Spotlight: Janine de Novais, Member of the Clemente Board of Directors
We are so excited to announce that scholar and writer Janine de Novais has joined the Clemente Course Board of Directors. A graduate of Harvard and Columbia, Janine spent many years working at Columbia's Center for the Core Curriculum, a program that offers all Columbia students a grounding in the humanities to scaffold their further studies, regardless of their major. While working at the Center for the Core, Janine met Columbia professor (and Clemente board member!) Dawn Delbanco, and the two stayed in touch as Janine's path led her to her doctorate and further academic work at Harvard and the University of Delaware. When a seat on our board became available earlier this year, Dawn reached out to Janine, whose experience and passion for the humanities make her a natural fit (and a wonderful resource for Clemente).
Get to know Janine with our quick Q&A!
What do you do outside of the Clemente universe—for work and for play?
I’m a writer and newly independent scholar. I’ve been an academic for the last decade, more if we consider my work on higher education administration. I work on race, culture, and critical pedagogy. I’m a student of human culture—even when I teach about it.
Excellent times with friends and family is my favorite kind of play. Besides that? Writing (I have 3 projects I’m working on), reading, movies, travel, and I have a serious podcast habit.
What makes Clemente and the study of the humanities special to you?
“The humanities” is a specialized name for “thinking about culture”, so they are everyone’s birthright and everyone’s inheritance. Unfortunately, our world has become increasingly hostile to the idea that all people are more than their labor and have interior lives worth cultivating. So the humanities are not taught except in a very small elite set of institutions. I believe, like Clemente does, that engagement with the humanities should be widely accessible because it’s such an integral part of the human experience.
Please share a favorite Clemente memory, or something about the program that makes you proud to share your time and support!
For many years, my good friend Tim McCarthy told me about his “course” that he taught outside of his regular job at a university. I’ve heard many amazing stories from Tim, who I’ve known since he was a grad student to be a masterful teacher, about this course. Imagine my happy surprise when I found out, when joining the Board, that it was a Clemente course. I’m incredibly proud to be of service to the work that Tim and other Clemente teachers and learners are doing.