J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award: CIC’s Humanities Research for the Public Good Program

Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC) Humanities Research for the Public Good Program is a 2020 recipient of the J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award honors an individual, institution, or organization that promotes greater public awareness, appreciation, or support of archival activities or programs. 

This program engages undergraduate students in archival research on topics that address issues of public significance. Selected teams—each consisting of a faculty member, a librarian or archivist, and a senior academic administrator—receive grant funds to collaborate with a local community organization on a project to showcase a significant collection of primary sources held by a CIC member institution and address a topic of public concern. Twenty-five private colleges and universities around the country have had an opportunity to highlight primary source collections through public programs, and have created community partnerships. Many undergraduates had the opportunity to spend two semesters getting to know their collections intimately through processing and researching collections, or conducting research in previously processed materials. Projects have taken many forms, including exhibitions, public discussions, websites, and podcasts. Engagement with archivists and primary sources is front and center in this innovative program. 

As stated by the CIC President Richard Ekman for the program’s 2018 launch, “Independent colleges are stronger when they share their resources with their communities—and so are their communities. Those resources often include significant archival or library collections that can illuminate issues of real public importance.”

The project is directed by Anne M. Valk, executive director of the American Social History Project (CUNY Graduate Center), and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Participating institutions are detailed at www.cic.edu/PublicHumanities.

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