About Employing Humanities

We are excited to launch Employing Humanities , an initiative to make stronger, more explicit links between what students do in their coursework and what they’ll do when they graduate. The Mellon Foundation saw the potential of Employing Humanities and provided $1,000,000 to support Humanities’ undergraduate majors and minors with paid and for-credit experiential learning opportunities that connect their classroom curriculum with hands-on training, including undergraduate research and internships.

Employing Humanities will also connect students with community organizations through service learning opportunities that not only broaden student experiences but directly impact society. We aim to equip our students with the skills to succeed as socially-just leaders in professional, academic, and community-engaged settings.

Rebecca Snyder sitting at her desk.
Rebecca Snyder at work digitizing the MAH’s LGBTQ+ Collection in her Undergraduate Public Fellowship. [Photo credit: The Humanities Institute]

Our Goals

  1. Increase Experiential Learning Opportunities for Humanities Majors
  2. Create Career Paths & Programs for Humanities Majors
  3. Implement New Humanities Curricular Innovations for All Majors

New cross-disciplinary academic certificates such as Humanizing Technology and Visualizing Abolition Studies are helping more UC Santa Cruz students experience the value of humanistic training, regardless of their major.

We believe that training in the humanities is essential for a successful and fulfilling future, both individually and collectively. Our work stems from the idea that the humanities transform lives and society for the better, and must play a central role in the imagining and iteration of the engaged democracy we aspire to be. As our alumni know, students and faculty in the Humanities at UCSC have a long history of reimagining the world; today, we are proving once again that we excel as thinkers and doers.

Experiential Learning comes in many forms Internship: Integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting at local non-profit organizations, community archives, or cultural institutions. Public Fellowship: A unique form of internship where students work on public humanities research, programming, or communications. Students contribute to the creation of a public-facing exhibit, product, or event. Undergraduate Research: Scaffolded inquiry or An investigation conducted under the guidance of a faculty mentor, that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. Includes: apprenticeship, consultant, joint creation, research teams, course-based. Research Assistantship: Students are hired to work directly with a faculty member on their current research project. Assistants gain many professional research skills that prepare them for graduate studies. Project-Based Learning: An engaging, open-ended, and complex real-world question or Challenge motivates students to identify and research the concepts and principles needed to work through problems. Service-Learning: Meaningful community service or a community-engaged project that directly intersects with the academic field. Students apply their knowledge and skills to address or advocate for community needs. Immersion Travel: Students actively participate in and are exposed to different cultures, languages, communities, and ways of life. Students gain education in their respective areas of study and an expanded cultural perspective. Field Study: Students earn course credit to observe, interpret, and participate actively in the field. Faculty supervise an academic component.

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential Learning is a process in which students engage in cycles of direct experience and focused reflection in order to enhance personal and intellectual growth, as well as acquire practical skills. Experiential learning informs many methodologies and can occur in a wide variety of settings on and off campus, and usually takes a ‘learn-by-doing’ approach.

Experiential Learning Cycle


Active engagement through a concrete experience.


Reflect on & process the experience, analyze, and make meaning.


Conceptualize ideas and develop new insights. Connect theory and practice. Examine lessons learned.


Act and apply the knowledge gained in future experiences.


Continually identify improvement areas, reinforce learning.

Employing Humanities will create an array of opportunities such as:

How to Get Involved

Two students studying at their laptops.


Visit our student page for more information about opportunities.

Front of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History building.

Prospective Partners

Interested in partnering with us and hosting interns at your organization? Visit our Community Partners page to learn more.

Faculty and staff talking in a conference room.


If you are interested in creating curricular or co-curricular opportunities for students, please visit the faculty page. Email hum-experiential-learning@ucsc.edu with any questions.

Three humanities students waving at the camera.


With your support, our Employing Humanities fund will create experiential learning opportunities for all Humanities majors, transfer student programming, and Humanities certificate programs targeting STEM students.

Email our Experiential Learning Coordinator Kylie Rachwalski at hum-experiential-learning@ucsc.edu with questions.

Employing Humanities is made possible thanks to the generous support of The Mellon Foundation and the Helen & Will Webster Foundation.