Grant Paves Way for New Honors Curriculum at Western

Only award of its kind received in Colorado

“What is art for?” This enduring question will be explored in a new course, offered by Dr. Kelsey Bennett, a lecturer in English at Western, made possible by a two-year, $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Bennett’s award will be used to develop and teach a freshmen-level undergraduate seminar course, designed primarily for students in Western’s Honors Program and other qualified students with majors of all disciplines, to explore the purpose and relevance of art.

NEH Enduring Questions grant program supports faculty members in the preparation of a new course on a fundamental concern of human life as addressed by the humanities. This NEH program encourages undergraduates and their professors to engage in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential ideas, works and thinkers over the centuries.

“Honors Program goals and outcomes include developing a knowledge of the Good; fostering interdisciplinary community; encouraging intellectual risk-taking; and strengthening social intelligence through communication,” Bennett explained. “The course will be developed with these goals and outcomes in mind, which in turn support Western’s institutional mission of ‘promoting intellectual maturity and personal growth’ as students continue on their way toward becoming constructive citizens in local, national, and global communities.”

NEH awarded 248 grants through its last funding cycle. The award to Western was one of only three grants awarded in the State of Colorado, and the only Enduring Questions Pilot Course Grant awarded in the state.

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

The NEH was created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, which supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Learn more at