Project Pericles Awards 25 Mellon Periclean Faculty Leader Grants to Support Innovative Humanities Courses with Community Collaboration
During this extraordinary time in higher education, Project Pericles is delighted to announce that 25 faculty members from 19 Periclean institutions have been selected to teach new, innovative courses in The Andrew W. Mellon Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™ in the Humanities.
This exciting program connects the humanities and liberal arts learning to challenges facing the wider campus community and society more broadly. In collaboration with community partners, Mellon Periclean Faculty Leaders (PFLs) create courses across the humanities that incorporate community-based projects addressing six grand challenges: Climate Change, Education Access, Immigration, Mass Incarceration, Race and Inequality, and Voter Engagement. Project Pericles provides a grant of $4,000 for each PFL to support these civic engagement activities on their campus and in their communities.
Presidents and Provosts on each campus nominated faculty members with demonstrated leadership potential who can make significant contributions on their campuses and in their communities. Nominations were submitted in collaboration with one or more community partners, ranging from an abbess in a nunnery to the acting assistant commissioner from the department of corrections. Community partners provided enthusiastic letters of support, making the vision for these courses powerful. Academic experts serving as outside evaluators then reviewed all applications before final selections were made.
Mellon PFL applications were submitted in early March, just before the national coronavirus disruptions. As we look to an especially uncertain future, it is hopeful to see the potential impact that each PFL course will have on the students, faculty, institution, community, and higher education, more generally. Each course is an exciting opportunity for students, equipping them with skills to effect change when they graduate.
Our outside evaluators were impressed with the excellent quality of the proposals and commented, “This cohort of proposals has tremendous potential to influence pedagogy on liberal arts campuses across the nation. Each in its own way pushes the envelope around what liberal learning can entail—inviting new approaches to civic engagement, activist learning, and community-based education,” and “Each will make a difference in the lives of their students, in the quality of life of their communities, and in the teaching of the humanities.”
This newly selected cohort of PFLs will spend 2020-2021 in conversation with their community partners to fine-tune their community-based projects and course requirements before the courses are taught in 2021-2022. The faculty represent a diverse and dynamic group of professors from recent PhDs to full professors and department chairs in a wide range of disciplines including: Asian Studies, Culture and Economy, Education, English, Environmental Studies, French and Francophone Studies, Latinx Studies, Media and Communications, Music, Peace and Social Justice Studies, Philosophy, Religion, Rhetoric Studies, Spanish, Theater, and Women’s and Gender Studies.
In addition to making an impact in the curriculum and community, the Mellon PFL grant was welcome news to the Presidents, Provosts, PFLs, and Project Pericles Program Directors on the 19 campuses. It is an award that will certainly make a difference on the campuses. We are pleased to share some of their enthusiastic responses:
“Thank you for sharing such wonderful news, and CONGRATULATIONS, Lei!!!! It has been wonderful to partner with Project Pericles and many thanks to everyone involved.”
–Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Swarthmore College
“This is wonderful and uplifting news! It is all the more pleasing to receive at a time such as we are in.”
–Tim Marshall, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, The New School
“On behalf of Carleton, we are very proud to have Palmar continue in the lineage of remarkable and committed faculty support by Project Pericles…We really appreciate the work your organization does to support innovative coursework and scholarship driven by the pursuit of a more just world.”
–Sinda Nichols, Director of the Center for Community and Civic Engagement, Carleton College
“Project Pericles is an important incubator of civic engagement and social responsibility in higher education. I thank you for this opportunity to collaborate with a community partner on public narratives and immigrants/refugees leading change.”
–Kathleen Yep, Mellon Periclean Faculty Leader, Professor of Asian American Studies, Pitzer College
“I am so grateful and excited to have the opportunity to take this journey to impact my research, teaching, and most importantly, the community!”
–Alexandra Reznik, Mellon Periclean Faculty Leader, Assistant Professor of Humanities, Chatham University
This select group joins an earlier cohort of Mellon PFLs and expands our vibrant, national community of PFLs dedicated to incorporating civic engagement into the curriculum while empowering students to use their academic knowledge to tackle real-world problems. PFLs reflect together and inspire each other. As part of the program, PFLs share their pedagogical approaches, experiences, and evaluations with higher education, more generally, through scholarly presentations and publications. They have a tremendous influence on their colleagues on their campus and across the nation, exemplifying how the humanities are enhanced by meaningful campus-community relationships.
We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Eugene M. Lang Foundation for supporting this national initiative and recognizing the power of the PFL Program to highlight the relevancy of the humanities. It will have a profound impact on our campuses while benefiting local communities and bringing resources to bear on pressing problems. Project Pericles shares with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation the goal of supporting the humanities, and the liberal arts more generally, in long-term sustainable ways, and in addressing real-world concerns. Prior support was provided by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) and The Teagle Foundation. Additionally, AVDF recently awarded Project Pericles $300,000 to launch a PFL Program in STEM and Social Sciences, complementing the Mellon PFL Program in the Humanities. We are grateful to our supporters for expanding the PFL program.
The PFL Program embodies the collective mission among our campuses, our supporters, and Project Pericles of graduating students with the knowledge, habits, and skills necessary to make contributions in their jobs, lives, and in their communities. We look forward to working with PFLs who through their courses and leadership, affect Pericleans and higher education more generally for decades to come.
Mellon Periclean Faculty Leaders in the Humanities, Courses, and Community Partners (Cohort II):