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About Us

The Humanities Center at WVU is under the umbrella of WVU Libraries and is located in the Downtown Library. We have a small body of workers but a big footprint, leaving our tracks all over campus to promote the humanities and their intersection with other disciplines.

Our People

Small but Mighty

Renée Nicholson, an academic with square glasses and shoulder-length gray hair, shown laughing.

Renée Nicholson

Director Humanities Center

Renée Nicholson is an author and scholar primarily interested in the health humanities. Nicholson earned a MFA in Creative Writing from WVU and a BA degree in English/Creating Writing from Butler University.

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Valuing the Humanities: A letter from Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson

The humanities embrace disciplines devoted to the study of human thought, culture and history. One way to look at the humanities is that they maintain what is special about being human. Collectively, the humanities help tell and shape the story of us.

Humanities scholarship allows us to confront and challenge the past while instilling ways of coping with reconciliation. Humanities approaches restore human cooperation and partnership and help us relate to one another as human beings, rather than losing touch. However, they also nourish creative behavior that leads to cultural production and innovation.

Humanities promotes innovation that compliments to sciences and social sciences. In fact, humanities can help us understand technology and use it wisely. Because humanities knowledge is less easily codified, humanities disciplines are better placed to disrupt and challenge standardized practices and conventional wisdom. They diversify knowledge creation, create distinctive approaches to understanding and capture the human experience.

Ironically, humanists may distrust the very idea of “innovation” even as they help to innovate. Many humanists would see “innovation” as merely a buzzword, and argue that innovation would not be an end in itself, but a continuous process. In workplaces, combined with those of other disciplinary backgrounds, humanists can help spur on development. To this end, Steve Jobs once said, “…the reason Apple is able to create products like the iPad is because we always try to be at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts, to be able to get the best of both.”