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OLLI at CCU awarded national sustaining public engagement grant

April 27, 2022
Tom McCollough, Ph.D., is director of OLLI at CCU.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University has been awarded a 2022 American Council of Learned Societies Sustaining Public Engagement Grant in the amount of $66,906. The funds will be used to reestablish the OLLI at CCU presence in local communities where it has had an historic impact in the education of individuals age 50 or older. OLLI at CCU offers a variety of courses, lectures, clubs, excursions and special activities, led by Coastal faculty as well as scholars and experts from the surrounding communities.

“It is a privilege to be a part of the academic outreach efforts of the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies at CCU,” said Tom McCollough, Ph.D., director of OLLI at CCU. “OLLI at CCU’s efforts to serve the 50-plus community will be significantly enhanced by this grant as it facilitates bringing our programming closer to all the towns and neighborhoods of the Grand Strand. In addition, the grant is being used to promote inclusive membership as we partner with members of the community who represent underserved populations.”

The grant is part of a $3.5 million responsive funding program made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)’s Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) initiative.

The ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grants support public humanities programs based at accredited United States colleges and universities that have experienced staffing reductions related to pandemic conditions, programming setbacks, and/or loss of institutional capacity for publicly engaged work.

CCU is one of 24 grantees, representing outstanding public programs based at a variety of public and private institutions from 18 states and Puerto Rico. Awarded programs have demonstrated a deep commitment to the co-creation of knowledge with diverse communities outside of academia and promising approaches to addressing the most pressing issues our society faces today.

“The National Endowment for the Humanities is grateful to the American Council of Learned Societies for administering American Rescue Plan funding to speed economic recovery within the higher education sector,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “Our colleges and universities are important centers for public humanities, with immense potential to serve their communities through educational resources and public programs that reach broad audiences. These ARP awards will expand public access to new information and discoveries in the humanities, and foster greater collaboration between academic institutions and community partners.”

“ACLS is proud to support these outstanding examples of publicly-engaged, community-centered scholarship,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “Direct engagement with communities beyond the walls of academia is essential to the continued creation of knowledge for the public good. At the same time, these programs will help in expanding our definitions of humanistic scholarship and in contributing to solutions for a brighter future for all.”

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 appropriated supplemental funding to the NEH to provide emergency relief to cultural organizations and educational institutions and organizations working in the humanities that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The act recognizes that the humanities sector is an essential component of economic and civic life in the United States.