An $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will help launch a suite of Franklin & Marshall College initiatives aimed at advancing the College's commitment to inclusivity, supporting an environment primed for the increasingly broad range of domestic and international students the College enrolls.
The five-year grant will fund curricular analysis inspired by faculty to ensure broad perspective in the classroom, as well as workshops led by experts in teaching today's students, and faculty travel to national conferences. Other aspects of the award are a competitive mini-grant program to support the participation of faculty from various departments in discipline-specific, off-site workshops, and ideas for crowd-sourcing ways to advance diversity and inclusion.
The Foundation's support also will help establish a number of new tenure-track faculty positions at F&M, attracting and retaining diverse, high-achieving scholars adept at mentoring an increasingly diverse student body. By moving forward F&M's efforts to recruit new faculty of great promise from the deepest pools of talent available, the program will enhance the College's attractiveness to top-performing scholars and promote the exploration of new, broader subject matter in faculty research and teaching.
"We have such an incredible faculty here at F&M. This generous grant from the Mellon Foundation recognizes their quality, their commitment to providing our students a transformative liberal arts experience, and the importance of our strategies to continue replenishing their ranks from among the world's most talented scholars," said Franklin & Marshall President Daniel R. Porterfield. "We have a responsibility to prepare the next generation of F&M alumni to compete in global, knowledge-based economies, and this grant provides resources critical to that effort."
Beginning this fall, the College will recruit the first of three grant-funded Mellon High-Impact Emerging Scholars and four F&M-funded High-Impact Emerging Scholars, offering them, over the course of two-year appointments, rare opportunities to develop research, classroom skills and pedagogical resources.
The College will recruit all seven scholars on the basis of talent and potential impact through their curricular/pedagogical innovation and scholarship. Mellon Emerging Scholars will have scholarly interests in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. High-Impact Emerging Scholars, meanwhile, will have scholarly focus comporting with any remaining departments.
"Receiving this grant is a real point of pride for F&M. It positions us for leadership both in capitalizing on our current faculty's immense talents and in recruiting the next generation of great F&M teachers and scholars," F&M Provost Joel Martin said. "This resource gives us the tools to help them flourish in their research, the development of their classroom skills, and their roles in the Franklin & Marshall Community. It also provides for continuity. Close mentorship by current faculty will help sustain F&M's rich academic culture and tradition of excellence."
Martin added, "From this generous investment, we hope to yield world-engaging, problem-based, and experiential learning in Lancaster and beyond — and provide the College a distinct competitive advantage."
This latest grant — the largest from the Mellon Foundation in the College's history — adds to the Foundation's extensive history of support for F&M. In 2008, the College received a $440,000 grant strengthening the College's overall efforts to develop its Environmental Studies curriculum. The Foundation also awarded the College a $500,000 grant in 2010 to help solidify the Phillips Museum of Art's connection to the College's academic program and support efforts to secure its accreditation by the American Association of Museums.
A $700,000 grant in 2014 provided four years of operating support for F&M's Faculty Center, located in Shadek-Fackenthal Library and focused on faculty development and supporting, sustaining and celebrating faculty in their roles as teachers, scholars and college citizens.
The College has benefited, too, from a number of grants made by the Foundation to organizations of which it is a member, including the Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts and the Central Pennsylvania Consortium.