College receives $900,000 grant from Mellon Foundation


The College of William and Mary has received a $900,000 grant to support the implementation of the new general education curriculum, which will take effect in fall 2015.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the College the grant, which will be distributed over the next four years. William and Mary News reported that the grant’s purpose is to aid in funding startup costs for the new curriculum.

“We are gratified that the Mellon Foundation shares our enthusiasm for the new curriculum, and very grateful for its willingness to support its implementation in such a substantial way,” Provost Michael Halleran said in a press release. “The funding will allow us to maintain the momentum generated by our faculty’s hard work over the past three years.”

As of February, the new COLL curriculum was projected to cost $1.1 million in its first four years, and an extra $700,000 annually after that.

The COLL requirements will differ from the current GER system academically and financially. Under the new curriculum, COLL requirements will extend through a student’s four years at the College. At the moment, students can complete GERs at any point in their careers and in no particular order. In the new system, freshmen will take a 100-level course along with a freshman seminar. Students will also be required to take a single course in three cross-disciplinary knowledge areas at the 200 level. The next requirement, COLL 300, focuses on the world beyond Williamsburg and may be completed through study abroad. Students will finish the requirements with COLL 400, a capstone experience within the major.

The Mellon grant will be put toward smoothing the transition as current students complete their studies under the GER system and 2015 freshmen begin with the COLL curriculum. It will also be used to support faculty who are currently developing COLL courses, and will help fund the new Center for the Liberal Arts at the College.

Dean of the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences Kate Conley expressed her appreciation for the grant, as well as for the faculty’s involvement with the curriculum review, which began in the 2008-09 school year when the College’s strategic planning process called for a faculty review of the general education curriculum.

“Part of the purpose of a curriculum review is to engage the faculty in a sustained discussion of the purposes of the liberal arts and how best to contribute our individual expertise into an integrated whole for the students,” Conley said in a press release. “I’m delighted with the many ways our faculty have embraced this opportunity. This substantial support from the Mellon Foundation matches our own high level of energy and engagement.”

Before Arts and Sciences faculty voted to adopt the new College Curriculum — with 55 percent in favor of its implementation and 45 percent against — on Dec. 12, 2013, the general education curriculum had last been revised in 1993.


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