FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Susan Uselmann Wins Important NEH Grant for Developing New Creativity Course
March 25, 2016
Eastman School of Music Assistant Professor of Humanities Susan Uselmann has won a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant called “NEH Enduring Questions”. The grant is awarded “for the development of a new course that demonstrates the enduring value of the Humanities by extending beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.” The new course will be offered in spring 2017 and will focus on creativity.
According to NEH, “Enduring questions persist across historical eras, regions, and world cultures. They inform intellectual, ethical, artistic, and religious traditions and engage thoughtful people from all walks of life. They transcend time and place but are also relevant to our lives today. Enduring questions have more than one plausible or compelling answer, allow for dialogue across generations, and inspire genuine intellectual pluralism.”
Three excerpts from professor Uselmann’s proposal include: “What is creativity?”, “How is creativity perceived differently over time and by different cultures?”, and “Does creativity have an ethical dimension?” These questions grew out of Uselmann’s experiences teaching in the Humanities department at the Eastman School of Music, where students are deeply focused on becoming professional musicians and educators.
The Eastman School of Music is part of the University of Rochester, a research-based institution that prides itself on educating students in the S.T.E.M. disciplines and offering opportunities in the Fine and Performing Arts. Yet although both of these facets of the university are essential to its mission, they do not always interact with each other. According to Uselmann, “I see great potential in developing a Humanities course that brings together the various “silos” of the university to address a common interest.”
Susan Uselmann was born in Chicago, received her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003. Before coming to Eastman in 2010, she taught for five years at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and then at St. John Fisher College in Rochester. She is currently at work on a book entitled Imaginary Readers: Lay Literacy, Memory and Devotional Reading in Late-Medieval England.
Although her Ph.D. and publications focus on literature written before 1600, Professor Uselmann’s research and teaching encompass a wide range of interests, including the history of languages and reading practices; composition and rhetoric; mythology and folklore; gender and women’s studies and literary theory; as well as linguistics, creative writing, and contemporary poetry. At Eastman she has taught the Freshman Writing Seminar and Creative Writing, as well as courses on Fairy Tales, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and English as a Second Language.