The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Grinnell College grants totaling more than $1 million to support continual development of interdisciplinary courses and programs in the humanities and to encourage students to consider college teaching careers.
A $100,000 Mellon Presidential Discretionary Grant supports development of courses and co-curricular programs that demonstrate the benefit of humanities study in lifelong learning. Grant activities will be coordinated through Grinnell’s Center for the Humanities, which supports research and teaching as well as invited talks, symposia and ongoing activities that draw attention to scholarly work in classical and modern languages, the arts, philosophy, and religion.
“The Mellon grant allows us to develop programs that address recent national discussions about the place of the humanities in education, policy-making and business,” said Shuchi Kapila, director of the Center for the Humanities and associate professor of English. More than one-third of Grinnell students graduate with degrees in humanities fields of study.
A second Mellon grant of more than $400,000 renews the college’s relationship with the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program, which encourages “minority students and others with demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities” to pursue Ph.D.s in the arts and sciences. Grinnell joined the MMUF program in 2009 with assistance from an initial Mellon grant. MMUF fellows receive mentoring from faculty, funding for conference attendance, loan repayment support, and other resources that connect them to a national network of current and future college professors.
“We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for recognizing Grinnell’s commitment to the Mellon Mays Fellowship Program,” said Shanna Benjamin, faculty coordinator for the MMUF program and assistant professor of English. “The renewal grant allows us to continue our efforts to identify and support promising students who want to teach at the college level.”
A third grant of $540,000 renews initial Mellon funding of Grinnell’s Expanding Knowledge Initiative (EKI), which extends the college’s liberal-arts curriculum through interdisciplinary courses of contemporary academic relevance. “The Expanding Knowledge Initiative continues to be an important part of advancing student learning across traditional disciplines,” said Dean of the College Paula Smith. “The Mellon grant support is important to our commitment to faculty and curriculum development.” For example, the Mellon grant funding has allowed Grinnell to add Arabic language instruction to the curriculum.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports projects in higher education, information technology, performing arts, arts conservation, and the environment. The MMUF program is in its 24th year and has supported more than 3,700 fellows nationwide.
Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.