About Us

Working to answer important questions

SJSU’s College of Humanities and Arts is uniquely positioned to expand the “public” nature of the humanities because we encompass the Arts.  Humanities and Arts are not that commonly placed into one college, but this has become an opportunity to model the turning outward of the humanities which the performing and fine arts have traditionally done through concerts, theatrical events, exhibitions, and senior shows. Thus, the Arts models the outward turn which engages the university community and the community beyond the campus walls, and the Humanities models the making public of the introspective tradition of these disciplines. By unifying our College through a vision of multi-layered interdisciplinarity, we have avoided competition for resources by emphasizing collaboration in our funding initiative, Artistic Excellence Programming Grants.  This interdisciplinary practice and goals are represented in H & A in Action’s focus on cross-disciplinary inquiry and community engagement; we have encouraged faculty across the humanities and arts to invite the community in, not just as observers but as contributors to and members of the conversation.

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H&A in Action is an initiative of the College of Humanities and the Arts to involve faculty, students, and the surrounding off-campus community with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.

Faculty can apply for grant opportunities to create engaging opportunities for students to participate in, attend, and build on exhibits, musical and theatrical performances, community leadership, poetry readings, digital projects, roundtables, culinary demonstrations, workshops, film festivals, and much more. Check our Current Events, Stories of Engagement, and list of 2021-2022 descriptions of upcoming events. Faculty are also invited to submit robust assignments as well as submit student work that engages with a yearly theme. Read more about the Artistic Excellence Programming Grants and the Curricular Communities student awards and faculty stipends. 

Students can see from our Engage | Public Programming Opportunities how they might get their voices involved in the creation of these public projects. Then, take a look at our Stories of Engagement for all of the behind-the-scenes views of our public programming and how you might get involved. Student work can be submitted by faculty in the Curricular Communities competition. Check out students' winning submissions to Pandemic Pandemonium to see how faculty integrated these themes into their courses

Community organizations and individuals can visit our H&A in San José initiative to find faculty partners or browse our Current Events to mark your calendar for an interesting program (all open to the public). Join our community activities through Geography of Art (art kiosk pop-ups, nature walks with music, mural walking tours) or step into our live streamed QuickBites Forum for discussions on the most urgent news topics of the moment.

Our Deep Humanities & Arts Initiative offers an opportunity to dive into the current hot topics about technology while Sustainable Futures delves into the challenges of climate change, wildfires, and food scarcity. The Inclusion Initiative grapples with racial equity and social justice that builds on our past year's engagement with Borderlands. Finally, support our initiatives and the progress on the 5-year plan to build a new Digital Humanities Center,in collaboration with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.


Our goal is to make a seamless connection between rich programming provided in H&A and our students across and beyond humanities and the arts to invigorate learning through all disciplines. The work we will activate through H&A in Action will further the intersection among the humanities, arts, and STEM fields, the development of technology within our region, and the importance of public programming to expand the attention to the values within the humanities and arts throughout the university and the entire community. 

This kind of faculty-led, research-infused curriculum and programming, and specifically their connection, are the type of experiential learning opportunities that makes SJSU more appealing to our first generation and underrepresented minority students. Engaged public programming, engaged research, engaged teaching, and outreach all offer an opportunity for first generation college students in this minority-serving institution to participate in hands-on activities that will increase rates of student retention and student engagement through collaborative assignments and projects, learning communities and common intellectual experiences, and experiential learning augmented by intercultural learning in the community. 


  • Experiential Learning: Involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.
  • Innovation & Curiosity: Leverage differences to fuel innovation, solve problems, and demonstrate curiosity, resilience, and tenacity.
  • Community Expertise: Build on lived expertise of the surrounding community.
  • Global Awareness: Create global awareness and an understanding of culture and context for facilitating interactions between disciplines.
  • Community Voices: Model amplifying community voices and histories that might not otherwise be heard.
  • Interdisciplinarity: Transform conversations about grand challenges (e.g., environment, privacy concerns, social media, cultural division, social justice) and break down divisions between humanities, arts, social, and natural sciences.