R. Owen Williams, president of the Associated Colleges of the South, has announced that the organization has received $2.7 million in funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a five-year faculty advancement program.
The grant will enable the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) to provide significant financial support for faculty innovation at its 16 member colleges and universities. The University of the South is a member of the consortium. Funding will be available for projects in three areas: innovative instruction, collaborative curriculum, and inclusive teaching. The new programs developed will promote collaboration among the ACS institutions.
“ACS has already begun to work on several elements of this project,” Williams said. “In its recent meeting at the University of the South, the ACS Council of Deans devoted their attention to this topic, and various faculty members are already working on aspects of the program.”
A portion of the grant will be used to continue the ACS’s agenda of providing grants to faculty to fund initiatives in innovative pedagogy. Other projects will experiment with providing new, collaborative curricula, as well as combining resources across campuses to create entirely new courses and programs. A third emphasis will be on faculty diversity and inclusion.
“ACS allows its member institutions to build programs that would be difficult for each individual school to create. These funding opportunities will assist Sewanee’s efforts to build a world-class faculty and create innovative academic programs that complement and build on our traditional disciplines,” said Sewanee Vice-Chancellor John McCardell.
The Mellon Foundation helps colleges and universities respond to the current challenges affecting higher education, and fosters collaborations within and among institutions. “During a period of dramatic demographic change and constant pressure to demonstrate the ‘value proposition’ of a liberal arts education, the ACS’s determination to address the challenges of diversity, equity, inclusion, and financial equilibrium are worthy of support,” observed Eugene Tobin, senior program officer in higher education and scholarship in the humanities. “Over two decades ago, ACS’s willingness to use technology to create a virtual classics program demonstrated the intellectual benefits of academic collaboration. This grant,” Tobin noted, “will enable a new generation of students and faculty to share resources and pedagogies that combine the strengths of a residential education with the latest advances in technology.”
The Associated Colleges of the South is a consortium of 16 nationally recognized liberal arts colleges spread across 12 states extending from Virginia to Texas and representing approximately 3,000 faculty and 30,000 undergraduates.