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

In 2014, Connecticut College received $700,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support international initiatives and foster integration in global studies.

The grant funding is supporting initiatives over the next three years to better integrate international experiences into the curriculum, and to enhance College strategies for global education, including foreign language learning and study abroad.

Connecticut College has long prioritized international opportunities in the form of its Traveling Research and Immersion Program (TRIP) and Study Away/Teach Away (SATA), and, increasingly, internships abroad. The Mellon initiative will ensure the proliferation of opportunities is accompanied by thoughtful reflection about the curriculum as a whole, particularly with respect to how the College prepares students intellectually to engage in the world and how they meaningfully incorporate what they have learned abroad back into the academic program.

Goals of the initiative

The Mellon initiative will promote the intentional curricular integration of international learning with standing courses and academic majors, and the systematic coordination of international experiences throughout students’ four years.

“This generous grant from The Mellon Foundation will make the international and global experience at Connecticut College richer and deeper throughout our curriculum and co-curricular activities,” said Dean of the Faculty Roger Brooks when the College announced the grant. Read the announcement.

Building on the momentum of a $375,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation in 2009, the College is also using the new grant to:

  • Provide enhanced support for Foreign Language Across the Curriculum (FLAC) programs, which give students the opportunity to enrich their disciplinary studies by taking sections of courses in a foreign language;
  • Launch a new course, “Second Language Acquisition,” to anchor the World Languages Partnership with the Regional Multicultural Magnet School (RMMS) in downtown New London, where students teach Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, French and German to elementary school students; and
  • Enhance the Language Fellows program, through which advanced-level language and international students design and run co-curricular and extracurricular activities.

Amy Dooling, associate professor of Chinese, and Andrea Lanoux, associate professor of Slavic studies, are directing the grant-funded programs, as they did for the previous Mellon grant for foreign languages.

Committment to global education

A 2009 winner of the Sen. Paul A. Simon Award for Campus Internationalization, Connecticut College has a deep commitment to global education that is reflected in the College’s mission to educate students to “put the liberal arts into action as citizens in a global society.”

Over the past decade, more than 2,600 Connecticut College students have studied abroad; since 2010, 49 students have conducted original research in a foreign language in 25 countries. Through the College’s Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts, students are able to internationalize any major with intensive language study and a funded internship overseas.