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Dr. Christy Wenger receives $110K CARES Act Cultural Organizations grant

ISSUED: 28 July 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University has received a $110,000 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Cultural Organizations grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grant, titled “Humanities Hub at Shepherd: Surviving the Coronavirus Crisis,” will support humanities faculty and staff, enable them to increase online humanities programming, and provide for smaller in-person courses.

Dr. Christy Wenger, associate professor of English and project director, said the grant will provide emergency salary support for faculty in history, English, foreign languages, art, and music. The grant will help Shepherd retain and expand instructor positions, allowing for smaller classes to accommodate the increased demands of online instruction and social distancing. The grant will also provide salary support to make additional online programming possible through the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War.

“Students will benefit from these funds because we can provide safer in-person environments and smaller class sizes in hybrid and online modalities,” Wenger said. “Particularly for humanities courses, which often require a great deal of one-on-one work with students, decreased class size and well-supported faculty translate into greater learning opportunities for students and improve the university’s ability to retain our best teachers. That’s a win-win of great importance during a time of such turmoil when teachers are being asked to do even more with fewer resources.”

Wenger said Shepherd is doing everything it can to provide the best educational experiences for students despite disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“Without supported faculty, we cannot deliver the kind of education that ensures our students’ continued success,” Wenger said. “As the long-term director of writing and rhetoric on campus, I take every chance I get to support faculty because I recognize how a seed planted for them translates into a garden of opportunities for our students. It’s key that we not forget that.”

Wenger worked with Madge Morningstar, director, Office of Sponsored Programs, to write the grant.

“I am very humbled and excited to have been awarded $110,000 in NEH CARES grant funding,” Wenger said. “Only $137,000 total of NEH CARES funding was awarded to the entire state of West Virginia, meaning that my grant brought Shepherd over 80 percent of our state’s total funding. I’m pretty proud of that percentage.”

Wenger plans to continue working with Morningstar with a goal of bringing in even more grants to help during this global pandemic and beyond.

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