Research News

Vanderbilt receives $1.475 million Mellon Foundation grant to create humanities partnership

Vanderbilt V logoVanderbilt University has received a $1.475 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish a new faculty development partnership with Tennessee State University, Tougaloo College and Berea College.

The Mellon Partners for Humanities Education initiative will support specialized training for new Vanderbilt Ph.D.s in preparing students for teaching at liberal arts colleges and historically black colleges and universities, as well as provide education regarding public and digital humanities. The award will also fund a postdoctoral and faculty exchange among the four schools that will support faculty development and undergraduate education at the partner schools.

“This program not only expands our understanding of humanities scholarship, but it invests in the faculty and students of the future,” said Carolyn Dever, dean of the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University. “Our Ph.D. alumni will benefit from focused training and teaching in diverse environments. Our partner schools will gain teaching resources, and all four schools will profit from transinstitutional exchanges of ideas and faculty. We are most grateful to the Mellon Foundation for its vision and support.”

Vanderbilt will create two education programs for doctoral students in humanities or humanistic social sciences. The Mellon Seminar in Liberal Arts Teaching will focus on issues relevant to teaching in liberal arts and historically black colleges and universities. The Mellon Institute for Early-career Scholars in the Digital and Public Humanities will train doctoral students in the use and development of public and digital humanities.

Three recent Vanderbilt Ph.D.’s in the humanities or humanistic social sciences will receive Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowships and teach at Tougaloo, Berea or TSU starting in fall 2014. Six more fellowships will be awarded in subsequent years. In addition to salary, benefits and research funds, the two-year fellowships will provide new Ph.D.’s with teaching and research experience in institutions other than Vanderbilt.

The faculty exchange program is designed to promote the sharing of ideas and perspectives, as well as provide opportunities for research. It will involve campus visits to Vanderbilt from faculty at the three partner schools and campus visits to those schools by Vanderbilt faculty members.

The program will begin accepting fellowship applications in early 2014. Curriculums for the Mellon Seminar in Liberal Arts Teaching and the Mellon Institute for Early-career Scholars in the Digital and Public Humanities are under development. More details on the seminar, institute and faculty exchange program will be announced later in 2014.

Tennessee State University is a historically black public university in Nashville with more than 7,000 students and degree programs in a broad range of disciplines. Tougaloo College is a historically black private liberal arts college in Jackson, Miss., serving approximately 1,000 students. Berea College, located near Lexington, Ky., was the first coeducational and interracial college in the southern United States. Ranked as the top liberal arts college in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Berea has approximately 1,600 students.

Vanderbilt’s College of Arts and Science has a history of successful collaborations with historically black colleges and universities including the FIPSE Immigration Program with Howard University, the Masters-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program in physics, astronomy and materials science with Fisk University, and the Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy Center at Meharry Medical College.