2001 Annual Report: President's Report

September 11 and Its Aftermath

September 11 and Its Aftermath

No account of the year just past could fail to acknowledge the impact on all of us of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  During the day of September 11, staff at the Foundation's offices in New York did the same kinds of things as so many others in the city did—contacted family members, colleagues, and friends; attempted to find those thought to be in downtown Manhattan on that fateful morning; reassured one another as best we could; and simply tried to cope (including searching for places to sleep for those who could not get home).  In the midst of bewilderment, fear, and bereavement, there was an extraordinary sense of "family" that united all those thrown together that day.

Our attention then turned more or less immediately to the search for appropriate responses by the Foundation as a grantmaker.  The Trustees held a meeting (by telephone) ten days after the attack.  At that meeting, the Trustees approved special recommendations prepared by Carolyn Makinson, the Foundation's program officer for population and refugee studies, that authorized the expenditure of modest funds to meet the immediate needs of not for-profit organizations in Lower Manhattan with which the Foundation had an ongoing relationship and to support entities with special expertise that could help victims suffering from trauma.

The Trustees also discussed at some length the questions of whether and how the Foundation might make a considerably larger commitment in response to this unprecedented event.  There was unanimous support for doing something substantial, and staff were instructed to develop specific proposals for consideration by the Trustees at a special meeting to be held later in the fall.  While the Foundation's Trustees and staff were instinctively inclined to support the families of the victims—the firefighters, policemen, and those trapped in the buildings—we also felt that help would surely come from other sources for the needs of the victims' families because of the heart-wrenching immediacy of the disaster.  The secondary effects on the community seemed less likely to receive necessary attention.  Trying to do something that would help the sectors that the Foundation knows well through its daily work seemed to be a way in which we might make a long-term difference to the institutions most directly affected, to all New Yorkers, and to those beyond New York who respect and value the contributions of these institutions.

Consistent with this line of thinking, the Trustees voted, at a special meeting on November 14, to create a $50 million fund to be used primarily to assist New York City cultural organizations (especially museums, performing arts organizations, and libraries) that were directly affected by the events of September 11.  The Trustees also wanted to do something that would be of even broader benefit to the people of New York.  After considering various possibilities, it was decided to set aside a portion of the $50 million fund to support the public parks that had been so important in the aftermath of the tragedy—as venues for people who needed to be with others, safe places where people could reflect and collect their thoughts, and places where people could give thanks for the safety of those who had survived the terrible ordeal.

In reaching their decision to provide significant funding for cultural and performing arts organizations affected directly by the attack and its aftermath, the Trustees were responding to both the tremendous rebuilding challenges that confronted everyone in the City of New York and the particular needs of a sector that has long been of special interest to the Mellon Foundation.  New York City is many things, but among the institutions that help to define its special qualities are its museums, libraries, and theater, dance, and music organizations.  The attack of September 11 had direct and substantial effects on these entities: nearly all suffered tremendous losses in revenue from visitors, donors, and governmental sources; many were forced to cancel long-planned events and, at the same time, to address compelling new needs.  A number of these organizations, especially the smaller ones, were highly fragile to begin with, lacking reserves and operating with lean staffing.  The very existence of some was threatened, and a number of their larger cousins were challenged to find ways to sustain core aspects of their operations.  The Trustees' idea was to create a pool of resources that could assist this important group of New York institutions adjust to new fiscal realities.

All of us recognized, of course, that while $50 million is a considerable sum, it would not begin to address the full range of urgent needs that confronted cultural and performing arts institutions in New York.  Thus, it was hoped that the creation of the fund would also have a strong "signaling effect," calling attention to the issues facing these organizations, improving their morale, and encouraging others to provide additional help. Institutions of all sizes, with and without prior associations with the Foundation, were invited to submit proposals, and over several hundred requests for support were received and reviewed. [1]

The first three grants, totaling approximately $8 million, were made in late December.  The recipients were three performing arts service organizations—Alliance of Resident Theatres /New York, American Music Center, and New York Foundation for the Arts— which, in turn, agreed to make grants to several hundred small and mid-sized performing arts organizations. [2]  The process of reviewing requests from museums and related organizations continued apace, and in January 2002, a second round of grants, totaling approximately $6.6 million, was made to 29 generally small to mid-sized museums and related organizations.  The wide range of institutions helped in this round included the American Museum of the Moving Image, the Brooklyn Children's Museum, El Museo Del Barrio, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Smithsonian Institution–National Museum of the American Indian.

As this report is being drafted (mid-February 2002), consideration is being given to requests from parks, botanical gardens, libraries, and other museums and performing arts organizations, including many larger ones.  The Foundation's intention is to make all of the remaining grants under this special program by April.   Careful stewardship and accountability are necessary, and we will report in detail on the allocation of these funds in next year's Annual Report, when we expect to list direct grants to at least 100 organizations under this program.  But we do not want to delay in reporting that the response to this special initiative has been gratifying in many ways.  Apart from receiving many very thoughtful expressions of thanks, staff have been struck by the generosity of spirit of so many leaders of the organizations involved.  There has been very little self-promoting, and in many instances organizations that were themselves in serious straits understood and supported efforts by the Foundation to first address the needs of others that were in even greater difficulty.

What the Foundation has been able to do represents only a small part of what is needed, and the help of many individuals as well as civic agencies and other private funders is going to be required as cultural institutions of enormous importance to the vitality of civic life in New York seek to find their way after a tragedy beyond anyone's imagining.  Recent reports of improved attendance notwithstanding, the museums, performing arts organizations, libraries, and parks continue to face daunting challenges—especially in light of the city's budgetary situation.  I know that I speak for the Trustees as well as for our staff in saying that it has been a privilege to participate in what has been, and must continue to be, a truly collective effort.

