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Skidmore College

Mellon grant to support New York Six global initiatives

January 30, 2014

Ramping up their academic collaborations with a $1.25 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the upstate colleges that comprise the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium have embarked on an expansion of opportunities for students and faculty in the study of global issues, on campus and abroad.

The grant – one of a series that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded to the New York Six since the consortium was formed in 2009 – will support teaching and learning around academic themes that have historical roots in upstate New York and also are of current consequence worldwide, such as sustainability and human rights.

“For example, a student in a Skidmore history class who studies the beginnings of the women’s suffrage movement at the Seneca Falls Convention might find support for a summer research experience that expands his or her research to include women’s rights movements in other countries,” said Beau Breslin, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs.

The grant also will help the New York Six institutions strengthen the infrastructure of their study abroad programs. Skidmore and the other five schools will share existing programs on a space-available basis. They are Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, St. Lawrence University and Union College.

Aided by the grant, faculty will be able to explore ways to pool resources so as to maintain instruction in less frequently taught languages.

The grant also will support programs aimed at strengthening a sense of community among international students on the six campuses. Specific steps toward doing that will be discussed at a full-day meeting of New York Six deans of students hosted by Skidmore tomorrow.

More than 60 percent of Skidmore students do at least one term of study abroad, participating in any of the 135 programs that Skidmore offers in 47 countries.

“Most students say that international study is one of the most transformative and impactful experiences they have at Skidmore,” said Breslin. “We view these experiences as a key step toward becoming life-long global learners.”

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