Dr. Hill and students

Wofford receives $500,000 Mellon Foundation grant

Gift to fund revitalization of general education curriculum

Mellon Grant 382x255
2017-10-12

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College has received a $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to revitalize its general education curriculum, providing more creative and collaborative approaches to the student experience.

“This generous support from The Mellon Foundation will allow Wofford’s faculty to pilot the new concepts they have been developing, then assess their success as part of the ongoing process of reviewing general education at Wofford,” Dr. Michael J. Sosulski, provost. “The Wofford community knows that meeting the needs of tomorrow’s students involves careful deliberation and planning.”

Earlier this year, the faculty approved further exploration and experimentation with the general education curriculum, the core courses that all students are required to complete. “The Mellon Foundation grant will be crucial to helping Wofford achieve its ambitious curricular goals by removing barriers – conceptual and financial – to experimentation and growth,” Sosulski says. “With the grant, the college will pilot and test some of the concepts approved by the faculty while continuing to discuss, assess, refine and approve those deemed effective.”

The Mellon Foundation has agreed to support Wofford’s work on general education through this three-year, $500,000 grant in a variety of ways, including providing funding for faculty to design and pilot new courses or to enhance existing ones and to experiment with creative teaching methods and collaborate in new ways; providing faculty with the opportunity to dedicate time, especially during the summer, to creative curricular development in general education; allowing Wofford to create new faculty leadership roles in general education; facilitating the faculty and staff’s reimagining of Wofford’s approach to pre-major advising and adviser training; enhancing Wofford’s ability to support faculty who are interested in professional development in teaching and scholarship; and enhancing the college’s ability to share work within the broader academic community.

“The generous support of The Mellon Foundation comes at an opportune time as Wofford finds itself in the midst of some historic changes,” Wofford President Nayef Samhat says. “A top 100 national liberal arts college, Wofford has a bold new strategic vision for our future; energetic new senior academic leadership; steady enrollment; a strong endowment, with a promising campaign in its early stages; and a highly engaged faculty and staff that has eagerly co-authored that ambitious vision for the college’s future.”

Eugene Tobin, a senior program officer at The Mellon Foundation, says, “The Wofford faculty’s deep investment in teaching, advising, scholarship and community service leaves little time for the kind of self-reflection and collective deliberation that are essential to sustaining a residential intellectual community. As the college prepares to renew the general education curriculum and adopt stronger undergraduate research, civic engagement and study abroad programs, this grant will renew, stimulate and inspire the faculty and administration’s deliberations and planning.”

In 2014, The Mellon Foundation provided Wofford with a $100,000 grant to enhance the general education curriculum to renew emphasis on writing and further integrating information literacy, undergraduate research, electronic portfolios and the digital humanities. Also, in 2013, the foundation gave Wofford and Converse College a joint grant of $75,000 to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their library services in the digital information age.