The Scale of the Foundation's Grantmaking

The Scale of the Foundation's Grantmaking

In announcing the creation of the special $50 million fund in response to the events of September 11, the Foundation made clear that this appropriation was "extra," and was not to come at the expense of the Foundation's regular grantmaking program, which is based on longer term assessments of needs and opportunities in the areas in which the Foundation is active.  This clear separation was especially important in 2001, because it had been necessary at the start of the year to revise downward the base level of spending contemplated by the Trustees at their September 2000 Retreat.  The size of the Foundation's endowment at the time of that Retreat—which had grown to approximately $5 billion as a result of exceptional investment returns—led us to anticipate a grantmaking budget for 2001 of approximately $210 million, and much of the discussion at that Retreat (as summarized in last year's Annual Report) focused on whether the Foundation should use its greatly enhanced grantmaking capacity to deepen its commitment to existing areas of emphasis or broaden its fields of activity.  The decision was made to "deepen rather than broaden," and the sharp subsequent decline in stock market values makes that decision, in retrospect, look even wiser than it did at the time.  As a consequence of this needed recalibration, we ended 2001 with base level appropriations of just under $180 million (excluding the relatively small part of the $50 million fund appropriated in December 2001), an appreciably lower figure than originally contemplated but still substantially higher than the base levels of $156 million in 1999 and $144 million in 1998. [3]

This high degree of volatility in investment returns required staff to adjust their grantmaking plans, but to do so without interrupting support for programs with long time horizons or changing signals in ways that would be disruptive for grantees.  A combination of circumstances made it possible to achieve this balance.  We were helped by the timely intuition of our Financial Vice President that some correction in stock market values was likely, by the steady rather than precipitous increases in grantmaking in those recent years when stock prices were rising so rapidly, and by the Foundation's longstanding practice of maintaining a sizable contingency fund.  In fact, we were able not only to sustain important ongoing programs but also to launch a number of important new initiatives in 2001.  As the balance of this report explains, these initiatives included the establishment of new programs in support of faculty in the humanities, vigorous pursuit of work in art imaging ("ArtSTOR"), the creation of technology centers that we believe will benefit a large number of liberal arts colleges, new efforts to address system-wide needs in scholarly communication, and an increase in the international reach of the Foundation. [4]  The lack thus far of any real recovery in financial markets has led us to establish a base-level grantmaking budget for 2002 of $185 million—an amount that, while up only modestly from the corresponding figure for 2001, is sufficient to allow us to support these new programs as well as strengthen a number of ongoing activities.

Faculty Fellowships in the Humanities and Related Disciplines

Faculty Fellowships in the Humanities and Related Disciplines

Last year's Annual Report signaled the development of a substantial number of new initiatives intended to reemphasize the Foundation's long-term commitment to the humanities and related disciplines.  Taken together, these new initiatives, seen in conjunction with existing programs, are intended to sustain scholarship at all phases of a faculty member's professorial career as well as to support the leading institutions in which teaching and learning are pursued (including research universities, liberal arts colleges, research libraries, and centers for advanced study).  Harriet Zuckerman and Joseph Meisel are the staff members responsible for direct oversight of these programs at the Foundation, and they have prepared a special essay summarizing the evolution of this group of programs and giving the rationale for them. [5]  It appears as the last part of this report, and presidents of colleges and universities, provosts, deans, and faculty members will, I believe, find it to be a comprehensive guide to the opportunities now being made available by the Foundation to faculty members and their home institutions, as well as to recent recipients of PhDs and aspiring doctoral candidates.

The specific programs described by Ms. Zuckerman and Mr. Meisel are key components of the Foundation's broader support for higher education, research libraries, and the field of scholarly communication.  At a time when some other foundations are moving away from the support of higher education, grantmaking to these institutions, and to others active in supporting scholarship and scholarly communication, regularly accounts for between two-thirds and three-quarters of all of the Mellon Foundation's appropriations—well over $130 million last year.  While the Foundation continues to review and modify specific programs, adjusting the scale of some and bringing others to orderly conclusions as we launch new initiatives, we expect to maintain this overall emphasis.

The most visible of the new programs launched in 2001 is the Distinguished Achievement Awards.  As Ms. Zuckerman and Mr. Meisel explain in their essay, these awards are intended to support the work of professors who have made major contributions to their own disciplines, whose influence may well extend more broadly to other fields, and whose current work promises to make significant new advances through both teaching and research.  Recipients are chosen from fields such as classics, history, history of art, philosophy, musicology, and all areas of literary studies, and must hold tenured appointments at institutions of higher education in the United States.  Amounting to as much as $1.5 million each over three years, the awards will provide the recipients and their institutions with opportunities to deepen and extend humanistic research.  As such, the awards will benefit not only the individual scholars but also their home departments and scholarship more broadly.  A key feature of the program is that the scholars remain actively engaged in the intellectual lives of their institutions.  The funds underwrite salaries, research assistance and expenses, and support for graduate students and colleagues working jointly with the awardees.

In November 2001, the Foundation announced the first five recipients of Distinguished Achievement Awards: Peter Brown (history, Princeton), Stephen Greenblatt (literature, Harvard), Sabine MacCormack (history, University of Michigan), Alexander Nehamas (philosophy, Princeton), and Robert Pippin (philosophy, University of Chicago).  The selection panel of eminent scholars was chaired by the Foundation's Chairman, Hanna Gray.

