The Mellon Initiative

Connecticut College received a three-year, $375,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enhance foreign language studies. The initiative supported the College’s mission to provide an international, globalized liberal arts education.

The grant transformed the College by integrating information technology into foreign language programs and moving the role of foreign languages outside traditional literary study and into interdisciplinary areas.

This new and innovative approach to foreign language learning promoted an international experience for students in their coursework, in the residence halls and the whole campus community. The Mellon initiative provided the vital support necessary and served to uphold the College's reputation as a recognized leader in foreign languages and international education.

Goals of the initiative

The goals were to transform the curriculum, provide on-campus immersion opportunities and offer career-enhancing experiences through a range of student-centered programs and curricular initiatives, including:

Curricular transformation

  • Opportunities for 60 students to conduct faculty-directed research in foreign languages
  • Expansion of interdisciplinary, international courses and the Foreign Language Across the Curriculum program (FLAC)
  • Two new faculty development seminars focused on foreign language teaching and interdisciplinary studies

On-campus immersion

  • Foreign language and international programming designed and led by student Foreign Language Fellows and Residential Education Fellows
  • A new international-themed student center with satellite television and Skype stations

Career-enhancing experiences

  • A community partnership with the World Languages Program at New London’s Regional Multicultural Magnet School allows students to teach and tutor in foreign languages (currently Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese)
  • Language proficiency certification for 110 students