In recent years, there has been a rise in faculty scholarship that directly involves students. On the most recent faculty survey, 67% of faculty responded that they “worked with undergraduates on a research project.” Not only does this arrangement allow faculty to advance their research agendas, it provides Trinity students a distinctive advantage as they consider their post-graduate options. Much of this has occurred through a robust summer research program in the sciences, though a growing number of non-science majors have participated in the McNair Scholars program and the pilot phase of the Murchison Student Fellowships. In the coming years, we will continue to encourage faculty in the arts and humanities to involve their students in their scholarship and the active creation of new knowledge through activities enabled by a $600,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Our objective is to see a greater number of students from a greater number of academic programs participate in faculty research.
In Spring 2018, Trinity was awarded an additional $800,000 grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support initiatives aimed at improving access to and expanding opportunities for undergraduate research in the arts and humanities.
The new grant will assist Trinity’s plan to integrate undergraduate research in the arts and humanities more fully into its curriculum and at earlier stages in students’ academic careers. The program funding will also allow the University to expand the number and diversity of students participating in these high-impact experiences in the classroom and in the community. Previous Mellon Foundation funding allowed the University to take initial steps to develop undergraduate research in the arts and humanities and create the Trinity Mellon Initiative.
“The Mellon Initiative has transformed the arts and humanities at Trinity,” said Chad Spigel, associate professor and director for the Mellon Initiative for Undergraduate Research in the Arts and Humanities. With this new grant, an expansion of the Mellon Initiative at Trinity will help the University increase access for underrepresented students who may not be aware of the opportunities and benefits of such research. “Our goal is to create and sustain an inclusive and diverse culture of research in the arts and humanities at Trinity,” Spigel said.
Mellon-funded research opportunities have given students a chance to develop new skills by conducting archival research, reexamining ancient and modern texts, writing contributions to appear in academic populations, and conducting interviews in the field. This summer, the Mellon Initiative is poised to support more than a dozen undergraduate research opportunities, including topics such as fake news and media literacy, the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS, and racism in professional football recruitment.