The Distinguished Achievement Awards are intended to underscore the value of the humanities and to have significant effects on both the work of the recipients and on humanistic scholarship; they are not, however, designed to meet the more immediate and pressing needs of scholars in general.  Other fellowship programs sponsored by the Foundation are designed to cover what might be called the "scholarly life-cycle."  Because they are described in detail in the Zuckerman-Meisel essay at the end of this report, I will simply list them here (with new initiatives marked with an asterisk):

  1. The ACLS/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships for Junior Faculty, open to assistant professors with at least two years of teaching experience; administered by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).
  2. The Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships,* for assistant professors with exceptional records of scholarship; named in honor of the Foundation's distinguished former Trustee, Charles Ryskamp, who retired in 2001, these awards are also administered by the ACLS.
  3. Sabbatical Fellowships, for mid-career faculty members who have already received commitments for partial sabbatical support from their home institutions; administered by the American Philosophical Society (APS) and jointly funded by APS and the Foundation.
  4. Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars, administered by the ACLS.
  5. New Directions Fellowships,* available starting in 2002, to advanced untenured and recently tenured faculty members in the humanities and kindred social sciences who wish to acquire systematic training outside their own disciplines; to be overseen by the Foundation's newly appointed Senior Advisor, Phillip Griffiths, currently Director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
  6. Emeritus Fellowships,* to be awarded, beginning in 2003, to eminent senior scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who wish to continue their scholarship and writing, and to retain an affiliation with their institutions, while retiring from their permanent posts; also to be overseen by Phillip Griffiths.

In addition, the Foundation supports postdoctoral fellowship programs at both universities and liberal arts colleges, "special collections fellowships" designed to enable recent PhDs to work intensively in primary source collections, faculty fellowship programs at a number of independent research libraries, research assistant professorships at the Institute for Advanced Study's School of Historical Studies, and fellowships for humanists at the National Humanities Center and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.  Finally (as the Zuckerman-Meisel paper also explains), the Foundation continues to support a range of predoctoral programs intended to attract excellent candidates to PhD programs in the humanities and to facilitate the timely completion of doctoral studies.

In concluding this brief summary of specific programs, I should emphasize that the Foundation is committed to supporting institutions even when the grants are designated as awards or fellowships.  By way of a few examples, the Distinguished Achievement Awards are designed to support the institutions at which the recipients work by providing for visiting appointments, special courses, and even, if the recipient wishes, graduate fellowships.  Our postdoctoral fellowships are, of course, as much for the benefit of the institutions as they are means of supporting young scholars.  The special collections fellowships aim to make library holdings the focus of scholarship and thus used more effectively in teaching.  Finally, the emeritus fellowships provide a way for institutions to retain ties with some of their most active senior faculty members even in retirement.  In short, a premise of this entire program is that the effectiveness of scholars and the institutions at which they work are interdependent.  Most scholars benefit enormously from institutional resources and a supportive infrastructure as they fulfill their multiple roles as teachers, colleagues, and creators of new knowledge.



The Foundation's commitment to the humanities is by no means confined to support of faculty fellowships and doctoral study.  All fields within the humanities, especially art history, architecture, and archaeology, as well as many disciplines within the social sciences, make increasing use of images in both teaching and research—and they would, we are told by many experts in the field, make even greater use of visual content if it were more readily available.  Students and faculty members would benefit greatly if it were easier for users to access images and related text at their workstations—and, in the case of students, in their rooms.  Faculty members would be helped if it were easier for them to incorporate digital images into their lectures and presentations, and then to manipulate the content in appropriate ways. [6]

In an effort to address such needs, and to take advantage of the opportunities made possible by advances in information technology and the lessons learned through the creation of JSTOR, the Foundation announced in 2001 that it would sponsor the formation of "ArtSTOR."  ArtSTOR's mission is to aggregate, "store," and electronically distribute digital images and related scholarly materials for the study of art and other fields in the humanities. [7]  We were privileged to announce at the same time that Neil Rudenstine, who recently concluded his service as President of Harvard University, would return to the Foundation to lead an advisory group that was established to guide the development of ArtSTOR, and then to chair its board when it is formally established as an independent entity.  James Shulman, a one-time Renaissance scholar who has been my colleague in studying policy issues in higher education for over seven years at the Foundation, is Executive Director of ArtSTOR.

At the Foundation's December 2001 Retreat, the Trustees devoted considerable time to a full review of the progress made to date in developing ArtSTOR, and to the many complex issues not yet resolved.  One clear conclusion is that working on this project inspires humility!  I would now like to summarize relatively briefly the challenges that this new initiative faces, the accomplishments to date (really since last September, when Mr. Rudenstine's schedule allowed him to concentrate on ArtSTOR), and some of the many open issues.

A great deal of time and energy has gone into thinking through the most basic conceptual questions concerning the aims of ArtSTOR and how best to achieve them.  This process has involved extensive consultations with leaders in this country and abroad from academic institutions, museums, libraries, and research centers; specialists in imaging and in building databases; others experienced in the creation of digital resources; experts in intellectual property rights; and wise generalists.  Building ArtSTOR into a trusted repository where content owners and educational users can come together will require not only time and resources, but also collegiality and the active participation of individuals from all of these communities.  Many people have been generous in providing good counsel, and we are particularly grateful for the collaborative spirit of many friends at the Getty Trust.

