Lynn Botelho, Distinguished University Professor and professor of history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is the recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation to lead a “Big Ideas: The Humanities and the Professions” program at IUP.

Botelho will lead a team of faculty across the university to offer the initiative to students, which is designed to integrate and embed the liberal arts into student career preparation, giving students a competitive edge in the workplace. Students who complete the three-year program will receive a certificate in the humanities designed especially for pre-professional and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students.

This is IUP's first Teagle Foundation grant, and its first “Big Ideas” project. It will begin in fall 2021. Botelho and her team expect about 100 students to participate in the program.

“The resulting Big Ideas certificate will be the result of robust collaboration between faculty members in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the professions as they co-design a curriculum in a financially sustainable way and with the particular needs of IUP students at its core,” Botelho said.

“IUP's Big Ideas program is being designed to integrate the humanities into our students' often demanding credit loads, rather than adding additional time and expense,” she said. “Big Ideas also will pay special attention to providing students with career-specific undergraduate research experiences, drawing together their career aspirations and the world of the humanities to provide them with a professionally meaningful capstone experience.”

Big Ideas is open to all students and provides a road map to navigate their liberal studies requirements. Two College of Humanities and Social Sciences classes, carrying Liberal Studies credit, lay the foundation in the student's first year through the reading and discussion of Transformative Texts, such as works by William Shakespeare or the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

During years two and three, Big Ideas students take three additional classes humanities courses from themes that reflect their career interests, such as Mind, Body, and Health and Management, Organization, and Business Systems. During their senior year, students integrate their pre-professional and humanities training into a final capstone project. Capstone projects can be as diverse as “population study and community ecology” to “personal debt management and the campus community.”