A Message from the Program Director

Colin McAllister
Humanities Program Director

Welcome to the Humanities at UCCS, which is broadly comprised of our academic course program (HUM), the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities, and the Center for Research Frontiers in the Digital Humanities. 

In a rapidly changing, fragmented, and sometimes chaotic world, a cultivated appreciation of our collective likeness, shared capacities, and common aspirations can make us whole, and able to understand and savor the rich depth of human diversity and experience. To the ancient Romans, the concept of humanitas included an education that instilled the virtues of character required to live an active and fulfilling life: dignity, integrity, and temperance. The study of the humanities recognizes and informs the intrinsic value and potential for the excellence of each human being, curating a space wherein thinkers from many different fields engage to explore fundamental questions of universal and enduring importance. The increasingly transdisciplinary and inclusive reach of the humanities offers a wide variety of methodologies and approaches that can be placed in dialogue to critically evaluate varying perspectives and engage broadly within a variety of specialist fields. These fresh syntheses direct our attention away from personal preferences and narrow concerns, informing both research agendas and pedagogical practice.

Through the study of the arts, history, and cultures—as well as philosophical and theological discourse—we may be persuaded that the ‘totality of sensory-empirical data such as observation, the sciences and rational analysis which can assemble and order them, is not the whole story’ (George Steiner, Grammars of Creation). Vivid interaction with others outside of one’s own field of expertise generates radiant creativity and innovation.

About the Program

Humanities is the critical study of human culture and experience. The purpose of Humanities courses is to help students better understand themselves as well as others and the world at large.

The core Humanities courses are team-taught, writing intensive, and multi-disciplinary. They combine the study of literature, history, art, theatre, film, music, religion, philosophy, and more, with an emphasis on the interaction of these fields with social, political, economic, and scientific events.

Academic Focus

"The question, 'who are we as human beings?' is perhaps the most important one that we can ask. The Humanities, like no other academic discipline, attempts to answer this question in the broadest, most comprehensive way imaginable."

- Dr. Jeff Scholes, Department of Philosophy

​"I study Humanities to figure out the best and deepest questions to ask, knowing that searching for the answers will be a lifelong pursuit. The Humanities also cultivate doubt, uncertainty, skepticism, and the desire to research further and more deeply, all the more important in an age of fake news and the constant reiteration of false claims."

- Dr. Paul Harvey, Department of History

"The Humanities broadly addresses those questions that we all face as human beings living in a complex world. Essential to this endless exploration is the dissipation of disciplinary boundaries and the search for new method and perspective that is inherent in Humanities as a branch of knowledge. It is our ability to make connections and consider diverse outlooks simultaneously that allow us to push thought forward."

- Dr. Max Shulman, Director of the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities, Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance

"There is an old meme that says something like 'STEM can teach you how to clone a dinosaur, but the Humanities can tell you why that is a bad idea.' As someone who works at the intersection of digital technologies and traditional humanities approaches, this strikes me as fundamentally true. Technologies are increasingly shaping the world around us, and new developments are on the horizon. The Humanities provide us with the tools to navigate this future with the focus on interrogating information, questioning assumptions, pushing back against established narratives, and exploring the deeper question of the 'why' in stories…hopefully avoiding the fate that befell Jurassic Park. Studying the Humanities deepens our experience of life in the present, helps us appreciate the past, and may be the key to us all navigating the future." 
- Dr. Helen Davies, Co-Director, Digital Humanities Center, Assistant Professor of English

"Interdisciplinary Humanities! More easily said than done. Let us appreciate and celebrate our Humanities colleagues who have given so much of their intellectual life to practicing the difficult art of interdisciplinarity, and who make the extra effort to develop and foster expertise in different academic disciplines opening themselves and our students to new ways of thinking and experiencing the world." 

- Dr. Dorothea Olkowski, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

The Heller Center for Arts & Humanities

The Heller Center promotes creative and intellectual engagement for the arts, humanities, and social sciences. We do this through fellowships, salon talks, exhibits, workshops, theatrical performances, and other programs.

Featured Faculty Research

Center for Research Frontiers in the Digital Humanities

The Center for Research Frontiers in the Digital Humanities is a brand-new center at UCCS. The co-directors, Drs. Roger Martinez and Helen Davies, are thrilled to announce the official founding of the center in the spring of 2023.

This center brings together the extensive DH research and teaching at UCCS with efforts to expand access to digital approaches for students and faculty. As the CREFDH grows, this website will function as a hub and a platform to highlight the work of affiliated faculty.