These extended discussions have led to greater clarity concerning fundamental operating assumptions and principles.  Some key conclusions follow.

  • A Promising Prospect.  As Neil Rudenstine has put it: "We all recognize that there is no substitute for direct engagement with original works of art or for actual archival study.  But the special opportunities presented by digital technologies constitute the most fundamental development in the potential for increased access and flexibility of use since the advent of photographic reproduction."  In general, those who have been consulted have been enthusiastic about the potential contribution of ArtSTOR and have urged us on.  While we expect that the "audience" for ArtSTOR will evolve and broaden over time, scholars, academic institutions, museums, and similar organizations are expected to be the primary users.
  • Building "Collections."  The universe of art objects is infinite and most objects or artifacts are unique.  The unbounded scope of the field and the idiosyncratic nature of each individual piece mean that the strategy for building content must entail working with (or creating) meaningful collections rather than random conglomerations of images.
  • Depth and Breadth.  ArtSTOR intends to be helpful in creating and assembling "deep" scholarly resources that will allow scholars to do new kinds of work, at the highest level of quality (the Mellon International Dunhuang Archive, described below, is an outstanding example).  At the same time, we recognize the need to develop a much broader and reasonably comprehensive "Image Gallery" that will meet the needs of faculty who wish to use images to enrich teaching and learning.  We see these resources blending together in the same ways that good teaching and research are thoroughly complementary.
  • Providing Adequate Catalog Information.  There are far more images of art works in existence than there are adequate descriptive catalog records to identify them.  Since a searchable online catalog relies on accurate data organized in a coherent fashion, the success of all such digital projects is utterly dependent on the organization and management of such data.  Continuing efforts will be needed to update and expand catalog information over time, and this process will require the active collaboration of many museums and other institutions.
  • Utilizing Previously Curated Collections.  Considerations of both time and expense make it wise to benefit as much as possible, especially initially, from "already curated" collections that permit the expeditious adding of images and related catalog information.
  • Technical Challenges.  Working with digital images in research, on Web sites, and in the classroom requires an active software environment (rather than "read-only" access) so that users can manipulate, store, and present groups of images.  In time, ArtSTOR may need to develop considerable technical capacity of its own to address the many challenges involved in delivering a dependable service of this kind and in facilitating interconnections with other data and image repositories.  Fortunately, however, we are able initially to benefit from the considerable technical expertise already available at both Mellon (Ira Fuchs and Tom Nygren) and JSTOR (Kevin Guthrie and others).  Also, ArtSTOR has licensed the use of Luna Imaging's Insight software and has been able to draw upon the extensive experience of Michael Ester and his colleagues at Luna Imaging.  An important objective is to develop a user-friendly ArtSTOR Web site (http://www.artstor.org) that will convey essential information to users and also enable them to employ the Insight tools in convenient ways.
  • Intellectual Property Rights.  While case law regarding the intellectual property rights associated with art images is still evolving, we are encouraged by conversations with leading experts in the field who believe that ArtSTOR has a sound legal basis for creating and distributing its database to academic audiences.  It is important to reiterate that ArtSTOR will be a not-for-profit entity and that it intends to make its content available only to licensed users, for non-commercial educational and scholarly purposes, in a regulated environment.
  • Focus Groups and User Testing.  To minimize the risks of moving too rapidly on the basis of what could prove to be wrong assumptions, considerable time and effort need to be spent working with a wide range of potential users to learn what is and is not valuable to them, what they most want to be able to do, and how conveniently they can take advantage of what ArtSTOR will offer.
  • Time Horizons, Expectations, and the Need for Collaboration.  It is more and more evident that building the kind of scholarly resource that we envision will require a considerable commitment of time, talent, and resources, and that it will be important that colleagues and users understand what it is possible to accomplish, and on what time schedule.  We are determined not to create unrealistic hopes that are then dashed.  Digital projects continue to be costly and difficult to carry out effectively, as the participants in any number of other initiatives can testify.  Sustainability is difficult to achieve, but of critical importance.

Tangible progress has been made in addressing a number of the challenges listed above.  Readers of this report are likely to be most interested in the current status of plans for the content of ArtSTOR (recognizing that content, as well as audiences, will evolve over time, and that adding content will always be a "work in progress").  To date, commitments have been made to include in ArtSTOR:

  • The Mellon International Dunhuang Archive.  Through an ambitious multi-institutional, multinational effort (involving to date grants totaling about $7 million to Northwestern University, the Dunhuang Research Academy, The British Library, the British Museum, the Musée Guimet, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the Lo Archive at Princeton) substantial progress has been made in creating original images and data related to the Dunhuang cave shrines in China.  As explained in previous Annual Reports, the intention is to create a scholarly archive of high quality images that will provide access to materials that are dispersed around the world, often not open to the public or (in the case of paintings in the upper reaches of the caves) not always visible even on-site. [8]
  • The Museum of Modern Art's Digital Design Collection (DDC).  This deep collection of design objects and drawings, that has been carefully curated by MoMA over the years, will create a visually powerful archive of high resolution images for educational uses.  The DDC is a three-year project, budgeted at $1.7 million, which has been described at length in previous Annual Reports and is now essentially complete.
  • The Arts of the United States ("the Carnegie Collection").  In June 2001, the Trustees approved a $150,000 grant to the University of Georgia that will pay for the digitization of 4,200 images of American art and architecture that have been widely used (in the form of slides) in colleges and universities for many decades.
  • The Huntington Archive of Asian Art.  Through a grant of $264,000, approved in June 2001, the Trustees appropriated the funds needed to pay for the on-site digitization and cataloging of 10,000 images from an extraordinarily valuable personal collection of images of Asian art and architecture compiled over decades by two faculty members at Ohio State University.
  • The Slide Library at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD).  At their December meeting, the Trustees approved a proposal to work with UCSD to digitize a core collection of 250,000 images that have been used successfully for teaching and that could, in time, also support research in a wide variety of fields (at a projected cost of about $2 million).  A particularly appealing aspect of this collection is that it contains carefully prepared catalog information that is associated with each image and hence will be a highly searchable core component of the Image Gallery in its early days.
  • The Illustrated Bartsch.  Also approved in December was a grant of more than $700,000 to digitize a 96-volume reference collection of old master prints that is widely used by scholars in its print version.  The grant will also permit the commissioning of additional volumes, which will be included in the "Digital Bartsch."

