A group of faculty at SIU-Carbondale recently received a grant that's designed to help attract more students to the humanities.
Mont Allen - an assistant professor of classics and art history - is leading the effort.
Allen says the National Endowment for the Humanities created the grant in response to declining enrollments in humanities programs as more students major in the STEM disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
"The NEH started a brand new program called the Humanities Connections Grant that awards $100,000 to teams of faculty who develop innovative programs that are designed to lure students in the STEM disciplines and in other kinds of applied disciplines into greater study of the humanities."
Allen says the effort will result in a new minor in ancient practices that will be unique to the SIU-C campus.
He says it'll apply to modern society because employers looking for scientists and engineers also want workers who have a historical background and cultural awareness offered by the humanities. For example, Allen says a senior this year in mechanical engineering opened an employer's eyes when she helped re-create an ancient Greek mechanism
"At her job interview, as soon as her prospective employers found out that she had created this analogue, 2,500 year old Greek computer, they were so excited; they just couldn't stop talking about it with her. She walked out already with a job lined up for after graduation."
He says the grant money will help the faculty develop a few new courses to complete the minor, which will be available to students starting in the Fall of 2021.