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September 18, 2018

Grant Gives Guilford Added Edge

President Jane K. Fernandes recently announced that Guilford will receive a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will provide a tremendous boost in the College's development and execution of a fully reimagined educational experience centered on multidisciplinary teams that deliver project-based, hands-on collaborative learning opportunities.

"This generous grant opens the door to more exciting possibilities in our work to advance the Guilford Edge," Jane says. "We are grateful for the support of the Mellon Foundation as we take a significant step forward in the transformation of the Guilford student experience."

Mellon Foundation funds will fuel a variety of initiatives related to collaborative learning — one of the core themes distinguishing the Guilford Edge initiatives. Included is a complete transformation of the curriculum designed to foster a rich variety and depth of experiential learning throughout the totality of the student experience at Guilford.

In fall 2019, the College will implement a new academic calendar that features a three-week term each semester dedicated to one immersive course on a singular topic or issue of student interest. These courses will frequently involve projects in different parts of the community, the country and abroad. Funding from the Mellon Foundation will support the development of these new courses and the innovative teaching practices faculty will employ in them, including additional opportunities for team-teaching and interdisciplinary offerings. 

"We are very excited about the Mellon Foundation's endorsement and support for the Edge," says Frank Boyd, Provost and Academic Dean. "Our faculty colleagues have some exciting ideas for new courses — especially for the three-week sessions — and Mellon funding will be a tremendous boon to this work."

Associate Professor of Art and Chair of Guilford College's Experience Design Major Mark Dixon concurs. "Mellon is a principled and forward-looking organization, so it's just incredibly exciting and validating to have their support," he says. "Practically speaking, the funds will make a huge difference for us as we work to bring the ideas behind the Edge into being." 

"Through this work," Jane says, "faculty and students will bring out the connections between the liberal arts and contemporary issues." The College anticipates bringing scholars to campus to engage with faculty, students, staff and members of the broader community through public events like dialogues, workshops, performances and exhibitions.

The Mellon award has students talking, too. "I'm really excited for this grant as a Biology major and Psychology minor," says first-year student Kennedy Ruff '22. "It will allow me to create my own experiments and test my own hypotheses." Originally from Durham, N.C., Kennedy aspires to be a child psychiatrist. She envisions that the grant will lead to great opportunities to "go out in the community and practice different learned behavior or active listening on younger children and physically see the effect."

Interested in the changes coming to Guilford College? Check out this article on the Guilford Edge.