A few words should be said about scheduling, staffing, and organizational matters. In the early part of 2001, it was anticipated that ArtSTOR would file for independent not-for-profit status by the end of the year, and the Foundation's Trustees were prepared to provide the necessary start-up funding.  Further reflection, and the experience gained in addressing some of the conceptual and other issues identified above, led us to conclude that it would be wiser to "incubate" ArtSTOR within the Mellon Foundation until at least the end of 2002.

Under the leadership of Messrs. Rudenstine and Shulman, ArtSTOR is recruiting a small staff of highly qualified and strongly committed individuals who can lead the building of collections (Max Marmor, former Art Librarian at Yale University, has this responsibility) and the development of museum relations (a responsibility entrusted to Nancy Allen, former Director of Information Resources at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston).  In addition, effective use is being made of a range of outside advisors and consultants, as well as of Mellon staff who have been, in effect, seconded to ArtSTOR on at least a part-time basis.  Mutually beneficial collaborations between ArtSTOR and JSTOR are also being explored.  We expect that there will be opportunities both to link content (especially now that JSTOR is creating a separate cluster of art history journals and is working to improve linking capacities) and to achieve some economies of scale in hosting servers and distributing content—while preserving the separate identities and missions of each of these entities. [9]  

Consistent with what is said above about the need to work closely with users in developing this resource, the ArtSTOR contingent intends to do a considerable amount of work with focus groups in the spring of 2002, to move to broader testing of its user interface and at least an initial set of collections by the fall of 2002 (or perhaps the winter of 2003).  The current plan is to begin to enroll the first institutional participants at some point in 2003.  Achieving a sustainable financial plan for ArtSTOR is a critically important objective.

At times, the multiple challenges involved in creating an entity like ArtSTOR seem daunting.  But it would be wrong to end this account without emphasizing the sense of excitement (and of accomplishment) that is shared by all who are participants in this undertaking.  In our view, ArtSTOR holds the promise of significant scholarly, educational, and related benefits.  The "fit" between the new technology and visual images is an absolutely natural one.  The ability to combine—and manipulate flexible —images, data, texts, and other materials, offers the opportunity to bring about a substantial transformation in art-related teaching, learning, and research.  The capacity to create coherent and readily accessible special collections, in considerable depth, is a distinctive attribute of ArtSTOR.  Consequently, while there are certainly risks and obstacles ahead, the enterprise is one that has the potential—over time, and with broad collaboration—to meet a major need, and to create an exceptionally powerful new instrument that will be able to serve important educational purposes across many fields of knowledge.

Liberal Arts Colleges: Collaborations and the Search for Scale

Liberal Arts Colleges: Collaborations and the Search for Scale

The Foundation's continuing commitment to liberal arts colleges was demonstrated in 2001 through appropriations that totaled more than $25 million.  One theme that runs through many of the specific programs supported by these appropriations is the value of institutional collaboration.  Rarely does a single college confront a problem that is not also present at a great many other colleges, and it is often possible to develop a sharper understanding of the issues and to identify promising approaches through projects that bring together a number of colleges that have similar objectives.  A major challenge for liberal arts colleges is to find ways to benefit from the economies of scale generally available to larger institutions without losing the virtues of intimacy and independence that are their hallmarks.  Four separate initiatives represented on the 2001 grant list illustrate the variety of ways in which the collaboration theme has taken shape:

  1. Faculty Career Enhancement Studies.  Over the last two and one-half years, appropriations for faculty career enhancement (totaling $10.5 million) have been made to 23 liberal arts colleges on the explicit understanding that they will work together (often initially in pairs, and then in larger groupings) to identify and meet professional development interests that faculty members have at different stages of their careers.  Experience suggests that it is generally easier for faculty members to think analytically (and more objectively and less personally) about their own circumstances when they are working in concert with colleagues from another institution; and then, of course, ideas that spring up in one context may well resonate in another.

