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Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

"The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences uses funding from the Northwest Foundation for a wide variety of initiatives, which fall into two categories: Recruitment & Retention and Innovative Learning. Below is a list of the sorts of items we used the funding for as well as a list of things we are looking to fund in the future. 


Donor funding through the Foundation has been essential for helping us with our recruitment materials and display. Our banner, tabletop displays, department tablecloth, tri-fold boards, and printed materials are funded through the Foundation helping us create an appealing and creative display to attract students to the department and Northwest. 

The Great Valk Off event every semester integrates our new students into the HSS community through a competition between the majors in the department. Donor funding has paid for the annual Taco Tuesday welcome event and the prizes to the winning individuals and teams. 


Missouri Hope – Gifts from donors have aided in ensuring that MO Hope, our emergency and disaster simulation exercise continues to grow and be a successful event not just for our students but for first responder training in the wider community. For instance, in 2017, vests that participants and staff of Missouri Hope wear to designate roles - an essential need for the event - were purchased with donor funding.

Northwest Center for Policy and Civic Engagement – Donor gifts have helped to fund a dedicated space for our Political Science and Public Administration to conduct election and survey polling exercises. For instance, our students conducted exit polling after the November 8th election this year and partnered with Mathematics students to run the data and draw conclusions. This program is still in its infancy but has the potential to generate revenue for partners in the region while also giving our students valuable professional experience. 

Public History and Museum Studies – We have often used donated money to ensure that Public History and Museum studies has the tools and equipment it needs to create the exhibits and develop their activities. Most exhibits you see on campus and in the Nodaway County Historical Society were created and developed by our students using tools purchased with donor funding.

Social Studies Education – Donors provided funds to purchase Swivl devices which are tracking and recording equipment that we use to video our future Social Studies teachers give a lesson. We can then review the video and provide feedback to students and track their growth and progress in front of a classroom. Donor funding has also paid for videos and documentaries that we’ve needed in our History and Political Science courses. When we created our Digital Humanities Lab, we needed some higher quality recording equipment for a few events and classes, notably a professional microphone setup for podcasting. Donor gifts made that happen. 


In terms of our needs moving forward, there is always equipment needed for Missouri Hope and in particular we are in need of replacing the vests we use as several years of wear and tear is starting to show. We are also needing subscriptions to polling software that can handle large amounts of data (e.g. Qualtrix) as well as about 10-15 iPads to allow for digital polling and surveying. We learned this year that paper surveys outside election sites is cumbersome and time consuming for the participants. And of course, we are always in need of the materials for the History Lab (Public History and Museum Studies) and the Digital Humanities Lab. Lastly, we are looking to grow our Geography program and are looking into Lidar and drones for our mapping program as well as aiding with the mapping needs of our EDM (search and rescue for example) and History programs."

-Dr. Dawn L. Gilley

Chair, Department of Humanities & Social Sciences

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