SVSU professors receive humanities grant

English department professors Dr. Veronica Drake (left) and Dr. Natalia Knobock (right) will use the grant to host a two-week institute. Courtesy Photos | UComm

Professors from the English Department, Dr. Natalia Knoblock and Dr. Veronica Drake, have been awarded a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to implement a two-week institute for K-12 educators.

The institute will help educators understand the paradox of how many people renounce discrimination but may continue to hold discriminatory beliefs about language.

The SVSU campus will host 25 educators from across the country to participate in the institute.

The institute, officially titled “Language and Linguistic Prejudice Related to Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Identity”, will highlight the discriminatory aspects of commonly accepted beliefs about language’s nature and function, and propose fairer and more inclusive approaches to language in educational settings.

“Negative assumptions about people who speak anything other than what is considered ‘standard English’ are so widespread and so entrenched,” Knoblock said. “Such negative views feed into linguistic prejudice and linguistic discrimination and can lead to disparate achievements and learning outcomes for K-12 students.”

The Institute will take place from July 16-28. Participants have the option to stay on campus in the nation’s #1 housing facility of any public university. Participants will also receive a stipend for attending the institute, which is covered by NEH, to cover travel and housing outside of the campus.

Associate professor of English, Dr. Veronica Drake, said, “We are honored to have received this funding and are beyond excited to bring K-12 educators to the Great Lakes Bay Region”.

There will also be four guest scholars to teach more about language and discrimination.

Assistant professor Dr. Teaira McMurtry from The University of Alabama at Birmingham, associate professor Dr. Trini Stickle from Western Kentucky University, Dr. Megan Figueroa from the University of Arizona, and associate professor Dr. David Peterson from the University of Nebraska at Omaha will join Knoblock and Drake.

Each member of the team will lead a session during the institute. Applications were accepted until March 3 and successful applicants will be informed by April 3.

More information on the institute can be found at

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