Mellon Grants 2015-2017

Faculty Formation to Support Liberal Learning for All, a CSB Humanities grant ($100,000) from the Mellon Foundation, focused on expressing the value of the liberal arts and developing students' skills of analytical reasons, expression, critical thinking, and problem-solving throughout their college career.

Faculty Development to Engage Increasingly Diverse Students, an SJU First-Year Seminar (FYS) Grant ($100,000) from the Mellon Foundation, provided professional development for faculty who teach First-Year Seminar. It focused on addressing classroom experiences, skills development, and navigating the available resources on campus for American students of color. 

Our approach included an extensive review of current teaching and advising practices, multiple faculty development opportunities, and a national dissemination effort. As a pilot program creating a cohort of both humanities and FYS faculty, this grant allowed us to identify best practices for targeted faculty development and allowed us to facilitate the academic success of CSB/SJU students. 

Goals of the 2015-2017 Mellon Grants

For Faculty Development:

1) Evaluate current state of Humanities and FYS faculty development in support of inclusive and effective teaching and mentorship for all students;
2) Understand the strengths, needs, attitudes, cultures, and expectations of American students of color, and to help Humanities and FYS faculty incorporate this knowledge into their teaching and advising;
3) Understand and address the small but significant gaps in retention and graduation of American students of color on our campuses;
4) Provide development for Humanities and FYS faculty to improve advising techniques to help American students of color further engage in the liberal arts;
5) Create a more inclusive environment in and out of the classroom;
6) Create faculty cohorts better prepared to help students grow in their ability to express themselves clearly and effectively, listen to others “with the ear of the heart,” and challenge one another respectfully;
7) Create Humanities and FYS faculty cohorts who will serve as peer resources for one another during and after the grant period.

For American Students of Color:

Provide American students of color with a better understanding of the expectations and assumptions of Humanities and FYS faculty;
American students of color will have an increased appreciation for the value of a liberal arts education.

Press Release

CSB and SJU each receive $100,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation

Selected Activities Funded by the Grants


  • Attendance at national conferences by 16  humanities and FYS faculty, often as part of CSB|SJU teams that included professional staff.
  • Summer Faculty Development Workshops and Revisions of Courses, May 24-26 (34 FYS faculty members & ~18
    humanities faculty), led by Dr. David Concepción, Professor of Philosophy, Ball State University. 
  • FYS reading group on Verna Myers’s book What If I Say the Wrong Thing?: 25 Habits for Culturally Effective People.
  • “What CSB/SJU Students of Color Want Their Faculty to Know Regarding Creating More Inclusive Classroom
    Environments.” April 11, student panel, moderated by Dr. Jean Keller. Student participants: Alcala, Jerly; Guzman,
    Stacey; Yang, Daniel YengKong; Nuah, Stephen; Williamson, Bryanna; Andrews, Kenea; and Alvarez, Frida. Cosponsored
    with LES and Intercultural and International Student Services.
  • Intercultural Development Inventory offered to all cohort members.
  • Climate surveys of students, faculty, and focus groups conducted by Dr. Rodolfo Rincones (U. Texas, El Paso).

FALL 2016-SUMMER 2017

  • Follow-up workshop, August 22, with Dr. A. T. Miller, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Diversity, Cornell
  • All-Community Workshop, August 23, with A. T. Miller.
  • Circles of Understanding workshop, September 24, led by Janet Rowles, St. Cloud Conflict Resolution Center.
  • Advising workshop, October 4, led by Blane Harding, Director of the Center for Student Cultural Diversity,
    University of Nevada, Reno. 
  • Circles of Understanding workshop, October, led by Janet Rowles and organized with the St. Cloud Conflict
    Resolution Center.
  • Reading group on Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum’s Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, led
    by Dr. Amanda Jantzer and Dr. Jen Kramer. Dr. Tatum met with faculty as part of her visit with the
    McCarthy Center.
  • Thursday Forum by Mellon grant participants, November.
  • Climate surveys of all students and faculty, focus groups; conducted by Dr. Rodolfo Rincones (U. Texas, El Paso).
  • Poster session in Gorecki to show revisions and work done by faculty to a wide audience.
  • Dissemination at national conferences by ten faculty.
  • Follow-up Intercultural Development Inventory with individualized meetings made available to cohort members.
  • May workshop with Dr. David Concepción open to all faculty with breakout sessions by cohort members.