By Brian Whitson
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded William & Mary a $2.6-million grant to establish the W. Taylor Reveley, III Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellows. The grant will endow a program of W&M faculty fellows who will develop and teach courses and lead concomitant research that will extend the university’s range of scholarly activity beyond the boundaries of schools and disciplines.
The grant is named in honor of William & Mary President Taylor Reveley, who has served 21 years on the Mellon Foundation Board of Trustees, including the past three as chair. Reveley, who has served as William & Mary’s president since 2008, retired from the Mellon Board this spring.
“Often collaborative efforts across disciplinary boundaries are the most effective way to learn these days; at times they are the only viable way,” Reveley said. “This marvelous Mellon grant to William & Mary will help spur teaching and research across the boundaries of our schools, departments and programs. The university as a whole and I personally are very grateful to receive such a catalytic endowment. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation does great good for higher education. It was my honor and delight to be part of the Mellon for two decades.”
The Fellows program will be focused on integrative and interdisciplinary teaching but there will be a research and scholarship component, said Provost Michael R. Halleran, who will serve as principal investigator of the grant. Faculty Fellows, he said, will lead projects involving teaching and associated research that significantly cross boundaries of schools or departments within a school. The faculty member will receive an annual stipend for the three years – the first year will be for course development; the second and third years will be devoted to course instruction, Halleran said.
“This grant is wonderful news on many levels,” Halleran said. “It is very fitting that it is named in honor of President Reveley, who has been William & Mary’s strongest advocate for interdisciplinary teaching and research across the university. It is also a strong endorsement of the creative integrative teaching and research that we believe in at William & Mary – crossing standard boundaries and pushing us into new areas of inquiry.”
Reveley Faculty Fellows will be selected through an annual competitive application process open to all faculty in all schools and departments. Preference, Halleran said, will be given to proposals that involve more than one school and that help to advance the institution’s strategic priorities. In steady state, Halleran said, there will be at least seven Fellows per year.
“We are very grateful that the Mellon Foundation shares our enthusiasm for an educational experience that is expansive and forward-looking,” Halleran said. “This grant will bolster our curriculum and research activity and enable us to tap into our intellectual capital, our extraordinary faculty, to pursue bold and creative ideas.”