The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $900,000 grant to Vassar College to help implement curriculum enhancements designed to engage students and faculty with people and organizations in Poughkeepsie and surrounding communities. Funding will begin July 1 and continue through August 2023.
The money will be used to foster and support innovations in the curriculum called “Community-Engaged Intensives in the Humanities,” including the arts, languages and humanistic social sciences. The new courses will be designed to cultivate lasting collaborations among Vassar students, faculty and local residents, businesses, government agencies and nonprofit groups throughout the Hudson Valley. Vassar’s Office of Community-Engaged Learning (OCEL) will play a key role in working with faculty and community groups to design and implement these courses.
Vassar College President Elizabeth Bradley said, “Thanks to this generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, the work that is already being done to strengthen our ties with the community will become even more substantial. These funds will allow us to experiment with new ways of demonstrating the relevance and positive social benefits of education in the liberal arts—particularly the humanities and the arts—in the community.”
Dean of Faculty Jonathan Chenette said the collaborations that will be made possible by the Mellon grant will benefit both the college and the community. “Faculty-mentored community-engaged projects grounded in the arts and humanities will help our students gain the skills and perspectives they need for engaged citizenship in their lives,” Chenette said. “We seek to pilot a community engagement approach in which community expertise is deeply integrated with the perspectives and skills cultivated through liberal arts education for the benefit of all academic and community partners.”
Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is one of the nation’s largest funders of the humanities in higher education and the arts.
Vassar College is a coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.