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Mellon Foundation awards Carleton $800,000 for innovation and diversity in arts and humanities

September 15, 2017

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant of $800,000 to Carleton for the four-year project Public Works: Providing Authentic Experience with Difference in the Arts and Humanities. 

As Carleton continues to advance its strategic goals, including preparing students for fulfilling post-graduate lives and careers, the Public Works project will provide faculty with crucial resources and opportunities in the arts and humanities. Engaging in on-campus and off-campus collaborations, and developing digital skills in meaningful public projects, students will be receiving valuable training for twenty-first century careers. The project will fully support the College’s objectives of increasing the number of opportunities for student-faculty research and providing students with pathways for utilizing the liberal arts in “life after Carleton.” Directors of the project are Susannah Ottaway, professor of history, and Kelly Connole, associate professor of art.

Institutions of higher education are eager to help students develop skills, engage meaningfully with diverse communities, and prepare for successful careers. In the Public Works project, faculty will be developing durable frameworks for these outcomes, with students and community organizations as full partners in all initiatives. Digital technologies will facilitate connections with far-flung national and international partners.

Students increasingly question the real-world practicality of studying the arts and humanities. In a time of civic polarization, however, the arts and humanities can provide students with tools they need to engage critically with digital environments and build more civil communities. Carleton President Steven Poskanzer sees the Public Works project as a crucial activity that will advance the college’s strategic priorities: “I look forward to Carleton faculty and staff participating in this remarkable initiative, and I thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for encouraging the kind of innovation in the arts and humanities that will help Carleton meet the needs of our increasingly diverse enrollment.”