The Five Colleges of Ohio, Inc., in collaboration with the Ohio State University, has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish a postdoctoral fellowship program to support the teaching of foreign languages. This is the largest grant the consortium of colleges has been awarded since its foundation in 1995.
The joint endeavor will give 10 recipients of OSU’s doctoral degree in languages appointments to two-year teaching positions at Kenyon, Denison University, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University and the College of Wooster.
“This award provides an extraordinary opportunity to leverage the diverse resources of OSU and the Five Colleges to enhance language teaching and learning while introducing the fellows to higher education in a liberal arts context,” said Susan Palmer, executive director of the Five Colleges of Ohio. “I truly appreciate the support and encouragement of the Mellon Foundation, as well as the leadership of the 70 faculty members and administrators who were active participants in the proposal planning process.”
Provost Joseph Klesner is pleased with the partnering the grant allows. "The deans and provosts of the Five Colleges anticipate that the collaboration we have achieved while writing the proposal will extend to the language faculty during our implementation of the Mellon grant,” he said. “This project will be the most extensive academic endeavor among the Five Colleges to date, giving us an opportunity to learn as a consortium how to do collaborative curricular projects well."
The goal of the grant is to broaden, transform or update each college’s curriculum in existing language programs. Participating colleges will hire two postdoctoral fellows who fit their departments’ needs, whether that is to strengthen a fledgling language program or provide language courses as part of an interdisciplinary track of study. The grant encourages the colleges to find efficiencies and share resources in languages, as well as to offer professional development involving both teaching and scholarship.
“At a time when liberal arts colleges are under great pressure to internationalize their curricula and offer a wide range of commonly and less commonly taught languages, the Five Colleges of Ohio have created an innovative private-public partnership that provides curricular breadth and academic rigor without additional cost to students and their families,” said Eugene Tobin, senior program officer for higher education and scholarship in the humanities at the Mellon Foundation.