New Humanities Hub To Centralize Resources and Community for Students

The Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building at the University of Utah on Feb. 16 2023. (Photo by Sophie Felici | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Sophie Felici

The Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building at the University of Utah on Feb. 16 2023. (Photo by Sophie Felici | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Caelan Roberts, News Editor


In just a few weeks, humanities students at the University of Utah will have a new place to study, do homework and spend time with friends. The Humanities Hub, located in the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building, is set to have its grand opening after spring break.

Natalie Montoya, operations manager for the College of Humanities, said that the primary purpose of the Humanities Hub is to create a “one-stop shop” where humanities students can find all kinds of support, such as drop-in advising, a place to charge their devices and even a coffee shop.

“We wanted one central location for students to come and find everything they need,” Montoya said.

This includes partnering with other organizations, such as Learning Abroad and Student Success Coaches, to come to the hub and help students with their academic needs and goals, said Karen Marsh Schaeffer, director of student success and engagement for the College of Humanities.

Schaeffer said it’s essential to have a centralized location for humanities students to access resources because of how spread out they usually are across campus, and because more people work from home since the pandemic and aren’t always in their office when students need support.

“The hub is going to be a place where there will always be someone available to help with whatever a student needs,” she said. 

Schaeffer said one way the hub is putting this into action is “Tabling Tuesdays,” where campus representatives will visit the hub and “help the students know just what’s available in terms of resources at the U.”

Montoya said the aim is to also be more physically welcoming to students and faculty with a coffee shop, furniture with charging ports and large glass windows.

“Just in general, as you walk in that presence, it’s more welcoming now,” Montoya said.

There will also be public and private study spaces in the hub so students can work together in small groups or on their own, according to Montoya.

The Humanities Hub exists, Montoya said, to give humanities students a place with “a presence of support” and to build connections with other students in their college.

“I’m just so excited that now they have a fuller space to utilize and come together as a college, with different majors and mingling in that sense, rather than, ‘Okay, I took a class, and now I’m leaving to another building,’” she said.

Schaeffer said that because the College of Humanities is so large, students tend to “get siloed” and don’t often know what is happening outside their department. 

“Having a spot where students can gather across the humanities, to kind of share and see what each other are doing, I think, will be really exciting,” she said.

Schaeffer added that however students use the space, she wants them to know that it is theirs to use.

“Undergraduate students don’t really have a lot of spaces that belong to them,” she said. “This one’s really focused on getting undergrad students a space where they can gather, to work together or to relax.”

Montoya said the most significant benefit the hub will bring to students is convenience, because everything a humanities student may need will be available in one place.

“Whatever support that we can give our students is what we want to be able to do every day rather than directing them to other areas,” she said. 

Schaeffer, as well as Cameron Vakilian, director of advising, outreach and experiential learning at the College of Humanities, will have offices at the Humanities Hub to help direct students to internships, career paths and involvement on campus.

“That’s just going to be a really great atmosphere in terms of helping students discover what else they want to do with their education in terms of co-curricular experiences,” Schaeffer said.

One motto for the college of humanities is “where ideas connect.” Schaeffer feels that falls right in line with the goal of the new space.

“That is exactly what the hub is for,” Schaeffer said. “So many places for us to connect with each other and to share ideas.”


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