The University of Houston has received a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish an undergraduate research program in the humanities.
In addition to supporting new and innovative programs and opportunities at the undergraduate level, the Mellon Foundation grant is expected to increase the number of underrepresented and other students who enter doctoral programs at the university and other Tier One institutions.
The Mellon Research Scholars Program at the University of Houston will support the undergraduate research initiatives of 60 underrepresented and other undergraduate juniors and seniors. The Mellon Scholars will work one-on-one with faculty mentors outside the classroom on independent research projects. The program is designed to help students develop critical thinking and writing skills and will also provide professional development opportunities, enhancing competitiveness for top graduate schools, national and international scholarships, and eventual job placement.
“I am grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their tremendous commitment to our diverse student body,” said Eloise Dunn Brice, vice chancellor/vice president for university advancement. “Expanding undergraduate research is key to our mission as a Carnegie-designated Tier One research university, and this gift will actively support underrepresented students in the humanities.”
The gift is a part of the University’s “Here, We Go” Campaign, contributing to its $1 billion goal. It further enhances the efforts of the Honors College, which is ranked among the top ten honors programs and colleges in the nation in the latest edition of “Inside Honors.”
“I’m excited because this funding will lighten the financial load and open doors for students who otherwise might not consider an advanced degree or a career in higher education,” said Karen Weber, assistant dean of co-curricular programs in the Honors College.
Weber and Stuart Long, associate dean of undergraduate research and associate dean of the Honors College, developed the proposal for the grant and as the principal investigators will oversee the three-year program, which starts in spring 2018. The program includes faculty-led seminars and a monthly discussion series, an intensive preparatory graduate school workshop, and a full-time summer mentored research experience leading into a thesis or capstone course to be completed during the senior year.
“It makes the university a real center for undergraduate humanities education, which is something close to my heart as an English teacher,” said William Monroe, dean of the Honors College. “There’s been a justifiable emphasis on STEM in recent years, but the humanities have kind of fallen off the radar. The Mellon grant refocuses attention on those important disciplines.”
The $500,000 grant is one of two recent gifts from the Mellon Foundation to the University of Houston in 2017; the foundation also made a $54,000 pledge to fund a Planning Grant for Digital Humanities Research Center for U.S. Latina/o Studies. This grant primarily supports Arte Publico Press and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literature program (Recovery).
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 42,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.
About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Additional information is available at mellon.org
About the “Here, We Go” Campaign
The “Here, We Go” Campaign is the University of Houston’s first major fundraising campaign in more than 25 years. Gifts made from 2012 to 2020 will contribute toward the university’s goal of raising $1 billion to support funding priorities, including scholarships, faculty support and strengthening UH’s partnership with Houston. To date, UH has reached two-thirds of its goal, raising more than $750 million to support the excellence of the university and its service to the Houston region and beyond.