    The latest grants in this series were approved in December for projects at Vassar/Middlebury, Rhodes/Furman, Scripps/Harvey Mudd, and DePauw/Denison. [10]  One common approach is to begin by compiling profiles of faculty members at different career stages and then comparing their needs for professional development, as faculty members see them, with faculty support programs currently in place.  This process encourages faculty and administrators to consider trade-offs, recognizing both limitations on resources and the need to take into account new pressures caused by the increase in two career families, greater interest in interdisciplinary curricular initiatives, and new pedagogical developments, including especially the growing importance of digital technologies.  It is too soon to know how productive this multi-institutional approach will prove to be, but the hope is that this set of grants will produce fresh thinking about how best to support the continuing professional development of college faculty.  The Foundation is also providing support for minority faculty members in the early stages of their careers as an extension of its Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Program.  This new initiative complements faculty career enhancement programs that are being supported at historically black colleges and universities, in part through direct grants and in part through a collaborative program with the United Negro College Fund.
  2. Developing "Virtual" Departments of Classics and Archaeology.  In the curricular area, the Foundation has supported efforts by the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) to create "virtual" programs of study in classics and archaeology (through a project named "Sunoikisi").  None of the colleges in the ACS could afford more than a small number of faculty members in these fields, and yet by pooling their faculty resources (32 faculty members in all) they can offer a curriculum and access to research materials, including records from an ACS-sponsored excavation in Southwestern Turkey, that are competitive with the offerings of much larger institutions.  The program's leaders have raised the level of technological competence of their colleagues in the use of Web-based material through summer conferences at the ACS Technology Center at Southwestern University.

    It is, of course, natural to assume that such creative and ambitious efforts are "inherently" worth what they cost.  It is to the credit of the ACS that it wishes to study systematically the pedagogical benefits and costs of this project, to permit a more informed judgment of value received in relation to resources expended.  The Foundation expects to support such an assessment as the first project under its newly constituted "Teaching and Technology" program that is led by Saul Fisher. [11]
  3. Study Abroad.  The Foundation has appropriated approximately $3 million to support improvements in the numerous foreign study programs offered by liberal arts colleges.  Three consortia (the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, the Associated Colleges of the South, and the Great Lakes Colleges Association) have taken the lead in creating "Global Partners," and to date, 42 colleges have participated in the program.  Three centers of international study have been established in Russia/Central Europe, East Africa, and Turkey.  Web-based materials developed by language and technology task forces will be made available to all partner institutions and a greater emphasis will be placed on the dissemination of teaching materials and on engaging faculty and deans in providing more coherent international experiences for students.  Related programs are being supported at Bates/Bowdoin/Colby, a group of colleges that has established joint off-campus centers (in London, Quito, and Cape Town), as well as at Hobart/William Smith/Union.

    Collaborations of other kinds can improve the quality of curricular offerings in many fields, and in many parts of the world.  To provide just one more example, the Foundation is sponsoring several projects intended to help liberal arts colleges enhance their offerings in conservation and ecology by facilitating their participation in major study centers abroad.  The Foundation's program officer in this field, William Robertson, has worked diligently to link liberal arts colleges with field-based programs at the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica and Kruger National Park in South Africa (as well as at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Friday Harbor Laboratory in the United States).  Scientists based at leading American research universities are active participants in these projects, and they too will benefit from access to resources such as those available in Kruger Park and from interactions with new colleagues (in this instance from South African universities).  It is highly unlikely that any single college, working alone, could either forge such programs or manage its participation in them effectively.
  4. Establishment of Regional Technology Centers.  Of all the efforts of this kind launched in 2001, and in previous years for that matter, the most expensive and potentially the most important is the establishment of a series of regional technology centers.  Nearly $11 million was appropriated in 2001—the largest single appropriation of the year—to establish centers for educational technology in the Northeast (Middlebury, Vermont), the South (Southwestern University in Texas), and the Midwest (Ann Arbor, Michigan).  In addition, provision has also been made for a "National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education" (to be located in Burlington, Vermont).

    This ambitious initiative grew out of experience at the Foundation in funding a number of individual institutional projects in technology and in creating a Center for Educational Technology at Middlebury that emphasized language training.  There is a widely shared conviction that the time has come to promote stronger and more creative collaborations that will serve the academic aspirations of widely dispersed colleges and, at the same time, allow them to exercise more control over the costs of attempting to stay at least somewhat current with this burgeoning technology.  Liberal arts college presidents are having an increasingly difficult time meeting the expectations of faculty and students concerning access to all manner of electronic material and technologically sophisticated instruction.  Rapid advances in technology are making investments in hardware, software, and training quickly obsolete, and requiring new business and planning models.  It has also become increasingly difficult for the colleges to attract and retain high-quality technology staff members who will work effectively with intellectually demanding faculty and students.  These conditions make it difficult for small colleges with limited resources to compete in the education marketplace today.

    We believe that a nationally organized structure with distributed regional technology centers can provide a highly efficient model for collaborative efforts designed to: (1) support faculty members and librarians in managing the integration of technology into teaching and research; (2) provide professional development for instructional technology staff; (3) train students in advanced technology and information literacy; (4) enhance the ability to explore and demonstrate the instructional potential of emerging technologies; (5) share best practices and systems; (6) encourage strategic planning for college facilities in the digital age, including libraries, laboratories, and media classrooms; and (7) stimulate collaborative arrangements with research university programs.  Some of the regional centers will probably offer "circuit rider" assistance to colleges in their catchment basins.  The National Institute will have a coordinating role and will also take responsibility for proposing cost-sharing protocols.  While the Foundation has cheerfully accepted the need to invest heavily in launching this enterprise, these centers will have to become largely if not entirely self-supporting—which should be possible if the anticipated cost-savings and other benefits materialize. 

Libraries and Scholarly Communication

Libraries and Scholarly Communication

The Foundation's longstanding interest in libraries and scholarly communication was reflected during 2001 in further grants in support of preservation endowments (at Indiana University, the University of Chicago, and UCLA) and also in renewed support for preservation field service centers and the preservation research program at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  In addition, several major new initiatives were launched in 2001.  Space will permit me to mention just four.

