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Grant to fund improved humanities teaching, research
Jeff Unger, News Bureau (217) 333-1085
Ill. — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will receive
$1.25 million over four years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to
fund an initiative to transform teaching and research in four departments
in the humanities.
The support will focus primarily on work in the anthropology, comparative
literature, English and history departments. The funds will be used
to support Mellon Faculty Fellows, Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellows, and
Mellon Humanities conferences at Illinois.
"The humanities at Illinois are vibrant and perfectly positioned
to assert themselves nationally at a moment when the renewal and rearticulation
of the sensibilities of the humanities are vital," said Nancy Cantor,
the chancellor of the Urbana campus. "We believe a key to the development
of the humanities at Illinois and nationally is in extending interdisciplinary
involvement of this new generation of humanistic scholars in ways that
will facilitate this process while also positioning them to reintegrate
their broadened perspectives within their respective disciplines."
The faculty fellows program as conceived would result in the naming
of 10 faculty fellows each year during the second, third and fourth
year of the initiative. Fellows selected will be released from teaching
responsibilities half-time for a year or full-time for a semester depending
upon the projects they’re pursuing. Some of the teaching responsibilities
will be covered by post-doctoral fellows in the program and some by
adjunct faculty. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will provide
funds to cover costs associated with appointing six additional faculty
fellows in the humanities.
"The Mellon Faculty Fellows Program will provide an opportunity
for an extraordinary cohort of faculty members in four departments in
the humanities to conduct research and develop new courses in a stimulating
interdisciplinary environment," Cantor said.
The initiative also will provide funds for eight junior post-doctoral
fellows selected from applicants nationally. The fellows, scholars early
in their careers, will be mentored by senior humanist scholars, conduct
their own research and scholarship, and teach one course during the
first year, and two courses during the second year. The initiative will
also support bringing senior fellows to campus for periods of several
days up to a year.
Finally, the initiative will fund an expanded set of state-of-the-art
conferences to enhance the humanities. As planned, the campus would
add six conferences over the four years of the initiative to bring together
the most important scholars nationally on a series of topics given focus
within important groups of faculty fellows and post-doctoral fellows.
Each conference would have a Senior Fellow, a scholar of singular importance
to current developments associated with the topic or area.