Wofford College receives $500k grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

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Wofford College on Thursday, Oct. 12, announced it received a three-year, $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The school said it will use the funds to revitalize its general education curriculum and provide more creative and collaborative approaches to the student experience.

“This generous support from The Mellon Foundation will allow Wofford’s faculty to pilot the new concepts they have been developing, then assess their success as part of the ongoing process of reviewing general education at Wofford,” said the college’s Provost Michael Sosulski, in a statement. “The Wofford community knews that meeting the needs of tomorrow’s students involves careful deliberation and planning.”

Wofford said the grant will provide funding for faculty to design and pilot new courses or to enhance existing ones and to experiment with creative teaching methods and collaborate in new ways.

The funds will also provide faculty with the opportunity to dedicate time, especially during the summer, to creative curricular development in general education; allow Wofford to create new faculty leadership roles in general education; facilitate the faculty and staff’s reimagining of Wofford’s approach to pre-major advising and adviser training, enhance the college’s ability to support faculty who are interested in professional development in teaching and scholarship; and enhance the school’s ability to share work within the broader academic community, the college said.

“The generous support of The Mellon Foundation comes at an opportune time as Wofford finds itself in the midst of some historic changes,” said Wofford’s President Nayef Samhat, in a statement. “A top 100 national liberal arts college, Wofford has a bold new strategic vision for our future.”

Samhat said that vision includes energetic new senior academic leadership, steady enrollment, a strong endowment, and a highly engaged faculty and staff that has “eagerly co-authored the ambitious vision for the college’s future.”

“The Wofford faculty’s deep investment in teaching, advising, scholarship, and community service leaves little time for the kind of self-reflection and collective deliberation that are essential to sustaining a residential intellectual community,” said Eugene Tobin, senior program officer for The Mellon Foundation, in a statement. “As the college prepares to renew the general education curriculum and adopt stronger undergraduate research, civic engagement, and study abroad programs, this grant will renew, stimulate, and inspire the faculty and administration’s deliberations and planning.”

The latest grant is the third Wofford has received from The Mellon Foundation during the past four years.

In 2013, the foundation gave Wofford and Converse colleges a joint grant of $75,000 to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their library services.

The following year, the foundation provided Wofford with a $100,000 grant to enhance the general education curriculum to renew emphasis on writing and further integrate information literacy, undergraduate research, electronic portfolios, and the digital humanities.

According to its website, the foundation supports institutions of higher learning and “endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.”

The foundation has provided more than $6.2 billion of endowments since its inception in 1969.

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