  1. The "Electronic Enlightenment."  This is an ambitious project intended to support the development of an online database of the correspondence of 18th-century intellectuals.  As an initial step, the Foundation has provided funding to the University of Oxford that will be used by the Voltaire Foundation based there to create a prototype online database that will aggregate digitized versions of the definitive scholarly editions of the correspondence of Voltaire and Rousseau; the prototype will also provide a powerful search engine to help sort, filter, and arrange 27 these letters for display and study.  Then, as a next step, the Foundation is funding a study of the complicated organizational, technological, and conceptual problems involved in making possible a far larger collaborative effort that would involve many university presses and the papers of a wide range of Enlightenment figures including Bentham, Locke, Adam Smith, Franklin, Jefferson, and Montesquieu.  The Princeton University Press is coordinating this planning process.  Of course, larger commitments of funds would have to depend on an assessment of the value of the prototype and the outcome of the study.
  2. Metadata Harvesting Services.  Following considerable exploratory work led by Donald Waters, the Foundation’s chief program officer in the field of scholarly communications, the Foundation has embarked on an experimental effort to determine the requirements for developing portal services oriented to scholars' needs, based on a variety of Internet technologies including a new "harvesting" protocol that was developed under the auspices of the Open Archives Initiative.  The objective is to make contents of library catalogs and other elements of the "deep web" far more accessible than they are at present.  Seven institutions have been selected to participate in the first phase of this research (the Research Libraries Group, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Southeastern Library Network, Inc., Emory University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia).  Each of the seven institutions has defined an approach to a part of this vast and complicated territory that, if successful, should be instructive generally.  To mention just one example, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is developing a general-purpose harvesting tool that it will use to create a portal that can integrate information about special collections, portions of which are held in different institutional archives and are described using a different standard for each.
  3. University Press Digital Distribution Centers.  A recent study by librarians at Yale University and other institutions in the New England Research Library Consortium found that a surprisingly high fraction of all titles assigned in history and literature courses (eight out of ten) were published by university presses.  Despite this important indicator of their importance, the economics of scholarly publishing remain precarious, to say the least.  Even scholarly titles regularly assigned in courses are often sold in hundreds of copies.  Because of the high fixed costs involved, presses typically print more copies than they can sell and then confront inventory problems.  In an effort to address this important set of issues, the University of Chicago Press proposes to create a Digital Distribution Center that will have a short-run, digital-printing capacity and a digital book repository.  Technologies for printing digital files have improved to the point where quality is much better than it used to be, and unit costs have become quite reasonable.  This initiative should allow a rigorous test of the proposition that such technologies offer a promising approach to the cost-effective publication of important scholarly monographs and to keeping key texts available ("in print") in one form or another.
  4. Applications to the Field of Music.  Finally, I should mention new efforts in 2001 to encourage applications of information technology to musicology and the study of serious music.  Working in collaboration with the Hewlett Foundation, efforts are being made to create a musicology cluster within JSTOR.  In addition, under the leadership of our colleague, Suzanne Lodato, the Foundation has been working with the Recorded Anthology of American Music (RAAM) to develop an online searchable collection of its holdings of audio recordings, liner notes, and music scores.  The Foundation has also supported an initiative by an international group of musicologists and computer scientists based at Harvard to develop software for digitally encoding and transcribing "neumes," the signs and symbols that were used in the earliest Western music notation systems for Christian chants and other forms of medieval music, but which do not translate easily to modern musical notation systems.  Finally, as part of Catherine Wichterman's program in the performing arts, the Foundation made a grant to the Philadelphia Orchestra Association as the umbrella organization for the newly established Electronic Media Forum, a group that is exploring uses of technology to support orchestras.

Research in Information Technology

Research in Information Technology

As is evident from what has been written above, and as is equally evident from everyday observation, Internet technologies now offer attractive opportunities to enhance many of the traditional forms of teaching, conducting research, and storing and transferring scholarly materials.  Our Foundation sees the new technologies as ways of complementing established ways of studying, writing, and learning, not as substitutes.  And we believe that one of our advantages as a funder of new applications of technology to the humanities and other fields of special interest to the Foundation is that we are interested in these new techniques as aids in accomplishing age-old purposes, not as ends in themselves.  The Foundation's Vice President for Research in Information Technology, Ira Fuchs, has spent his entire professional life in higher education and embarks on all of the projects that he studies and shepherds from exactly this perspective.

One of the major commitments made by the Foundation in 2001 is a good illustration of the goals that we believe institutions of higher education should seek to further as they become more and more adept technically.  Along with the Hewlett Foundation, the Mellon Foundation made a sizeable grant to MIT ($5.5 million) to underwrite the pilot phase of a Web-based initiative called OpenCourseWare (OCW) that is intended to provide free worldwide access to the educational materials of all courses taught throughout the Institute.  It should be emphasized that OCW is not a collection of formal, interactive courses.  It is a comprehensive set of course materials that includes syllabi, reading lists, detailed lecture notes, assignments, examinations, problem sets and solutions, and, as appropriate, examples of student work.  Without charge, it is expected, eventually, to give students, faculty, and others throughout the world access to organized, indexed, high-quality educational materials from more than 2,000 MIT courses.  The uses to be made of these materials would of course depend entirely on the interests and needs of a wide variety of institutions and users.  In supporting this visionary effort by MIT to place educational values ahead of commercial gain, the Foundation is also very much aware, as is MIT, that it is not enough simply to assume that the results of the project will justify the high costs involved.   The Foundation was insistent from the first conversations with representatives of MIT that provision be made for a careful, objective assessment of who uses the resource, to what ends, and with what success.  MIT is fully committed to this approach and agrees that, in this important respect, the project is truly experimental.

