Mellon Curricular Transformation Grants


Mellon Curricular Transformation Grants

With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bates is launching a grant program to support academic units in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and related interdisciplinary programs as they think about how their courses and majors reflect a commitment to equity and inclusion as defining elements of an excellent liberal arts education. Through careful evaluation and redesign of curricula, instructional methods, and academic requirements, Bates aims to transform our curriculum and pedagogical approaches so that they are better aligned with our institutional values and goals around equity and inclusion.

Academic units that have recently undergone a department/program review can use this grant process to implement, or go beyond, those recommendations that pertain to the goals of the Mellon grant.

Successful proposals will address the following areas:

  1. Content of curriculum within a major or discipline, including individual courses
  • Identify and assess content gaps in academic unit curriculum and address the need for revision.
  • Define barriers and challenges that students experience in and across the curriculum content, including but not limited to barriers/challenges regarding accessibility (physical, mental, emotional, cultural, linguistic, materially, etc.), race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and faith/non-faith.
  • Examine and question the “historical,” “traditional,” “foundational,” “inherited,” and “colonial” framing of the disciplinary content and curricular trajectory.
  • Consider the broader landscape and emerging areas of the discipline to assure that curriculum reflects the field’s current diversity, depth, and breadth.


  1. Structure of curriculum and major requirements
  • Identify the students who are succeeding in the current structure and those who are experiencing barriers.
  • Identify and address structural barriers in major/minor/thesis/advising requirements—including “hidden” requirements—that make it difficult for some students to succeed.
  • Consider the impacts of the major/minor/thesis/advising structures as they pertain to emerging trends and requirements in post-graduate education and employment.
  • Consider curricular transformations that will lead to an educationally just learning environment—physically, mentally, linguistically, structurally, materially, culturally, etc.—for students and for new and diverse faculty.


  1. Pedagogy
  • Identify inclusive pedagogies that ensure all students have the opportunity to thrive and that aim to intentionally decolonize the curriculum.
  • Collaborate across disciplines, involving other faculty and staff on campus.
  • Consider the incorporation of community engaged learning and research into courses.
  • Consider co-curricular partnerships and programs that support or complement the classroom teaching and learning.
  • Identify strategies for supporting and increasing ongoing faculty development around—and building faculty’s capacity for—inclusive and equitable pedagogy, advising, and curricular design.
  • Consider students’ ability to access technology and course materials when redesigning courses.
  • Consider how to incorporate universal design and other inclusive forms of learning/technology/demonstration of knowledge for evaluating student progress and success.


Proposals should include a timeline across two to three years and measurable goals for departmental change. We encourage proposals that incorporate students, staff, outside experts, and alumni in this work.

Technical Support

The Mellon Curriculum Grant Committee is excited to work with academic units to develop strong proposals. The committee recognizes that significant effort is involved in developing or revising courses, curricular structures, and pedagogies within an academic unit or interdisciplinary program. In an effort to support and encourage this work, the committee will provide a variety of resources to help with proposal development, project implementation, and evaluation. Support can take many forms, from innovative pedagogy workshops, curricular consultation, staff help in implementing new teaching methods, and assistance developing an assessment plan. A project webpage includes a summary of the resources available to academic units and programs.


The Mellon Curricular Grant Committee, in consultation with the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, invites academic units to apply for grants of up to $25,000. The Committee and the Dean will award the first round of grants in October 2020, for use beginning in the 2020-21 academic year. We hope to fund as many good proposals as possible over the next three academic years. We anticipate issuing additional calls for proposals in AY22 and AY23. Funding may be used for the following expenses:


  • Stipends or course releases (pending approval) for academic unit faculty to review curriculum, develop or revise courses, conduct research on methods they seek to adopt, or gain expertise in inclusive pedagogies. The maximum stipend per person is $5,000. Academic units wishing to provide stipends to a large group of faculty should align the compensation requested with the roles and responsibilities of each participating faculty member. At least one faculty colleague will need to be responsible for reporting on the project, as described below;
  • stipend for outside consultants (up to $2,500 total);
  • wages for student interns assisting with course revision or development;
  • travel directly related to course development (rather than faculty scholarship). Such travel might include site visits to other colleges and universities or attendance at conferences or workshops about pedagogy;
  • materials, software, or other expendable supplies; and
  • modest meeting costs (up to $500 per project), not including meals or refreshments, per the Mellon Foundation’s restrictions.


We encourage requests for expenses other than stipends, within the $25,000 maximum, and particularly encourage the inclusion of faculty development activities.


Proposals should include the following items:

  • IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: A narrative no longer than six pages describing the project, its rationale and goals, how it meets the funding priorities listed above, a timeline, and specific plans for revising, offering, integrating, and assessing courses, curricular structures, and/or new pedagogies.
  • TEAMS: Teams must be led by tenure-track and tenured professors and may include renewable lecturers whose involvement and appointments will extend at least through the grant period and who agree to work on course, curricular, and pedagogical developments/revisions during the grant period. Please list team members and their proposed roles (including who will be responsible for reporting on the grant, see details below).
  • BUDGET: A one-page budget listing estimated expenses, with notes detailing any proposed travel, consultants, or supply purchases.
  • IMPACT & SUSTAINABILITY STATEMENT: A holistic impact statement that addresses curriculum, departmental/program, institutional climate, etc. The statement should describe the proposal’s relationship to departmental/program goals and plans, and confirm the commitment to offer resulting courses at least twice in the three years following the award.
  • COMMITMENT SIGNATURES: Approval from the Department or Program Chair.
  • SUPPORTING MATERIALS: Optional supporting materials, such as course descriptions or summaries of relevant previous work.



The first round of proposals will be due no later than September 15, 2020 and we anticipate offering the same deadline in 2021 and 2022. Please submit application materials using the form on this page. If you have questions, please send them to the grant leadership team at or contact Noelle Chaddock.


Proposals will be reviewed by the Mellon Curricular Grant Committee and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, according to the following criteria:

  • Feasibility of the proposed project
  • Ability of the project to address the criteria listed above
  • A clearly stated rationale for the proposed changes
  • Evidence of unit-level, long-term commitment to creating an inclusive curriculum, and
  • Specific plans for offering courses and for assessing them. 


Academic units/teams will be expected to submit two types of reports: brief progress reports every six-months and a final report at the end of the grant period. Teams will be expected to continue to engage institutional and disciplinary data and faculty development, and include that information in the regular reporting. In addition, teams awarded grants will participate in annual workshops to discuss progress, compare notes, and learn from each other.