, which I am pleased to release today.  One of the many strengths of this report is that it provides recommendations for action not only by me, but by faculty and deans as well.  

I am pleased to provide financial support to strengthen humanities disciplines at Rutgers.  I am committing, in addition to my previous commitment of $21.7 million for a program of diverse faculty hiring, an additional $10 million over the next five years.  These funds will be used to help our strongest humanities departments continue to recruit distinguished faculty and excellent PhD students, as well as to allocate additional Henry Rutgers Term Chairs to attract and retain the best junior faculty to our top-ranked humanities disciplines.  Further funding for our excellent programs in creative writing at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Newark and Camden is also being provided.

The Task Force also recommended that deans and faculty work together with their colleagues in professional programs to create cross-disciplinary programs to attract students to humanities courses and topics who otherwise might not consider enrolling in humanities courses.  Among other recommendations, the Task Force urged faculty to work more closely with community colleges to both recruit students to humanities majors and to facilitate transfer by advising AA/AS students on course selections before they transfer.  Greater collaboration across the university would also leverage faculty expertise in digital humanities and public humanities.

The Report can be accessed here.  Members of the Task Force are listed below. I appreciate their advice and creative ideas, and look forward to working with the University community to implement their recommendations.


Robert Barchi


Barbara A. Lee, Distinguished Professor of Human Resource Management and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Committee Members:

Barbara Cooper, Professor and Chair, History, SAS

Uri-Aron Eisenzweig,Distinguished Professor, French, SAS

James E Goodman, Professor, History/Creative Writing, FASN

Jane Grimshaw, Distinguished Professor and Graduate Program Director, Linguistics, SAS

M.A. Rafey Habib, Professor, English, FASC

Archer S. Harvey, Professor, Art History, and Program Director, Cultural & Preservation Studies, SAS

Seth D. Koven, Professor, History, SAS

Robert C. Like, Professor, Family Medicine and Community Health, and Director, Ctr. For Healthy Families and Cultural Diversity, RWJMS

John T. Lynch, Professor, English, FASN

James F. McGlew, Professor and Chair, Classics, SAS

Charlene Mires, Professor, History, Director, Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, FASC

Barry V. Qualls, Professor, English, SAS

Nicholas A. Rennie, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director, Germanic, Russian and East European Languages and Literatures, SAS

Richard A. Serrano, Professor, French and Comparative Literature, SAS

Evelyn Shockley, Associate Professor, English, SAS

Larry S. Temkin, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Philosophy, SAS

Carolyn Williams, Professor and Chair, English, SAS

Staff to the Committee:

Robert Heffernan, Executive Director, Institutional Research and Planning

Linda G. Schulze, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs