$1 million Mellon grant supports Central New York ‘Humanities Corridor’
$1 million Mellon grant supports Central New York ‘Humanities Corridor’February 27, 2006Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
The prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a three-year, $1 million grant to Syracuse University to work with Cornell University and the University of Rochester for the creation of a “Central New York Humanities Corridor.” The large-scale initiative is being established to connect teaching and research in the humanities among these three leading institutions.
“Syracuse is grateful to the Mellon Foundation for underwriting this collaboration,” says SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor. “Drawing on faculty and scholarly experience at all three universities, it will promote dialogues and partnerships that greatly enhance the prominence and impact of the humanities in our region.”
Inspired in part by the mission of the science/technology Research Triangle in North Carolina, the Humanities Corridor will enhance the profile and connectivity of the humanities in Central New York by drawing on the strengths of three Association of American Universities (AAU) member institutions. It will include such areas as philosophy and linguistics, which have longstanding inter-institutional partnerships, and emerging areas such as music history/musicology and visual arts and cultures. For more information about the thematic clusters defining the corridor,visit: http://www-hl.syr.edu/cas-pages/.
Over the first three years, the Humanities Corridor will take the form of collaborative research and group conversations among participating humanities faculty in each cluster; funded interdisciplinary workshops and conferences; and consortial faculty exchanges among the institutions. Initially, all three institutions will collaborate in the area of visual arts and cultures while continuing existing partnerships in philosophy and linguistics. At least two institutions will collaborate in the remaining clusters.
“Syracuse is honored to partner with Cornell and Rochester, which are lustrous institutions with strong systems of academic research and education, particularly at the doctoral levels,”says Cathryn R. Newton, dean of SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Such a collaboration, with its deep history of connections among sister departments, presents a nationally significant intellectual opportunity for collaborative ventures.”
Newton says the Humanities Corridor represents a “significant scholarly core,” referring to the many shared strengths and resources of the institutions. Among them are Cornell’s new Native American collection of 40,000 books and archival records; Rochester’s recently acquired library of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, making it one of the largest theological libraries in North America; and SU’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and the Sibley Library at Rochester’s renowned Eastman School of Music, which, combined, are one of the country’s largest holdings of recorded sound. In particular, the philosophy and linguistics departments at all three universities are recognized as among the finest in the nation and represent a core component in the establishment of the corridor.
“This grant from the Mellon Foundation will enable unprecedented collaboration that will enrich and strengthen the humanities in the upstate New York region,” says William S. Green, dean of The College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering, and Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Judaic Studies, at the University of Rochester. “The University of Rochester is delighted to be a full contributing partner to this enterprise, and we anticipate consequential and long-lasting results from our work with Syracuse and Cornell. This is a good day for humanistic learning.”
At SU — where The College of Arts and Sciences is a full partner in all areas of collaboration, with additional involvement from the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the School of Architecture — the corridor is especially timely. Next January, the University is opening an interdisciplinary humanities center. For more information,visit: http://www-hl.syr.edu/cas-pages/HCProposal.htm.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a private, not-for-profit corporation headquartered in New York City, regularly makes grants that support a wide range of initiatives to strengthen selective research universities in the United States, with particular emphasis on the humanities and “humanistic” social sciences. The foundation’s interests in this area include — but are not limited to — doctoral education, postdoctoral fellowships, faculty research support and discipline-related projects.
The Association of American Universities (AAU) is an organization of 62 leading research institutions in the United States and Canada that is committed to the development and implementation of institutional and national policies promoting strong programs in academic research and scholarship and undergraduate, graduate and professional education.