Liberal Arts Expertise in a Changing World

The Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities was established by Professors Touba Ghadessi and Gen Liang to offer students opportunities to explore the humanities as they apply in a wide variety of intellectual and professional contexts.

The WIIH invites scholars, artists, and other distinguished guests based on an annual theme that connects the humanities to other fields of study. Through the WIIH, visitors share their expertise in large venues and intimate settings with members of the Wheaton community. Via lectures, performances, exhibitions, and discussions, we give students and colleagues the opportunity to explore ideas more deeply by engaging with expert practitioners who are often teacher-scholars, by sharing innovative intellectual inquiries with our undergraduates and by creating a forum for thoughtful exchange in and beyond the Wheaton community.

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Our Mission: The Humanities as Professional Practice

The WIIH enables students to take learning in the classroom and apply it to real world situations. Each year, a team of two professors co-directs the Institute by developing a cutting-edge theme and designing activities that explore it. Conferences, art exhibitions, performances, film series, panels, and lectures bring distinguished guests from New England and beyond to present innovative scholarship and work. The WIIH directly injects these activities into the topics, coursework, and pedagogy of courses. The directors teach two courses based on the theme and activities of the Institute each year.  Students are fellows of the Institute and, as such, are given the opportunity to interact with distinguished guests in a variety of settings. Here, students step out of their comfort zones as they employ their knowledge and test it with guests. To do so, students must practice professional skills and learn to apply knowledge, disseminate it in an effective manner, and convey their informed point of view. Alums of the WIIH may continue their professionalization by serving on the Advisory Board. The WIIH brings together scholarship, creative endeavors, coursework, faculty, students, and alums in exciting and interconnected ways.

Showcasing the humanities, the WIIH fosters dialogue with the arts, social sciences, natural and applied sciences, and professional studies (business, engineering, law, medicine, and technology). Thus, all these fields will envision and devise new ways  for individuals privileged to have a liberal arts education to contribute to the world we live in now.

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Information for Faculty

The Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities serves to organize events at the College, encourage faculty collaboration across disciplines and divisions, fuel curricular dynamism, provide students professional development opportunities, and connect them with alums.

Advancing Wheaton’s Connections curriculum in vigorous ways, two faculty co-directors from different disciplines collaborate each year to explore a theme and present programming that cut across humanities disciplines and also intersect with the arts, social sciences, applied/natural sciences, and professional studies. The WIIH’s activities model for the Wheaton community how the humanities critically contribute to other disciplines and how together they help us understand, engage with, and shape our world. The two courses that the co-directors teach are a central part of the WIIH’s interdisciplinary mission and they may be team-taught and/or their curricular assignments may be connected with each other’s. Other courses from across the campus will also be invited to participate in the activities set by the co-directors in formal and structured or informal and unstructured ways. Conferences, art exhibitions, performances, film series, panels, and lectures bring distinguished guests from New England and beyond to present innovative scholarship and work. Faculty have exciting opportunities to create innovative programming and curricula. They make connections with leading scholars in their fields and by inviting them to Wheaton, faculty expand on their own scholarly interests while transforming Wheaton into a site of fertile intellectual exchange.

The WIIH co-directors enable their students to take learning achieved in the classroom and apply it to real world situations. These students are fellows of the WIIH and faculty encourage them to step out of their comfort zones to employ their knowledge and test it with invited guests. To do so, students will practice professional skills and learn to absorb knowledge, disseminate it in an effective manner, and convey their informed point of view.

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Information for Students

The Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities (WIIH) helps students expand their classroom learning in practical ways.

Students acquire real-world skills by meeting distinguished professionals, taking classes that are connected to WIIH activities, attending exciting events, lectures, exhibitions, and performances, meeting and interacting with innovators in the field and making connections with these professionals.

Students form bonds with professors and other students that go beyond conventional classrooms and Wheaton, itself. The WIIH is a home that bridges academic studies and professional skills and helps create well-rounded students and future leaders.

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