The University of Minnesota is reimagining Pillsbury Hall as a twenty-first-century home for learning and a springboard for service. Its revitalized historic setting will allow the Department of English and its top-ranked Creative Writing Program to add exciting new features, such as state-of-the-art technology, a performance/reading studio, and collaborative spaces that maximize teaching and learning.
The study of English language and literature is at the heart of a liberal arts education. The skills taught in English—how to communicate ideas, argue productively, and collaborate inventively—are essential to a college education, to future employment, and to informed citizenship.
Already the heart of the College of Liberal Arts, the English department in Pillsbury Hall will become the lively hub of creative collaborations across the University, the Twin Cities, and the state.
Building for the future
Pillsbury Hall will be reimagined, creating 21st-century spaces for journal editing, video making, digital storytelling, website building, and web-based research.
We’ll transform the building’s attic space into a public events space, one that will accommodate the many lectures, readings, and other events hosted each year by the Department of English.
The Liberal Arts Engagement Hub is envisioned as a dynamic space through which members of the University will become the students of the public, educated by and partnering with external community members around critical topics of shared interest. Unique to the University of Minnesota and rare among universities nationally, the space will be dedicated solely to public engagement and civil society. It will thus assert its place among an elite group of similarly visionary efforts at select colleges and universities in the US where social justice, democracy, civic debate, and citizenship are integral to the educational mission.
The Liberal Arts Engagement Hub will be used to bring crucially important visibility to the engagement work that is already being done in CLA, and it will serve as a catalyst for activities including classes, workshops, health fairs, training, listening sessions, exhibitions, and lectures. In addition to the specific projects and events that will be hosted and developed in the hub, the space will provide an opportunity to create a welcoming environment for community members that will support the establishment of trusting and reciprocal relationships between the college and external communities.