UC Irvine Receives $750,000 Mellon Foundation Grant

The grant will support a research project on liberal arts and integrated learning literacies for the 21st century.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has granted $750,000 to the University of California, Irvine to support a research project on liberal arts and integrated learning literacies for the 21st century. The high-profile working group will be led by David Theo Goldberg for the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI). The group will explore the knowledge, fluencies, literacies, and skills developed in liberal arts education that are considered necessary for 21st century undergraduate students to flourish as contributing citizens in society and the world.

“UCHRI is excited to embark on this future-oriented project,” said David Theo Goldberg, director of UCHRI and a UCI distinguished professor of comparative literature and anthropology. “Traditional liberal arts education is facing multiple challenges. And yet, from some less expected quarters there is renewed recognition of the value of a liberal arts undergraduate degree. These dual forces provide us with an opportunity to revision the liberal arts in a way that enables students to face the future of work and of society.”

Over the next two years, UCHRI will convene working groups with prominent figures in higher education. Confirmed members include:

  • William “Bro” Adams, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Ruha Benjamin, Princeton University
  • Harry Brighouse, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Wendy Chun, Simon Fraser University
  • Ainehi Edoro, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Bryan Garsten, Yale University
  • Mariam Lam, University of California, Riverside
  • Karen Lawrence, Huntington Library
  • Christine Ortiz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Clayton Spencer, Bates College
  • Regina Stanback-Stroud, Skyline Community College, San Francisco
  • Josh Wyner, Aspen Institute

The aim of the group will be to produce a significant public report to conceive and propose the revisioning of undergraduate liberal arts learning for twenty-first century ecologies in colleges, universities, and community colleges across the United States.

About UCHRI: Recognized nationally and internationally as a premier location for humanities research, the UCHRI bridges the gap between disciplines and seeks to overcome the intellectual and institutional barriers across humanities as well as with the social and natural sciences, technology, art and medicine through public and digital projects. In addition to humanistic research support and programming, initiatives include providing training to faculty and graduate students across academic disciplines on how to write and place opinion pieces and engage in public discussions; best practices for using metadata when converting paper letters, lists, maps and other documents into electronic format; advising on the creation and organization of archival materials; and professionalization for careers outside of the professoriate.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.


Beth Greene