The mission of the Humanities Lab is to engage students in addressing the grand social challenges in the contemporary world. Such challenges include immigration, climate change, sexual violence, and information overload, to name a few. Using the humanities as a springboard into envisioning solutions to those challenges allows students to probe beneath the surface to identify the ideas, ethical issues, historical backgrounds, cultural assumptions, and power relationships that complicate and perpetuate them. In pursuing that mission, the Humanities Lab provides an experimental space where interdisciplinary faculty teams and students from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds can collaborate and pursue key questions related to the challenge they are working on. The Lab also fosters opportunities for students to share their creative inquiry and proposed solutions with local, national, and global communities.
The Humanities Lab’s vision is to develop master learners who can thrive in diverse interdisciplinary environments, work in collaborative teams and take collective responsibility for advancing human well-being. Labs engage students in asking not only what humans could do in addressing social challenges but also what we should do and why. The Humanities Lab envisions a future in which this kind of pedagogy characterizes the uniqueness of ASU and leads to collaborations with innovative academic institutions within the U.S. and abroad. To that end, we continue to explore new learning and structural models that will someday enable students to specialize in social challenges, such as poverty or the refugee crisis, as they pursue their academic degrees.