The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded $63,000 to Joseph Falocco, associate professor of English in late August.
The funds will contribute to Falocco’s directing of a Shakespearean seminar for artists.
“The award highlights the intersection of both English and Theatre,” Falocco said. “Years ago, I worked with the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express. It was 1993, and we worked in groups to move around the country performing Shakespeare.”
Falocco spoke about the difficulties in obtaining humanities grants.
“It is not easy to keep Shakespeare alive in the 21st century,” Falocco said. “That can be done through performance in this kind of interdisciplinary study. It is difficult to teach Shakespeare without the performance. If we lose contact with Shakespeare, it becomes difficult to understand other works.”
The seminar is titled “Shakespeare Without Fear: Teaching the Plays,” and will be held next summer in late June. There will be an on-campus showing in Flowers Hall 113. Participation will consist of about 12 resident actors.
While the award is mostly envisioned for faculty, the grant affects indirect recipients and officials as well. Bethany Tang, humanities alumnus and southeastern Texas educator in Crosby ISD said defunding of specific grants affects studies.
“I feel that grants are harder to obtain,” Tang said. “I taught math when I first started in education and there were a lot of grants to apply for. For the arts? Not as many. You also have to prove yourself for an arts grant.”
Melanie Liddle, senior administrative assistant of the Honors College, said the Undergraduate Research Fellowship grant aims to fund specific educational focuses.
“Other grants and ways of funding exist that are similar to the NEH grant,” Liddle said.
Texas’ 35th Congressional District Representative, Lloyd Doggett, made an official statement expressing his disagreement with federal funding cuts to educational departments of the
“I have spoken out against President Trump’s proposed budget cuts, including slashing funding for the Department of Education by 13.5 percent. We need to invest in education and in our students, not cut funding,” Doggett stated in an April press release.
Margaret Plympton, the NEH’s deputy chair, sent out an official press release in May stating the NEH’s view on the importance of humanities funding.
“Over these five decades, NEH has awarded more than $5.3 billion for humanities projects through more than 63,000 grants,” Plympton stated. “NEH grants have reached every part of the country and provided humanities programs and experiences to benefit all of our citizens.”
Funding for independent projects such as Falocco’s Shakespearean Seminar is offered through the Undergraduate Research Fellowship. The next grant-writing seminar will be Sept. 22.