Humanities Online Network to Expand

$971,000 Mellon Foundation grant will help Humanities Commons grow

Director of Digital Humanities Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Humanities Online Network to Expand

$971,000 Mellon Foundation grant will help Humanities Commons grow

An online forum housed at MSU to connect scholars and practitioners in the humanities worldwide is set to expand with a $971,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Humanities Commons, which is led by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of Digital Humanities in the College of Arts & Letters, will use the grant to support a multi-year restructuring of its business model.

An open-source platform, Humanities Commons enables users to collaborate and engage in discussions across humanities disciplines, including sharing articles, presentations and other scholarly materials with their peers and the public. Founded four years ago by the Modern Language Association (MLA), thanks to support from the NEH and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the platform has developed a highly diverse and thriving community of more than 28,000 users worldwide.

As part of the expansion, the Humanities Commons team plans to open the network beyond the humanities to also include social science and STEM scholars and their communities.

“We seek to partner with organizations and institutions that share our commitments to developing an open-knowledge commons, holding our collective work in trust for the world,” Fitzpatrick says. “In this project, we will fundamentally transform the Commons’ business model by preparing the platform for adoption by colleges and universities.”

The team will broaden its technical, community development and business capacity, specifically hiring five new team members to help build the base of participating organizations, with a focus on drawing new support from institutions of higher education.

“This growth will enable us to better support our member organizations and institutions as they participate in and contribute to a values-based, open-knowledge commons,” Fitzpatrick says.

Humanities Commons is open to anyone interested. There are no individual fees. Users need only to create an account.

LEARN MORE about supporting the College of Arts and Letters by contacting Senior Director of Development Christine Radtke at or by calling (517) 432-6693.