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Skidmore College

Skidmore receives $912,000 Mellon Foundation grant

October 2, 2018

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Skidmore College a $912,000 grant to promote diversity and global learning initiatives in its new general education curriculum. The award will support the hire of two new, permanent faculty members, as well as faculty development initiatives.

The funds – the latest in a series of major Andrew Mellon Foundation grants to Skidmore that have totaled nearly $8 million since 1970 – will create new tenure-track positions in gender studies and international affairs, as well as an administrative position. 

“Skidmore College is both grateful and honored to be able to implement this initiative in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” said Skidmore College President Philip Glotzbach. “The Mellon Foundation has helped Skidmore move forward with some of our most critical programming over the years. Skidmore and the Mellon Foundation share a vision that includes supporting both excellence and diversity in higher education, with an emphasis on the role of the humanities. This generous grant will advance that vision by helping us prepare our students to be socially responsible citizens in a complex world characterized by increasing complexity and continual change.”

The new faculty members, who will begin teaching in the fall of 2019, will contribute to Skidmore programs in Latin American studies and intergroup relations, as well as to a planned black studies minor.  Skidmore will continue to fund the positions following completion of the grant in 2022.

The Mellon Foundation award also will provide support for faculty members as they develop courses for the new curriculum, which was approved in 2017. The funds will support the creation of pedagogy clusters, which will encourage faculty to collaborate in new ways and across disciplines. Skidmore’s Center for Leadership in Teaching and Learning – which was launched with the support of a $250,000 Mellon Foundation award in 2014 – will administer the pedagogy clusters. The grant also will fund visits by experts and peer observation training.

“This grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will help us immensely with the launch of our new general education curriculum,” said Michael Orr, Skidmore’s dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs.  “The faculty positions the grant makes possible are important for the significance and popularity of the fields and for their strategic role in diversifying our curriculum. The faculty development resources will help ensure that the new curriculum succeeds in helping students to integrate knowledge — that is, make meaningful and productive connections among the various courses, ideas and experiences of a liberal arts education — more effectively.”

Approximately 90 new courses will be created as part of the new curriculum.

New Global Cultural Perspectives coursework will probe perspectives beyond Western cultural traditions, while a Bridge Experience on Power and Justice will encourage students to interrogate the nature of power and justice.

Skidmore’s relationship with the Mellon Foundation goes back to 1970, when it received $150,000 for nursing education.  Since then, the Foundation has supported Skidmore with 24 additional grants totaling nearly $8 million.

Recent Mellon Foundation grants have supported the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, major curricular initiatives, faculty development and other programs.

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