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President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog

$800,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant

A few weeks ago, the college received an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This is the largest grant the college has ever received from the Mellon Foundation.

Over the next four years this grant will be used to begin implementing the college’s strategic plan; specifically, many of the programmatic elements in our new Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching.  The resources from this grant will be utilized in three overarching ways:

  1. Encourage innovation in engaged teaching and learning by supporting the Block Plan
    • We will use grant funds to identify, study, and implement best practices in teaching and learning. Through site visits to other institutions that have demonstrated successful programs, we will garner strong faculty leadership for our new center.
    • Modeled after our successful Office of International Programs, we will hire a professional administrator to staff a new Office of Field Study.
  2. Intensify collaborative learning through undergraduate research 
    • Funds will be used for release time for faculty to mentor thesis/research students in an interdisciplinary writing workshop throughout the academic year.
    • Summer stipends will be given to faculty to lead summer student workshops and participate in faculty development seminars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.
    • Stipends will be awarded to students for summer undergraduate research fellowships in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.
    • The college will host two external humanities scholars who have successfully undertaken collaborative research with undergraduates as workshop presenters.
  3. Investigate the distinctive pedagogical outcomes of the Block Plan, using what we learn to refine our model, and sharing it with others in our critical sector of higher education. 
    • Resources from the grant will be used to support the initial salary of a scholar-leader to help us study pedagogical approaches and effectiveness of the Block Plan.

I am thrilled with the opportunities afforded to us by this Mellon Foundation grant. This investment from the Mellon Foundation will enable us to pilot programs that the Center will support and generate excitement over these initiatives in advance of launching a capital campaign.

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