Mellon Foundation Awards $175,000 for Writing Program

January 16, 2007

 BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Illinois Wesleyan University a $175,000 grant to expand writing-intensive courses.

The New York-based Mellon Foundation, named after businessman, banker, public servant, and philanthropist Andrew W. Mellon, awards more than $200 million in grants annually to build, strengthen and sustain the nation’s educational and cultural institutions. The Foundation’s Liberal Arts Colleges Program provides multi-year grants to liberal arts colleges across the country.

“This grant will help us in our efforts to develop an even stronger writing program at Illinois Wesleyan,” said Frank Boyd, associate dean of faculty and associate professor of political science at Illinois Wesleyan.  According to Boyd, the courses will benefit all students, regardless of their major. “No matter what discipline students choose to specialize in, writing is one of the keys to their success when they go on to post-graduate study or take positions with a non-profit organization, in government, or in the private sector. The grant will support our efforts to keep students writing across the entire university curriculum, whether in chemistry, literature or business courses.”

Emphasizing the importance of writing is a continuation of the University’s Writing Across the Curriculum Program (WAC), which infuses writing into courses for first-year students.  With the four-year grant, more upper-level writing courses will be developed. “New courses will promote a culture of writing at Illinois Wesleyan that goes well beyond achieving writing competency and proficiency to prepare students for the challenges that lie before them,” said Boyd.  The grant will also provide for faculty development and assessment of new courses.

Boyd reports that Mellon support will enable Illinois Wesleyan to appoint a faculty member as Writing Program Director to oversee the development of more writing-intensive classes and to support the integration of writing into courses.  The new director is expected to be named by February 1.                          

 Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960