Governors State University Receives Prestigious National Humanities Grant

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Equipping Veterans to Look at War Trauma  

University Park, IL–(ENEWSPF)–March 29, 2017: The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), in conjunction with the Veterans Resource Center at Governors State University, has been named one of ten Illinois organizations to receive $100,000 in National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funding for a project that broadly explores the ways in which members of the military, and their families, experience trauma. The Dialogues on the Experience of War project was designed by GSU Professor Rosemary Johnsen and CAS Interim Dean Andrae Marak, experts on WWI literature and the oral histories of war veterans. In total, 208 humanities projects were funded nationally, in the amount of $21.7 million.

Project Co-director Professor Johnsen says, “The humanities have long been an important means of responding to war and its consequences, and through war-related poetry, fiction, film, and memoirs, program participants will be able to better engage in making meaning of experiences of war, their own and that of others.” The program will recruit and train veteran students to serve as instructors and small group discussion leaders for a special English department eight-week intensive course called “War, Trauma, and the Humanities.” Student Disability Services and the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) will provide support for program participants.

The program will culminate with a town hall meeting that will place the experiences of the student veteran instructors and their grappling with the material from the class front and center. The members of the class, local veterans, and interested community members will be invited to attend. The following semester GSU will host a series of roundtable discussions at its annual research day; these sessions will be co-facilitated by Johnsen, Marak, and Director of the VRC Kevin Smith. Other public forum guest speaker events include talks by Patrick Russell of the Making History Project and R. M. Ryan, author of There’s a Man with a Gun over There.

The program perfectly aligns with the motto of GSU’s celebrated Veterans Resource Center; “veterans helping veterans.”


Governors State University serves approximately 6000 undergraduate and graduate students with degree and certificate programs that prepare them for success in business, industry, healthcare, the arts, and education. As a state university, GSU is committed to providing high-quality, accessible, and responsible higher education opportunities. GSU is located 30 miles south of Chicago in University Park, IL and offers the most affordable undergraduate tuition and fees in the Chicagoland area. GSU is committed to embracing diversity and academic excellence.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. The Endowment awards grants to top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.