Mellon grant will fund summer research institute

Cornell College has received a $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a summer research institute and to expand its digital liberal arts efforts.

A grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will expand the number of opportunities for student-faculty research at Cornell College.
A grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will expand the number of opportunities for student-faculty research at Cornell College.

The bulk of the grant will go toward the creation of the Cornell Institute for Summer Research. Beginning next summer the college will seek to double the number of supported research projects, currently at 12 to 14 and mostly in the sciences, by accommodating additional projects in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences. The grant will enhance the funds available for stipends, project supplies, and student housing. Student researchers from a variety of disciplines will live together in a residence hall, creating a summer living-learning community.

The remainder of the grant funding will support faculty development and support in the digital liberal arts. Faculty development opportunities will include travel and registration expenses to a variety of summer workshops and stipends to attend a series of project-specific collaborative workshops offered on campus during the summer. To support the efforts, the college plans to purchase a 3D printer for the Academic Technology Studio and expand staff support for technology.

Cornell College Dean Joe Dieker said the grant will help the college fulfill the goal of providing more experiential learning opportunities for students.

“Our goal is for every Cornell graduate to have participated in some kind of experiential learning opportunity,” he said. “The Mellon Grant will enhance our student-faculty collaborative research program greatly and expand access to these opportunities to a larger number of students.”

Cornell College already has a strong research and experiential learning program, with approximately 60 percent of students participating in internships, off-campus studies, independent coursework, and summer collaborative research with members of the faculty. Cornell faculty have also embraced digital liberal arts, with a number of courses in a range of disciplines from history to geology to politics incorporating digital projects into the curriculum.

“We are grateful for the continued strong support of the Mellon Foundation,” Dieker said. “The foundation has previously supported Cornell College with grants to fund projects in environmental studies and the development of interdisciplinary courses, among other things. This new grant will ensure Cornell students will continue to have access to the very best in liberal arts education.”