Mellon Foundation Awards $5.5 Million for Diversity Initiative

Mellon Foundation Awards $5.5 Million for Diversity Initiative

The Creating Connections Consortium (C3), a group of liberal arts colleges working to promote diversity in higher education, has announced a five-year, $5.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Launched in 2012 with a $4.7 million grant from Mellon, the C3 initiative — which includes Connecticut College, Middlebury, Williams, and Bates  — works to ensure that scholars from underrepresented groups receive the encouragement and support they need to pursue graduate studies and a career in academia. The new grant will enable members of the consortium to accelerate their diversity efforts — including continued support for the Undergraduate Fellowship Program, panels and workshops, and an annual summit — while replacing the Postdoctoral Fellows Program with new tenure-track C3 Professorships in the humanities for up to two years, as well as a New Scholar Series that will bring emerging scholars from underrepresented groups to campus for talks or symposia. The consortium also will use the grant to expand its reach to partner universities — including Columbia University, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley.

"With Mellon's support, C3 is transforming American colleges and their faculties," said Williams College president Adam Falk. "By funding an expanded vision of the program, in partnership with LADO, the new grant will further enrich our campuses, enhancing teaching and scholarship across the humanities. Such work ensures that our schools will be inclusive places, representative of the world as it is and as it's becoming."

"Our association with C3 has proven to be one of the college's most effective initiatives for establishing a strong faculty recruitment pipeline," said John McKnight, dean of institutional equity and inclusion at Connecticut College. "For the past two years, Conn faculty and faculty colleagues from Bates, Williams, and Middlebury have joined me at the University of Michigan for a two-day symposium with newly minted PhDs in a variety of fields who are eager to learn about the teaching and research opportunities available in the liberal arts. It is inspiring to engage in these sorts of conversations with folks who are at the start of their careers in the professoriate and to begin to imagine together how the diversity they bring will positively impact the academy for generations to come."