Summit on Teaching the Humanities

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Join us on July 25, 2020, to develop a new approach to teaching humanities.


Dr. Corey Olsen – suit and tie
Corey Olsen
University President; Board Member Ex Officio; Lecturer; Coach
Dr. Sara Brown
Sara Brown
Language and Literature Department Chair; M.A. Thesis Coordinator; Lecturer; Preceptor


July 25, 2020


July 25, 2020

On July 25, 2020, Signum invites qualified individuals to join Dr. Corey Olsen and Dr. Sara Brown for a day of discussion on reimagining how we teach the humanities. Come with ideas on how to build a new approach to higher education, and be prepared for a day of conversation, brainstorming, debate – and determination.

Note that this is an invitation-only event. If you are interested in joining, please send a Statement of Interest to [email protected].

Along with your Statement, please provide:

  • A description of your primary areas of expertise;
  • Mention of any secondary academic areas of interest in which you might be comfortable working; and
  • A CV.

After the summit, a white paper will be published describing the new program. Summit attendees will be offered a co-authorship credit.

Why a Summit on the Humanities?

Signum is preparing for the next phase of institutional growth – the introduction of an undergraduate program focused on the humanities. As we have done with our online-only Master of Arts program in Language & Literature, we want to build a digitally native undergraduate Humanities Program that is affordable, accessible, and focused on the needs of students without shortchanging or overworking our faculty and staff.

For more information about the purpose and goals of the summit, see the announcement on the Signum blog.

Preliminary Schedule

All times are Eastern US

  • 11:00 – 11:15 AM: Opening and Welcome
  • 11:15 AM – 12:00 PM: Plenary Discussion: Core Principles
  • 12:00 – 12:15: Break
  • 12:15 – 1:00: Plenary Discussion: Specific Program Plans
  • 1:00 – 1:30: Lunch Break
  • 1:30 – 2:00: Discipline Breakout Sessions
  • 2:00 – 2:15: Break
  • 2:15 – 3:00: Topical Breakout Sessions I
  • 3:00 – 3:15: Break
  • 3:15 – 4:00: Topical Breakout Sessions II
  • 4:00 – 4:15: Break
  • 4:15 – 5:15: Plenary Discussion: Reporting Back
  • 5:15 – 5:30: Closing: Next Steps

Humanities Summit FAQ

Why is Signum hosting a Summit meeting?  What’s the big idea?

We at Signum are concerned for the future of the Humanities.  We see that around the world, the Humanities are being systematically devalued in modern higher education.  We plan to take action in response to this crisis, and we desire the input and collaboration of as many of our colleagues in the Humanities as possible. 

So is this just a theoretical discussion?

We will be having a general discussion of our collective vision for the Humanities, but Signum U is also planning actually to implement a new undergraduate Humanities program.  Summit participants are also welcome to take these ideas back to their home institutions!

Who should attend the Summit?

Anyone who is teaching or training to teach the Humanities at the higher education level is very welcome.  Send a statement of interest and CV to [email protected].

What do you mean by the Humanities?  What disciplines are included?

Would you define your subject as part of the Humanities?  If so, send us a statement of interest!  If you believe that your discipline should have a seat at this table, we would like to hear from you!

What is the goal of the Summit?  What are we trying to accomplish?

The outcome of our discussions will be a concept paper describing our vision for the future of the humanities, which we will publish on the Signum University website and share widely through the media.  Anyone who participates in the Summit and would like to sign their names to this paper as co-authors are welcome to do so.

What will actually happen on the day of the Summit?

The Summit will be a working day, full of discussions in large and small groups, with lots of note-taking and collaboration.  There will be no reading of papers, as this is not an academic conference; we will want all of our attendees to be engaged and involved in our deliberations.

How will the discussions be facilitated? 

There will be some plenary sessions where we review and discuss broad topics as a large group, and there will also be several breakout sessions which will report back to the full group.  

What platform will the summit be using?

We will use Signum’s classroom software, which is GoToWebinar.  Attendees will be sent links to all of their sessions for the day, and we will have people standing by to assist anyone who wanders down the wrong digital corridor.

Will there be any cost associated with attending the summit?

No!  The summit is completely free to attend.  We look forward to your ideas and enthusiasm.

What will happen after the Summit?  Will there be any follow-up?

Right after the Summit, we will begin finalizing our concept paper on our vision for the Humanities.  Participants who would like to contribute to this process are welcome!  After the publication of this paper, Signum will also begin the first steps of the implementation of our own undergraduate Humanities program, and participants in the Summit will be invited to submit specific proposals for courses in our new program, if they are interested.



[email protected]