Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Britt Hochhausler
PORTALES – Eastern New Mexico University is celebrating Roosevelt County's centennial in a different way: by offering two summer classes in Southwestern history and literature. The project is being supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Both classes begin July 1 and apply to the Greater Southwestern Studies minor at ENMU.
Applying for a grant from the NEH is fairly easy. However, the application process takes time, according to an ENMU professor.
"You have to tell them exactly what it is you want to do and details of your budget. You also have to guarantee that everyone involved has a degree and a specialty, and you have to have letters of support," said Dr. Linda Gies, associate professor of history.
Grants from the NEH are important to educational institutions.
"The NEH supports programs and projects in ways we don't have money for. They offer special things as well, such as the development of the Greater Southwestern Studies program. They are also very supportive of local history," Dr. Gies said.
Faculty and staff participating in the grant are Dr. Mary Ayala, chair of the Department of Languages and Literature; Dr. Jerald Spotswood, assistant professor of English; Mr. Gene Bundy, reference and Special Collections librarian at Golden Library; Dr. Robert Matheny, professor emeritus of history; Dr. Linda Gies; Dr. Gerald Gies, associate professor of history; and Dr. Nina Bjornsson, assistant professor of English.
The grant will fund creation of an ongoing web site featuring research focused on regional Southwestern history and literature and will contribute to the development of local oral histories housed in Golden Library.
Regional Literatures is a class taught jointly by Dr. Bjornsson and Dr. Gerald Gies. It focuses on regional and local literature, major Southwestern authors, transcribed oral histories and first-person accounts of living in the Southwest. Resources from the Southwest Special Collections in Golden Library will be utilized. This class will be available at other locations via instructional television.
Histories of eastern New Mexico is taught by Dr. Linda Gies and Dr. Gerald Gies. It focuses on local and regional history and allowing students to expand the existing Southwest Special Collections. Students will also go on field trips to local and regional sites such as Bosque Redondo (Ft. Sumner), Blackwater Draw Archaeological Site (Portales) and Salinas National Monument (Mountainair).
Topics include research using census records, county records, and other tools to learn about regional New Mexico history, as well as the development of farming and ranching, community growth, and the relationship of eastern New Mexico to Texas and the rest of New Mexico.
Both classes will meet Tuesday through Saturday with field trips on Saturday. The courses count for three hours of either graduate or undergraduate credit.
For more information, contact Dr. Linda Gies at 505.562.2642, Dr. Nina Bjornsson at 505.562.2501, or Dr. Gerald Gies at 505.562.2401. Registration for summer classes begins April 6.
Drs. Linda and Gerald Gies (photo by Greg Erf)