November 18, 2014
Susquehanna University has been awarded $100,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop practical, applied academic minors that can be paired with arts and humanities majors. The funds will be used over a two-year period to support arts and humanities faculty members in developing interdisciplinary minors that complement their disciplines.
"Our goal is to increase the percentage of students who graduate with liberal arts degrees by helping them pursue their passions while developing pathways to post-college lives that are both intellectually and financially sustaining," said Susquehanna President L. Jay Lemons. The initiative is timely given increasing public debate-and often misunderstanding-about the value of the liberal arts.
The project builds on the university's previous success in developing new programs, such as the publishing and editing minor. First offered in 2010, the minor has attracted more than 50 students to date, the majority of whom are literature or creative writing majors. Graduates already have a track record of acceptance into prestigious postgraduate programs and publishing houses.
"The foundation's funding has fueled faculty creativity and generated a great deal of energy," according to Provost and Dean of the Faculty Linda McMillin. Some new minors will be offered as early as fall 2015. The museum studies and public policy minors are two examples.
Students with a museum studies minor can look forward to gaining practical experience in a museum setting while exploring topics in art history, history and anthropology. Public policy minors will learn to articulate and analyze problems and develop policies aimed at solutions, leading to careers in policy analysis, public administration or nonprofit management.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has had a long-standing commitment to the arts and humanities, and has a history of supporting a select group of colleges and universities that share that commitment. Grant proposals are solicited by invitation only.
"We appreciate the foundation's recognition of our important work in the liberal arts and our success in these disciplines," McMillin said. Susquehanna enrolls about 2,100 students from around the country and across the globe. Evidence of the university's success is consistently found in its high rankings for actual vs. predicted graduation rates and further evidence is found in the success of its graduates, 94 percent of whom are in graduate or professional school within six months of graduation.
Execution of this project will rely on Susquehanna's strong faculty, McMillin continued. "They share an entrepreneurial spirit, fueled by new ideas, new research interests and an interactive and hands-on approach to teaching. The opportunity made possible by the foundation's gift has created wonderful energy, which is sure to benefit our students."