Duane Bonifer  |  Published September 13, 2018

Mellon Foundation Grant will help Curriculum

$200,000 grant will allow Monmouth to revise and bolster its liberal arts curriculum.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College has received a grant from one of the largest foundations in the United States to strengthen its liberal arts curriculum.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York has given the College a $200,000 grant to revise and bolster its integrated studies program.

The $200,000 grant “is an exciting moment” in the College’s history because it is one of the largest humanities grants Monmouth has received. It also follows an earlier $100,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to improve the College’s first-year experience for students.

“This continued support from the Mellon Foundation allows us to build on the great accomplishments we achieved under the previous grant,” said Monmouth interim Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs Mark Willhardt. “This grant will allow us to examine the whole of our integrated studies curriculum, from what we call it to how it fits into our liberal arts ideals. This is an exciting moment and one full of great promise, as faculty from across disciplines come together to laud our strengths and imagine new possibilities.”

The Mellon Foundation’s $200,000 grant will fund several initiatives over the next three years that will benefit Monmouth’s integrated studies program, including an outside review of the curriculum, faculty-development programs and a communication plan so that prospective students and their families better understand the value of the liberal arts experience.

“This grant will allow us to examine the whole of our integrated studies curriculum, from what we call it to how it fits into our liberal arts ideals. This is an exciting moment and one full of great promise, as faculty from across disciplines come together to laud our strengths and imagine new possibilities.”
Mark Willhardt, interim dean of the faculty

“We are at a time and place where a liberal arts education is more valuable than ever because liberal arts college graduates have skills that businesses and organizations desperately need for them to remain competitive,” Willhardt said. “Businesses and organizations seek to hire college graduates who are strong critical thinkers, can understand and solve complex problems, and then communicate their work clearly and effectively. That is why Monmouth developed its integrated studies program, and this grant will ensure that our graduates continue to be prepared to thrive in a rapidly changing world.”

Monmouth’s integrated studies program “provides the spine for our liberal arts education,” according to Philosophy and Religious Studies Professor Daniel Ott, the program’s director.

“The liberal arts mean preparing students for leadership, citizenship and rich personal and professional lives.”
– Dan Ott, philosophy and religious studies professor

The four-course integrated studies program that all Monmouth students take includes an “Introduction to the Liberal Arts” class during the freshman year, followed by a course on “Global Perspectives” in the sophomore year, a “Reflections” course in the junior year and a “Citizenship” course in the senior year that serves as a capstone experience.

“The strength of Monmouth’s integrated studies program is that it is the hook that we hang the rest of curriculum on,” said Ott. “It helps students make connections through the rest of their general education courses and their major, and it offers students an experience that helps them tie everything together while on the path to becoming engaged global citizens.

“Lots of schools have a good general education programs with a nice à la carte list of courses that broadly train students, but that’s not what the liberal arts are about. The liberal arts mean preparing students for leadership, citizenship and rich personal and professional lives, and Monmouth’s integrated studies program is at the core of how we do that.”

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