Mellon Grant to Benefit First-Year Focus Program and More

The College has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will support the newly expanded, multi-disciplinary First-Year Focus Program as well as enhance curricular integration efforts in both global and urban areas. The grant will cover two full semesters of the First-Year Seminar Program that includes three focus clusters—unifying themes encompassing several related fall seminars—entitled Liberty, Loyalty, and Dissent; Urban Dimensions; and Science, Magic, and Conflict. In addition, funds from the award will be used to strengthen the Reacting to the Past pedagogical model, which remains an integral part of the First-Year Focus Program and will make up one focus cluster.

The new initiative also increases the number of students able to participate in the program, with 100 first-year students now enrolled; there are also 14 upper-level students serving as writing and research associates. The faculty is drawn from disciplines that include history, public policy and law, philosophy, educational studies, chemistry, and computer science. A list of the classes being offered this academic year appears below.

“The Mellon grant will allow us to provide faculty with appropriate resources to design linked first-year seminars for both the fall and spring terms,” explains Associate Academic Dean Katherine Power. “We will now be able to expand our student learning communities and to further our academic goals for first-year students, particularly in the areas of critical writing, information literacy, and public presentational skills.”

Relative to global education, the Mellon grant will afford Trinity the opportunity to launch a series of initiatives designed to further integrate the study-away experience within the four-year learning trajectory and more clearly connect learning that takes place in Hartford and that which takes place abroad. With rapidly expanding global learning prospects and extensive community learning opportunities, there is enormous potential for linking student projects, strengthening research experiences, supporting digital instructional materials, and expanding curricular offerings.

The Cornerstone strategic planning project gave momentum to these two areas of curricular reform as specific ways to advance the College’s academic mission and bolster the intellectual vibrancy of the campus community. According to President Jones, the support from the Mellon Foundation will ensure a more actively engaged student body and encourage a College-wide culture of critical thinking and learning. “Trinity has incurred an enormous obligation to fulfill the promise of advancing liberal learning,” he says. “This award will encourage the campus community to imagine how teaching, research, and learning may be conducted differently and more effectively and, thus, begin the broader transformation envisioned. I am grateful to the Mellon Foundation for its generosity and support of Trinity’s goals for the future, and to those at the College to whom a liberal arts education remains an unwavering commitment.”

2005-06 Focus Clusters

I. Liberty, Loyalty, and Dissent

Fall Term seminars:

“What Have You Got to Lose? National Security, Civil Liberty, and Political Dissent in America” – Adrienne Fulco, associate professor of legal and policy studies

“Siding with the Enemy: Soldiers’ Resistance to War and Military Policy” – Michael Heaney, visiting lecturer in legal studies

“Moral Decision, Dissent, and Loyalty” – Rev. Daniel Heischman, College Chaplin

Spring Term seminars:

“Democracy, Rights, and the Constitution” – Edward Cabot, adjunct professor of public policy and law

“Immigrants’ America” – Eugene Leach, professor of history and American studies

II. Urban Dimensions

Fall Term seminars:

“Urban Education and the American Dream” – Barbara Henriques, assistant visiting professor of educational studies

“The Street and I: Documentary Film and Urban Life” Luis Figueroa, associate professor of history

Spring Term seminars:

“Invisible Cities” – Dan Lloyd, professor of philosophy

“Learning in the Urban Environment” – Barbara Henriques, assistant visiting professor of educational studies

III. Science, Magic, and Conflict

Fall Term seminars:

“Reacting to the Past” seminars – Madalene Spezialetti, associate professor of computer science; Peter Yoon, assistant professor of computer science; David Henderson, professor of chemistry

Spring Term seminars:

“Origins: Science, Life, and the Universe” – David Henderson, professor of chemistry

“Literature, Science, and Revolution” – Margaret Lindsey, director, First-Year Program


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