CLARKSTON, Ga. –Perimeter College professors Katy Crowther and Katherine Perry have received a $150,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to support the creation of experiential learning courses and community-based student projects. Their project, “Discovering Where We Are: Place-Based Experiential Learning on Two-Year Commuter Campuses,” was one of only three NEH-funded proposals out of 23 submissions.
Both Perry, an English professor, and Crowther, an associate professor of English, are excited to introduce the experiential learning labs concept to interested Perimeter faculty. The three-year grant will help create a robust experiential, project-based learning program focused on identity and placemaking at the college.
“Katherine and I have been involved in Georgia State’s EPIC project, which brings experiential learning to undergraduates, allowing them to participate in project-based learning with a real-world project with real-world deliverables,” Crowther said.
The success of their projects inspired them to write the grant, which will center on the unique attributes and community of each campus.
“We want students to know what it means to be on that [particular] campus in that area. We were really thinking about GSU’s Strategic Plan on the aspect of belonging and sense of place as we wrote this grant,” Perry said.
Crowther’s Perspective course students recently completed a project centered on issues of disability and access on the college’s five campuses. Perry’s EPIC class project involved finding community resources for formerly incarcerated individuals.
“This grant aims to train faculty to run project labs on every campus, so they can create projects tied to the communities where the campuses are located,” she said.
Funding from the grant will be used to develop a program of faculty development workshops, resource building and community engagement that will lead to the creation of humanities-focused project lab courses.
Faculty can draw from their own personal passion or disciplines to create their project lab. Crowther and Perry will be recruiting 10 faculty over the next two years.
The courses will be embedded in pre-existing “Perspectives” courses, core classes that focus on critical thinking and humanities topics and engage students with community-facing projects developed around the theme of identity and placemaking.
For the first phase, five selected faculty will participate in workshops to develop a project lab, select a community partner and create a Perspectives course. A second faculty cohort of five will be selected in 2025.
By the end of the second year, the first cohort will have their projects up and running. In the third year, students in the respective campus projects will present their projects during a symposium, Crowther said.
Faculty will receive some summer compensation for participation.
Both Crowther and Perry hope that the project labs created on each campus will provide a springboard to the Atlanta Campus, where other similar projects are conducted.
Story by Rebecca Rakoczy
Photos provided by Katy Crowther
Dr. Katherine Perry
Katherine Perry is a Professor of English at Perimeter College where she teaches First-Year Composition, American Literature, Creative Writing, and a “Project Lab” course on the Georgia State University Prison Education Project (GSUPEP). She is a co-founder of GSUPEP and a poet whose book, Long Alabama Summer, was published in 2017 with Finishing Line Press.
Kathryn Crowther is an Associate Professor of English at Perimeter College where she teaches First-Year Composition, British Literature, and a “Project Lab” course on Disability, Access, and Inclusion. Dr. Crowther also works as a faculty associate for CETLOE where she offers workshops and conducts research in areas such as Inclusive Pedagogy, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), and Universal Design for Learning.