Mellon Foundation grant supports academic excellence through faculty strength

June 18, 2013

Mellon Foundation LogoThe Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has approved a grant of $800,000 to support Whitman’s ongoing efforts to upgrade long-term adjunct faculty positions to tenure-track appointments and to strengthen library holdings in the fields in which these faculty members teach.

Four positions in the humanities and social sciences will be upgraded from contingent to tenure-track positions, continuing the successful work made possible by a Mellon grant awarded in 2011, which allowed the college to convert eight faculty positions to tenure-track positions.

“This grant, when combined with college resources, builds on the commitment made in the Now Is the Time Campaign to strengthen the academic program through the expansion of our tenure track faculty,” said John Bogley, vice president for development and college relations. “We are grateful for the renewed support of the Mellon Foundation to this initiative and we are pleased about how the addition of these tenure track teacher-scholars will enrich the student learning experience at Whitman.”

The new Mellon grant will create tenure-track positions that are defined as internal sabbatical leave (ISL) replacements. These ISL positions will preclude departments from requesting the equivalent of one sabbatical replacement position in any given year, eliminating the need to hire a contingent faculty member. The first two of the four Mellon positions for which the college will search will be in the history and English departments, with an emphasis on environmental studies and creative non-fiction, respectively.

“The conversion of contingent to tenure-track positions enables Whitman to enhance the education we offer to our students in many ways. More particularly, it ensures that we are able to hire and retain faculty members who have made a long-standing commitment to our academic community,” said Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of the faculty.

“By stabilizing our faculty in this way, students are able to develop the long-standing relationships with faculty members that are a hallmark of the serious commitment to the liberal arts and sciences education we all so prize. We are deeply grateful to the Mellon Foundation for its assistance in helping us secure this end.”

In addition to funding four years of salary for each of the four new tenure-track positions, the grant will provide support for the ancillary needs of the 12 total positions created through these two Mellon grants. These needs include library collections, technology and equipment. The grant will also support professional development funds and external reviews.