Generous Mellon Foundation grant to benefit the arts and humanities

Katherine Kromer, Contributing Writer

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University a grant of $743,000 to students and faculty in the arts and humanities to explore thought-provoking questions and problems pertinent to our generation. With the support of this grant, faculty in the humanities and arts will be able to develop new and exciting curricula. Specifically, the grant will allow for a greater range of interdisciplinary courses that incorporate STEM fields and the humanities.

This is not the first time that the University has benefited from a Mellon Foundation grant. In 2016, the University was awarded a $600,000 Mellon grant to benefit the humanities. Since then, the Division of Arts & Humanities has continued to grow, most notably with the April 2018 opening of the Hildreth-Mirza Hall, which has quickly become the campus hub for the humanities.

“The grant will benefit students across the University,” Karline McLain, Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Dean of Faculty for the Division of Arts & Humanities, said. “We want all students, no matter what their major is, to think about these problems from a humanistic perspective — and then layer that onto the information they’re getting in their in-depth studies in their academic concentrations.”

The University will use this grant to develop unique interdisciplinary courses surrounding contemporary “wicked” problems. Instead of examining these interdisciplinary problems from traditional lenses, these courses will evaluate topics relevant to fields ranging from STEM to management, but from a humanities perspective. Initially, these courses will be designed as shorter courses for a quarter or half credit. The structure of these courses is inspired by recent teach-out events, as the courses will begin with a “teach-in” and then students will be expected to take what they have learned in the course and hold a “teach-out” event to spread their knowledge to members both of the University and of the greater community.

“I’m really thankful for this grant and the opportunities it will provide for the humanities to grow and develop,” said Ali Lamson ’20, a double major in Classics and Italian, said. “I’m excited to see what new additions it will bring.”

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