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Mellon Endows Innovative Programs at Graduate School

The endowment will increase and help support new Mellon Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellowships.

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October 23, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University has been awarded a $4.5 million grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support new innovative programs for students in The Graduate School.

"The generous Mellon gift will help Northwestern attract the strongest graduate students in the humanities and history, including art history, to support these students in developing innovative interdisciplinary methodologies, and to facilitate their effective progress toward degree completion," said Dean of The Graduate School Andrew Wachtel.

The endowment will increase and help support new Mellon Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellowships in the school's recently launched Interdisciplinary Cluster Initiative. Students receiving this highly attractive fellowship will be known as Mellon Graduate Fellows, and they will be jointly supported via the Mellon endowment and Northwestern.

The initiative seeks to prepare students to conduct thoughtful, informed interdisciplinary research by offering team-taught courses, seminars and colloquia that provide experience on the concepts and methodologies of multiple disciplines. The program currently provides students with three to five interdisciplinary cluster classes of their 27 official graduate classes.

The number of fellows supported and the total amount awarded will vary depending on the number of applicants who qualify for this funding, current stipend levels, and the actual endowment payout from year to year.

Interdisciplinary clusters are currently offered in African Studies, Asian Studies, Classical Traditions, Comparative and Historical Social Science, Critical Studies in Theatre and Performance, Critical Theory, Gender Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies,
Medieval Studies, Rhetoric and Public Culture, and Russian, East European and Jewish Studies.

Northwestern previously committed the first two years of support for the Interdisciplinary Cluster Initiative, which has added 10 to 12 exceptionally qualified graduate students each year, Wachtel said.

The Mellon endowment also will create several Mellon Research Grants, available to graduate students in the humanities and history, for research related travel, materials that are not available locally, artistic supplies beyond what is normal or customary in the field, or construction, rental, or purchase of special equipment not available on campus.

Awarded on a competitive basis, the number of these $3,000 dissertation research grants will represent an increase of 40 percent over the existing number of such grants.
Topics: University