Center for the Humanities

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Annual Reports and Funded Projects

Director's Report 2019–2020

Budget Report

The Center's operating budget for fiscal year 2020 included approximately $68,625 in interest earnings on our endowment, supplemented by $20,840 in funds from the quasi-endowment withdrawn to support pre-tenure faculty course releases.

  • The Center awarded 30% of its annual budget to support course reassignments for pre-tenure faculty.
  • It awarded 16% in programming grants for sponsored events, ongoing programs, and invited speakers.
  • It awarded 40% in support of faculty research, including 11 travel grants (20% of the budget), 7 grants for materials and services (11%), 1 semester of research support for the Research Scholar Award (4%), and 3 research grants in the supplemental sabbatical support program (5%).
  • The Center dedicated 3% to support internal programs including the Colloquium Series and Humanities Reads.
  • The remaining 9% of the budget includes the Director's discretionary fund, summer stipend, and spring course reassignment. Only 15% of the discretionary fund was spent in fiscal year 2020 and the remaining amount will carry over to the general budget for 2021.
Please visit our 2019–2020 Funded Projects to learn more about the faculty projects that the Center supported.

On a final budgetary note, the 2020 fiscal year saw the conclusion of the Ralph & Sylvia G. Green Foundation restricted fund, which supported many years of excellent programming via course development grants in arts and humanities as well as the Myron "Mike" Marty Arts + Humanities Lecture. Although the restricted fund was scheduled to expire in fiscal year 2019, though good stewardship of the account, the Board was able to accommodate an extra year of awards, as detailed below.  


  • Faculty members Sandra Patton-Imani and Robert Collis both received Green Foundation course development funds to develop courses that meaningfully integrate the arts and humanities.
  • The 2020 Marty Lecture was awarded to Judit Hersko, an installation artist working at the intersection of the arts and sciences. This award is named after the former A&S Dean and Professor Emeritus of History, Dr. Marty, who passed away in July of 2019. More information on Judit Hersko can be found on her website, and at various interviews and articles online.

As with all of our friends and colleagues across campus, the latter months of fiscal year 2020 presented many challenges and disruptions to the Center's activities due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of travel disruptions, Judit Hersko's visit for the 2020 Marty Lecture has been postponed to spring of 2021. We look forward to rescheduling the robust week-long program of lectures, performances, workshops, and class visits that this award supports.

  • Our 2020–2023 Humanities Research Scholar Award was given to Lisa West (Department of English) for her work-in-progress Fictions of Domestic Abuse, which argues that fictional techniques of early American literature played an important role in bringing before the public a variety of behaviors that now fall into the category of domestic abuse. While not advocating overtly for legal or social reform, the fictional works at the center of Dr. West's research occupy a space between nascent awareness of a social issue and society’s capacity to address that issue through more formal means.
  • Finally, our 2020 Edward C. Truman Award for an outstanding student in the humanities was given to the Drake undergraduate Avery Malinski, a double major in English and Law, Politics, and Society. In the words of one of her nominators, "In addition to her outstanding academic achievement, she is currently one of four writing fellows. In that capacity, she works with a class of humanities students throughout the duration of a semester to tutor them on their writing. Ms. Malinski has also served as a writing tutor since her sophomore year. In her first year at Drake, Ms. Malinski was nominated for the lower division paper of the year award, and last fall, she led a group of ten honors practicum students in their introductory course to the Honors Program. Additionally, Ms. Malinski has served as president of a mental health awareness organization she started at Drake, and this summer she will work for Edward Jones’ Risk Management and Compliance division." As her second nominator concludes, "Avery Malinski is a fabulously intelligent student who embodies the attitudes and capacities we hope for in a Truman Award winner."


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