Bryn Mawr Receives $1 Million Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation For Liberal Arts Curricular Innovation

Posted April 14th, 2011 at 4:41 pm.

Bryn Mawr College has received a $1 million, three-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help fund the College’s ongoing efforts to create “an innovative and sustainable liberal arts curriculum for the 21st Century.”

“Like every college and university, Bryn Mawr has to regularly re-examine its priorities, question elements of our model, and search for ways to continue to strengthen what we do well and enhance our advantages by pursuing new opportunities,” says Provost Kim Cassidy. “Thanks to the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, our faculty will be supported in strategic curricular planning; pedagogic innovation; faculty-student research collaboration; and experimentation with the latest classroom and learning technology.”

The grant will make possible the exploration of new initiatives such as the Tri-Co Digital Humanities Consortium, 360° course clusters, half-semester courses and writing-intensive courses. Funding from this grant will also help the college explore the targeted use of online and open courseware; pursue “signature” Tri-College academic programs with Haverford and Swarthmore; and investigate the possibility of developing partnerships with research universities.

The grant will also support the creation of an academic blueprint for the future that describes curricular changes that further enhance the student experience. The faculty Committee on Academic Priorities (CAP) gathered the ideas in the current draft of this plan through extensive conversations with the general faculty throughout the year. Before the plan can be approved by the general faculty, more work will be needed to determine the final shape of the blueprint and the details of implementation. In addition to the blueprint, CAP has also been addressing issues of curricular sustainability and resource allocation. CAP is expected to issue its annual report to the president by May 13.

“For several years, going back to the Task Force on Balancing Mission and Resources’ report to the board in 2008, the faculty and administration have been engaged in a variety of pursuits to preserve and strengthen Bryn Mawr’s academic excellence while also keeping an eye on the future,” says Cassidy. “Everyone involved in this process is deeply committed to the breadth and depth of study afforded by a liberal arts education and to the goal of providing the highest-quality education for our current and future students.”

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