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January 16, 2015

New Humanities Chief Looks to Shift Grants to Tackle Tough Issues

The new chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities unveiled an effort Thursday that could shift millions of dollars in federal research grants from pure scholarship toward addressing broad, pressing national issues, the Associated Press reports. William Adams, who took charge at the endowment six months ago, announced the effort, called "The Common Good: the Humanities in the Public Square," in a speech at the National Press Club.

Mr. Adams, the president of Colby College in Maine for 14 years before his federal appointment, said academic fields studying human culture have become too specialized and inward-looking, focusing on matters primarily of interest to scholars. "In the fields of history and anthropology, literary studies and philosophy particularly, I think we have real opportunities to be more public and publicly oriented," he told the AP.