The new minor maximizes the research and teaching already in progress across the
College of Liberal Arts and Purdue as a whole, says Klein-Pejsova, director of Purdue’s
Human Rights Program and associate professor of history and Jewish studies.
“The Human Rights minor helps students connect to other people, places, and times,” she says.
“Students cultivate a deeper understanding of a human rights narrative that belongs to the world,
its politics and ideas, and our own humanity. In doing so, it promotes and redefines the impact
of a liberal arts education.”
Yeomans is thrilled with response to the program so far (almost 30 students have registered
as minors in the first two semesters), and he sees the program uniting faculty working across
campus on human rights. Students who earn the minor will have an advantage as they pursue
careers in politics, law, government, economics, and a variety of other fields – including the
academic study of human rights.
“A background in Human Rights Studies will significantly help them get that National
Science Foundation grant, break into a career in international, agricultural, and sustainable
development, get that internship, be accepted into the graduate school or the law school of their
choice,” Klein-Pejsova says. “The Human Rights minor—and the Human Rights Program
Even though Purdue faculty offer a wealth of courses that touch on key issues of health in
the humanities, there was no undergraduate focus for students studying the role of health
and medicine in society.
Wendy Kline saw this gap and applied for Innovate funding to launch the Medical
Humanities certificate in fall of 2016. It provides students with an understanding of how
human experience, medical practice, and scientific technology intersect, especially through
societal and cultural contexts.
“In our world, where advances in science and technology often outpace our ability to
understand and cope with new concepts and situations, the need for deep grounding in medical
humanities is particularly acute for new graduates,” says Kline, the Dema G. Seelye Chair in the
History of Medicine in the Department of History.
Kline visited peer institutions, including New York University, Columbia, Boston College,
Yale, and the University of Cincinnati, to learn best-practices for the program. The certificate
can benefit students in any discipline related to health, medicine, social sciences and liberal
arts, she says.
“Purdue graduates who go on to take leading roles in the fields of medicine, engineering,
science, and public policy should demonstrate an understanding of and an appreciation for the
cultural and historic dimensions of their disciplines,” she says. “This is particularly true when
it comes to disease, medicine, and health.”
Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts, another
new 15-credit certificate program, offers a
coherent program for students from all Purdue
majors to fulfill many of their general education
requirements as part of the core curriculum.
“I am very excited about the opportunity
Cornerstone offers to enhance the educational
experience of all Purdue students,” says David
A. Reingold, Justin S. Morrill Dean of Liberal
Arts. “The liberal arts can be a defining feature
of what sets apart Purdue STEM graduates and
reinforces the centrality of the liberal arts to a
comprehensive university education. In this way,
Cornerstone will be an important component of
the Purdue experience.”
Through the lens of the humanities and
social sciences, the Cornerstone program will
introduce students to transformative texts that
have influenced our understanding of the modern
world and will prepare students to communicate
more effectively. The program will instill a
deep understanding of the dynamic human
relationships and the global, social, and cultural
dimensions that impact the worlds of engineering,
technology, science, medicine, business, and
By completing the Cornerstone certificate,
students will be better positioned to respond
to the changing demands of the world and
marketplace to rise to the top of their fields
as innovative and transformative leaders.
Cornerstone will enhance a Purdue education that
pushes all students intellectually and challenges
them to be independent thinkers who drive
decision making as bold, visionary leaders and
engaged members of society.