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The Paul Peck Humanities Institute


Jamie Gillan, PPHI Director

The Paul Peck Humanities Institute (PPHI) at Montgomery College was founded in 1998, as the result of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, and through the generosity of Mr. Paul Peck and others.  

Featured initiatives of the PPHI include the MC-Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship; PPHI Honors Internships at the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution and US Holocaust Memorial Museum; Digital Storytelling (DS) Internships and Digital Storytelling Community of Practice; Portraits of Life: Holocaust Survivors of Montgomery County traveling exhibit and Holocaust education programs; Bella Mischkinsky Memorial Lecture; and with the Global Humanities Institute (GHI) at Montgomery College, our annual Humanities Days at Montgomery College (HD@MC.)  These programs and events impact Montgomery College students, faculty and staff, as well as area residents and ensure that the advancement of the humanities at MC is ongoing, evolutionary, and permanent.

Please join us for a contemplative and joyful exploration of the humanities, across the disciplines!

-- Jamie Gillan, PPHI Director


Our Mission

The Paul Peck Humanities Institute enriches the learning and teaching experiences of Montgomery College students and faculty, from all disciplines, through the humanities.
Generating various programs, collaborations and national and local partnerships, the Paul Peck Humanities Institute serves the community by providing growth opportunities and by demonstrating the relevance of the humanities in all areas of life.

PPHI calendar

  • May 10, 10:00 am-12:30 pm - PPHI Honors Interns Showcase: IgniteHub
    Zoom link for the Showcasenew window 

  • May 10, 1:30-3:00 pm - Digital Storytelling Showcase: Tentatively scheduled for Zoom and at the IgniteHub
    Zoom link for the Showcasenew window 
    Note: The event will last until 3:00 pm with a short reception following.
August 16, 10:00 am-12:30 pm - PPHI Honors Interns Summer Showcase
Zoom link for the Showcasenew window


Please help us in welcoming our 2024 Smithsonian Faculty Fellows!

Kay Ahmad (ELAP, GT), Evan Crump (English, RV), Gaddis Effendi (Sociology, TPSS), Sadegh Foghani (HIST, RV), Serena Gould (ELAP, TPSS), Teresa Lew (ENGL, GT), Melissa McCeney (PSYC, GT), Rebin Muhammad (MATH, GT), Ellen Olmstead (ENGL, TPSS) and Ted Shusterman (MUSC, TPSS).

Professor Matthew Decker Named Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship Co-coordinator

Following a competitive collegewide search, The Paul Peck Humanities Institute is excited to announce Professor Matthew Decker as our new Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship (SFF) co-coordinator, alongside Professor Denise Dewhurst.  

We thank the wonderful Mimi Mann for her many years of skillful and enthusiastic leadership.  Mimi is enjoying a well-earned retirement.

Professor Decker is an Associate Professor of English at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus, having served the MC community for over a decade.  He brings much to this new position, with wide ranging experience in professional development for faculty, building programs, professional publications and presentations, and a lauded teaching career. Professor Decker is a 2020 Outstanding Faculty Awardee,  a 2023 Scholarship of Excellence in Teaching Fellow, and  a 2019  Smithsonian Faculty Fellow. SFF fellows will benefit from his passion for utilizing the Smithsonian Learning Lab (the Smithsonian’s digital education space) as well as his experience leveraging physical and virtual Smithsonian exhibit spaces and artifacts in classroom learning.  He also brings extensive expertise in designing and digitizing content.

Throughout his career, Decker has served as a leader.  Most recently, he co-founded, launched, and fostered the Digital Storytelling Internship, which received two Innovation Grants and has supported more than 50 interns.  During this time, Professor Decker has also become an internationally respected scholar in Digital Storytelling producing content published in various professional and public-facing places.   He also served as an ENGL 101+ Course Coordinator, ENGL 102 Course Coordinator, and ELITE Faculty Associate.

Professor Decker earned a BA from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, an MA from American University, and a graduate certificate in Learning and Performance Technology from UMBC. To familiarize yourself more with Professor Decker’s impressive work, below are selected pieces related to his new position.

Please join me in warmly welcoming Professor Matthew Decker to the Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship leadership team!


MC-Smithsonian Faculty Fellowships
Smithsonian Faculty Fellowships

The Smithsonian Faculty Fellowships are the product of a unique collaboration between Montgomery College and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital access—the first of its kind between the Smithsonian Institution and a community college.

More About Fellowships
Portraits of Life Gallery Image
Portraits of Life Program

Portraits of Life: Holocaust Survivors of Montgomery County is a collaborative social documentary project (photo portraiture and narrative) created to tell the stories of survivors who have lived in and around Montgomery County, Maryland. The exhibit consists of more than thirty 24 x 36" panels.

More About Portraits
Speaker Portrait
Bella Mischkinsky Memorial Lectures

Judith Cohen
A Mother's Letter from the Grave:
The Frank Grunwald Collection
Frank Islam Athenaeum Symposia &
The Annual Bella Mischkinsky Memorial Lecture. Presented by the Paul Peck Humanities Institute

More About Lectures
Humanities Days at MC
Humanities Days at MC

Celebrate the Humanities! Connect with the Humanities Days committee to learn more about participating in this year’s unique Humanities Days 2020 week-long virtual event!

More About Humanities Days at MC
A group of PPHI Honors Internshp students
PPHI Honors Internships

The Library of Congress (LOC), Smithsonian Institution (SI) and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) Internship Programs are unique opportunities for MC students to experience the professional environment of world-class museum and library research activities. 

More About Internships
digital storytelling
Digital Storytelling Internships and Community of Practice

The Digital Storytelling Internship is an on-campus leadership opportunity for students supported by a thriving Community of Practice as well as a dedicated network of on- and off-campus partners. 

More About Storytelling Internship