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Bridging Scholarly Work and Community Outreach

The Modern Language Association recognizes the Humanities Center in their Department Spotlight series.

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Photo by Nate Edwards © BYU PHOTO 2016 All Rights Reserved (801) 422-7322

The Humanities Center serves as an integral part of the College of Humanities’ public-facing, community outreach efforts. The center’s commitment to the humanities has attracted the attention and praise of many esteemed academic organizations. Recently, the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) Academic Program Services (MAPS) featured the Humanities Center as their Winter 2023 Department Highlight and interviewed Director Rex Nielson to discuss the success of the center.

In his interview with MAPS, Nielson discussed what makes the Humanities Center unique and what has led to its success in recent years. Nielson highlighted the focus on language learning through partnerships with the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies and the interdisciplinary collaborations with other colleges at BYU called “Humanities across the Curriculum.” These collaborations take the form of events such as the weekly Humanities Center Colloquium or International Education Week.

Nielson also mentioned that the Humanities Center strives to increase scholarly work not only within the College (through sponsoring faculty and undergraduate fellows), but also within the community. One new community outreach project is the Provo Walks Lab, which will allow community members to walk around Provo and experience the history, landscape, and culture that the city has to offer. In tandem with these efforts, BYU recently joined the new MLA Partnership Network, where professors have a greater opportunity to participate in the organization through increased access to materials and conferences.

The MLA is one of the largest and most prestigious professional networks in the humanities. They provide an opportunity to scholars to discuss research findings and teaching experiences within the realm of language and literature. The university’s reputation and excellence in the humanities meant that it was one of the first to be invited into the MLA’s new partnership network, and this spotlight represents the MLA’s continued support and recognition of the College’s work.

To read Nielson’s full interview, click here.

To learn more about the BYU Humanities Center, click here.