About the Humanities Center
Board Members
Usage Policy


About the Humanities Center

The Humanities Center in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts was founded in 1999. Its mission was to stimulate the life of the mind both among the faculty of the College and in the university and community at large, by creating and nurturing an interdisciplinary intellectual culture of ideas. Towards that end it chooses each year a theme to explore and invites prominent outside scholars to speak on topics related to this theme. The Center has been successful in bringing eight Presidential Scholars to campus, including philosophers Richard Rorty and Martha Nussbaum, historians Anthony Grafton, Edward J. Larson, and James McPherson, novelist Richard Powers, architect and writer Witold Rybczynski, and aesthetician Elaine Scarry. It has also brought to campus for talks and seminars dozens of other well known literary critics, writers, poets, historians, and philosophers, most recently, for example, literary critic/poet Sandra Gilbert and science writer Rebecca Skloot. In addition the Humanities Center sponsors a Friday Symposia series for faculty members to present their research, as well as a Thursday Tertulia series for more informal talks, debates, and panel discussions.

Although designed primarily for HFA faculty and supported by the HFA College, the Humanities Center has reached out occasionally to faculty in other colleges in the University when the theme allowed it. During academic year 2003-2004, for instance, members of the College of Natural Science participated in the Science and the Aesthetic Imagination theme. Due to community interest in its activities, the Humanities Center has also raised $29,000 in outside funding.

Many of these events take place in the pleasant atmosphere of Trinity 126, which the College remodeled as an elegant library/seminar room. No mention of the Humanities Center would be complete without adding that it also shelters and supports the Humanities Center Gallery, which has become one of the premier venues for art in the North State, and the University Film Series where faculty, students, and members of the community have the opportunity to see rare and interesting films that go unscreened by the area's commercial theaters.

In the past eleven years the Humanities Center, which is the only one of its kind in the entire CSU system, has become an important and indispensable part of the intellectual life on this campus.


Board Members


Sarah Pike, Religious Studies, Phone: 530-898-6341, E-mail:


Geoffrey Baker, English, Phone: 530-898-6277, E-mail:

Rob Davidson, English, Phone: 530-898-6457, E-mail:

Laird Easton, History, Phone: 530-898-4284, E-mail:

Robert Herhusky, Art and Art History, Phone: 530-898-4155, E-mail:

Troy Jollimore, Philosophy, Phone: 530-898-5122, E-mail:

Laura Nice, Phone: 530-898-5534, (530) 898-5108, E-mail:

Char Prieto, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Phone: 530-898-4608, E-mail:

Hope Smith, Music and Theatre, Phone: 530-898-6128, Email: 

Daniel Veidlinger, Religious Studies, Phone: 530-898-4637, E-mail:

Wai-hung Wong, Philosophy, Phone: 530-898-4840, E-mail:


Robert Tinkler, Associate Dean, Phone: 530-898-6054, E-mail:

Robert Knight, Dean, Phone: 530-898-5351, E-mail:


The chief purposes of the Humanities Center are to nurture an intellectual community within the College of Humanities and Fine Arts; to stimulate and enrich the discussion of important ideas and themes among HFA faculty; and to encourage their professional development. To that end the Humanities Center will

  • Invite regularly prominent scholars to campus both to give public lectures on their work and to lead symposia for interested faculty.
  • Sponsor regular reading groups, some centered around the work of a recognized seminal thinker and others around an interdisciplinary theme of broad interest. To the extent that funds are available, the reading material for these groups will be provided gratis.
  • Establish a schedule of faculty research presentations and talks whereby both junior and senior faculty can speak on their current research interests and receive feedback from their colleagues.
  • Run a year-long series of art exhibitions and performances featuring the work of both local and visiting artists.
  • Sponsor a year-long film series.
  • Undertake other activities designed to encourage and support the intellectual missions of both the college and the university

Usage Policy

The College of the Humanities and Fine Arts has undertaken and financed the remodeling and renovation of Trinity 126 for the following reasons:

  • To serve as a venue for events that fulfill the mission of the Humanities Center; namely, the cultivation of the life of the mind within the College and the University. Included among these events are: guest speaker symposia and receptions; reading and writing groups for HFA faculty; faculty symposia and research presentations.
  • To provide a pleasant, congenial, and intellectually stimulating meeting place for HFA faculty who may want to bring their lunch, have a cup of coffee, discuss ideas or projects with their colleagues, or just peruse the books and journals of the HC library.


To ensure that these goals are met, the Humanities Center Board, its Director, and the Dean of the HFA College have decided upon the following usage policy:

  1. That every member of the HFA faculty and staff will have access to the Humanities Center.
  2. That the HC is not generally open to students or to non-HFA faculty or staff except as guests of the HC.
  3. That every activity scheduled for the HC must have the approval of the HC Board, or in an emergency, of its Director.
  4. That, aside from official HC sponsored events, the HC should be kept as free as possible for HFA faculty and staff to feel comfortable using it on an informal basis for purpose II above.
  5. That for these reasons the HC will not generally be available for classes, informal seminars, student club meetings, or department meetings. The HC Board and its Director reserve the right to make exceptions to these rules from time to time. An example of a possible exception would be granting permission to a HFA department that wished to interview a job candidate in the HC.
  6. That faculty and staff who use the HC
    1. Have the responsibility to clean up after themselves and help keep the room neat and attractive.
    2. Are not permitted—under any circumstances—to remove books or journals from the HC library.