UNC Greensboro has received a $200,000, 1.5 year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a new program that aims to strengthen and transform humanities education and research for students, faculty, and the broader campus and Greensboro communities.

“Transforming Undergraduate Education at a Minority Serving Institution: Integrating Interdisciplinary Research Across the Humanities” will reinvent the University’s humanities programs, such as English, history, and classical studies, in three distinct ways:

  • Comprehensive course redesign to integrate undergraduate research skill development
  • Faculty-student research collaborations focused on interdisciplinary, community-engaged work
  • Enhanced career preparation and professional development for humanities students

“We are thrilled to launch an innovative program that will allow us to rethink the humanities across our campus,” said UNCG Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “By transforming undergraduate research and career preparation for students, enhancing curricula, and offering faculty new tools, UNC Greensboro is positioning itself to emerge as a leader in the humanities, across the state and beyond. We’d like to thank the Mellon Foundation for its generous investment in our University and its ongoing support of the humanities and arts.”

The new program, launched this month, is designed to offer new funded research opportunities for faculty, while improving graduation rates and post-graduation success for underserved students. The impact will reach beyond the confines of campus – not only through community-engaged research, but through the development of the next generation of active, concerned citizens dedicated to serving and improving their respective communities.

While the initial funding will serve as a seed grant for the first year and a half, UNCG has plans to continue and grow the program beyond 2020.

“Higher education institutions have a responsibility to bridge gaps and better serve their communities and the nation,” said Eugene Tobin, senior program officer at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “In addition to promoting research, academic achievement, and career preparation, this grant will also help UNC Greensboro guide and nurture a generation of future community leaders.”

Instruction in the humanities helps students develop transferrable skills in writing, speaking, collaboration, and critical thinking that are essential for professional success after graduation.

Additionally, research shows that undergraduate research is a high-impact practice that correlates with academic achievement and successful post-graduate outcomes. However, historically too few students participate, and often there are fewer opportunities in humanities disciplines. By incorporating research skill development into humanities classrooms and interdisciplinary research groups, a greater number of UNCG students will have the opportunity to develop and master these critical skills.

Dr. Joanne Murphy, associate professor of classical studies, serves as the principal investigator on the grant, and will partner with humanities faculty across campus to implement new initiatives. The program will also build on current initiatives of UNCG’s Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office and the Humanities Network and Consortium, and is supported by the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Research and Engagement.

Faculty and staff wanting to learn more about this new program are invited to join Chancellor Gilliam and Provost Dana Dunn at a reception next Thursday, Jan. 31, at 3:30 p.m. at Alumni House on campus. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP via this Google Form.