SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Nearly 1.2 million grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will support Skidmore’s Black Studies Program and Racial Justice Teaching Challenge (RJTC) to advance Africana studies and social justice. The funding will assist the development of intersectional courses and research that further the college’s commitment to racial justice.

According to officials, through innovative course creation and teaching, undergraduate research, and interdisciplinary collaboration the three-year grant comes as part of the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities for all times Initiative. The curricular projects will support the liberal arts which help students to see and experience the applicability of humanities in their real-world social justice objectives.

In addition to supporting course development, the grant will seed undergraduate research that centers on racial justice, as well as fund the creation of two two-year postdoctoral positions in Black Studies with an explicit grounding in the humanities. Funding for Skidmore’s project, Africana Studies, and the Humanities: Transnational Explorations in Social Justice, will support the development of new courses for the college’s Black Studies program through the launch of learning communities.

Educators say it will help faculty to refine their own understanding of new teaching methods, schools of thought, and areas of study that will diversify the curriculum and illuminate social justice issues within and across disciplines. The grant-funded work at Skidmore will directly reinforce the college’s RJTC, launched in spring 2021 to increase Skidmore’s focus on racial justice in its curriculum.

College officials in support of the American Studies Department and Black Studies Program and the RJTC encouraged faculty to develop content on racial justice and/or black studies for their spring and fall 2021 courses. Skidmore is one of just 12 institutions to receive a Humanities for all times grant, selected from a pool of 50 colleges invited to submit proposals.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest funder of the arts, culture, and humanities.