Gregory L. Waters, professor of English and director of the honors
program at Montclair State University, was recently named chairman of the Board
of Trustees of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH).
Jane Brailove Rutkoff, executive director of the Council,
said, “It is our good fortune that Greg Waters will be taking the lead. His
incredible energy, fresh ideas, and vast experience with the work of state
humanities councils will surely strengthen the Council and help connect us to
new and broader audiences.”
“I have always been interested in the idea of the public
humanist,” stated Waters. “Throughout the country state councils create
contexts for academic humanists to contribute their expertise to a variety of
public issues such as literacy, citizenship and civic engagement. The
humanities provide the framework for discussions of what we value most.
Especially in tough times, the humanities can give us a context for matters of
spirit as well as economics.”
As chairman, Waters said, he expects the Council will
continue to offer the wide variety of programs, grants and awards that have
marked its work to date, while planning future programs that will highlight New
Jersey’s unique contributions to the cultural life of the nation, in the fields
of American history, jazz and literature. In addition, Waters said, “We want to
help new New Jerseyans learn more about the state and how they can become
active participants in its culture.”
Waters, a resident of Montclair, joined the Board of the New
Jersey Council for the Humanities in the 1980’s, after moving here from
Michigan, where he worked on a project for the Michigan Humanities Council.
He was vice chairman of the Board of Trustees for two years
before becoming chairman, and served as resident scholar for a Literature and Medicine: Humanities at the
Heart of Health Care program for three years. Waters has been at Montclair
State since 1984.
Four years ago he returned to the English Department after
20 years in university administration, serving as Deputy Provost, Interim
President and Vice President for University Advancement. He has written
scholarly papers, articles and reviews on topics ranging from 16th
century prose style to modern American poetry, and currently teaches a variety
of courses in American literature, rhetoric and drama at Montclair. He received
his B.A. from Georgetown University and his Ph.D. from Rutgers.
The New Jersey Council
for the Humanities is a nonprofit organization established in 1973 as the state
partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its 25-member Board of
Trustees, drawn from academia, business, and public life, oversees the
Council’s work. The mission of the Council is to develop, support and promote
projects that explore and interpret the human experience, foster cross-cultural
understanding and engage people in dialogue about matters of individual choice
and public responsibility.
A grant program
administered by NJCH and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities
serves as a catalyst for public humanities programs and provides financial
support for other nonprofit organizations’ special projects in areas as wide
ranging as ethnic studies, history, literature, interpretation of the arts, and
public policy. The Council also sponsors a series of high-quality, college-level
seminars in the humanities to adults in New Jersey's underserved communities
who have the potential to succeed in college, and it runs yearly residential
seminars for K-12 teachers that provide a content-based approach to
professional development. The Council’s Speakers Bureau supplies humanities
lecturers to nonprofit organizations throughout the state.