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Mellon Foundation Grant to Enhance International Education at W&L

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Washington and Lee University a four-year, $577,000 grant in support of the University’s efforts to enhance the quality of programs and projects in international education.

The grant comes as W&L is embarking on a strategic initiative to integrate international experiences more effectively into the undergraduate program. Part of this initiative includes plans for a new $13.5 million Center for Global Learning.

“This grant from the Mellon Foundation arrives at an ideal time, and we’re very grateful to the foundation,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “Not only are we in the planning stage of the new building to house our international education program, but we are also introducing well-planned enhancements of our curriculum. This grant will be invaluable as we continue to develop the academic programming in this important area.”

The programs to be supported by the Mellon grant are divided into three distinct areas— preparation, enhancement and reintegration—that correspond to the strategies developed to maximize the value of W&L students’ experiences abroad.

“Regardless of the kind of international engagement that students choose, each requires an intentional, three-stage approach to learning in order to integrate fully our students’ experience into their W&L education”, said Laurent Boetsch, director of international education at Washington and Lee. “The Mellon grant will assist us in helping students who spend time abroad to become active resources for global learning in our classrooms and on our campus.”

The grant will provide funding for a variety of activities including:

  • faculty travel to explore new overseas study opportunities or to lay the groundwork for new W&L spring term abroad courses
  • student summer research stipends in connection with faculty-supervised research overseas
  • special courses that prepare students for a forthcoming overseas experience
  • new courses that help returning students integrate their study abroad with their regular on-campus work
  • conferences on pedagogical issues in international education

“This grant is especially exciting because it offers us the support that we need to maintain our momentum in international education,” said Robert Strong, interim provost at W&L. “We are very pleased that the Mellon Foundation recognized the strides that we have made in this area and also the thoughtful planning that will make our efforts distinctive.”

The Mellon Foundation has awarded Washington and Lee more than $3 million in support in recent years. In 2011, the Mellon Foundation gave the University a $700,000 grant to establish a new Mellon Junior Faculty Fellows Program in the Humanities, which brings postdoctoral scholars to the University for mentored experience to prepare for independent careers.

Among other programs that have benefited from Mellon funding: enhancements to the four-week Spring Term; strategies to enhance international education at W&L; efforts to create a more diverse faculty; the addition of a Chesapeake Bay Watershed initiative to W&L’s Environmental Studies Program; the creation of a leave program for assistant professors to pursue research; the development of in-house funding for technology in teaching; and the addition of a post-doctoral fellow in environmental studies.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
(540) 458-8459