HP in the Parks

A Proposal for the National Parks by
The University of North Texas

Center for the Humanities and the Arts
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research

And

The National Park Service

Humanities in the Parks proposes to place graduate students in the humanities (e.g., literature, history, philosophy, religious studies, fine arts) within various units of the National Park Service for periods of 12 to 14 weeks. Drawn from universities nationwide, student interns would:
  • lead hikes and make public presentations to help visitors deepen their appreciation of the aesthetic, intellectual, and contemplative motivations that brought them to the park, as well as ethical, cultural, and historical aspects of park management;
  • help parks design interpretive and educational media (brochures, exhibits, photographs, documentaries, etc.) that more powerfully highlight these aspects of the park;
  • conduct training seminars (for instance, "short courses" in environmental ethics, history, or aesthetics) to help NPS personnel (often trained in the sciences) to better articulate these perspectives and share them with park audiences; and
  • create training materials that the National Park Service can use in its own efforts to continually educate and professionalize its workforce.
In preparation for this work, students would:
  • Already have taken a graduate course at their home institution in environmental humanities.
  • Participate in "Public Humanities," a two-week seminar in May of each year at the University of Colorado, which will train interns in the skills of translating the insights and perspectives of the humanities for a variety of audiences.
  • Serve in an internship for 12 to 14 weeks.
  • Be eligible for a dissertation fellowship to continue their work on the themes of their internship.
  • Internships may either be on-site, involve occasional visits, or be done remotely.
The program is to be led by the two co-directors, who will review applications, run the Maymester course, and oversee the progress of the interns; and by a program manager, who will supervise advertising and make extensive contact with the various units of theNational Park System. The National Park Service will be closely involved in all aspects of the program. Interns will be drawn from a national pool of graduate students.