In December 2001, the Trustees approved a second set of grants recommended by Mr. Fuchs, this time for the purpose of developing an open source authentication system for Web-based services on a single campus (the University of Washington is the grantee) and across institutions (Dartmouth College is the principal grantee).  Explaining the technical aspects of these complementary projects would require a level of sophistication well beyond my own, and I will make no such attempt.  But the general objectives and principles are straightforward.  If full use is to be made of electronic resources, and if promises to providers of content concerning access to their content are to be honored, it is essential to solve problems of authentication determining that a user is a legitimate member of the academic community even if the user is off campus) and authorization (confirming that the user is entitled to gain access to a particular resource).  Solving both of these problems is essential if we are to explore new directions in the protection and use of intellectual property.  In supporting this work by leaders in the field, the Foundation also seeks to underscore its broader commitment to addressing major problems that are common to members of the academic community, and to encouraging solutions that will be non-proprietary and open to improvement over time by others. In short, our commitment is to a system-wide approach that will emphasize the broader perspective of the entire community, rather than more parochial interests.

International Grantmaking

International Grantmaking

At each of the Foundation's last two Board Retreats, the Trustees discussed the international reach of the Foundation's grantmaking.  Each time they reaffirmed strongly that geographic boundaries mean less and less, and that the Foundation should pursue its major programmatic objectives where there is the best opportunity to be useful.  It is also evident that there is more and more overlap between activities in this country and activities abroad.  Thus, while the Foundation will surely continue to concentrate its grantmaking in the United States, it would not be surprising if, over time, the percentage of grant dollars going to institutions overseas increased modestly from the present level of about 18 percent.  It may be useful to mention examples, drawn from the 2001 record, of the Foundation’s activities outside of the United States.

The one part of the world in which the Foundation has adopted a country-specific approach is South Africa.  The reasons for working intensively in South Africa have been described in other Annual Reports and need not be repeated here.  In my view, South Africa is an important example of how one of the most repressive regimes in the world could be—and has been—transformed peacefully; it is an important beacon of hope in a world far too divided along racial and ethnic lines.  While no one would claim that South Africa has addressed all of its problems successfully, or that it is free from difficulties now (certainly not!), the ability of South Africa to continue to make progress remains an important symbol of what can be accomplished.  In addition, the existence in South Africa of an infrastructure that is advanced in many ways gives South Africa an unusual opportunity to contribute to the development of the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. [12]

Since 1988, the Foundation has made grants under its South African program that now total in excess of $50 million, and in June 2001, the Trustees received a comprehensive report on activities over this period that was co-authored by the Foundation's program officer for South Africa, Tom Nygren, and the Foundation's Senior Advisor, Stuart Saunders, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town.  It is impossible to summarize the report here.  But its major conclusions were that much has been accomplished (some setbacks notwithstanding), that the Foundation can contribute still more in the near term, especially by concentrating on those sectors such as higher education that we understand best, and that the Foundation should plan on sustaining its recent level of grantmaking (approximately $5 million to $8 million per year) for the next five years.  This recommendation was accepted by the Trustees.  The willingness of Stuart Saunders to make an even greater commitment to overseeing Foundation activities in South Africa, and our confidence in him, were important factors in this decision.

Two other Foundation programs have long been "international" in their sweep, and there is nothing new to report in these areas.  Carolyn Makinson continues to lead a highly successful program in population studies and forced migration that includes innumerable relationships between individuals and institutions in all parts of the world.  Similarly, William Robertson's program in conservation and the environment continues to feature research in ecology that spans many continents.  The building of the content of the Mellon International Dunhuang Archive to include invaluable manuscripts, paintings, and other materials in London and Paris also continued apace in 2001.  So too did the Foundation's support of humanities faculty members from Eastern European countries who were accepted as visiting fellows at leading centers of advanced study throughout Europe.

Of greater interest, because it is newer, is the decision made in 2001 to include a small number of European (and especially British) institutions in some of the Foundation's core programs in higher education.  Thus, a grant of more than $700,000 was made to University College London for support of postdoctoral fellows in the humanities.  In the library area, large grants were made to the University of Cambridge to help it convert the remaining parts of its "guardbook" (the catalog representing the library's core academic collection of books and serials) to electronic format, and to the British Council, which is helping the Russian State Library, the largest library in Europe and the second largest in the world, add one million machine-readable book records to its online catalog.

The Foundation also approved a series of grants in 2001 to allow the Natural History Museum in London and the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew) to digitize botanical holdings of great importance and make them available to scholars on a single Internet site.  An additional award to the Natural History Museum is designed to make a digital record of its remarkable holdings of artwork, manuscripts, and other materials related to the exploration and colonization of Australia (the so-called First Fleet Collections, created in large part by prisoners and seamen in the first fleet of convicts shipped to Australia) available to scholars worldwide— perhaps as a part of ArtSTOR.

In the field of the performing arts, the Foundation made its first venture into the international arena with a $750,000 grant to Arts International so that it could in turn provide support for 30 emerging and under-recognized American music, theater, and dance organizations that wish to tour and participate in international festivals.  The museum program, under the leadership of Angelica Rudenstine, sponsored a carefully arranged pilot program designed to introduce Chinese museum professionals to American museum practice.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution (through its Freer Gallery of Art and its Arthur M. Sackler Gallery) and the Art Institute of Chicago were key participants in this potentially important project.

It seems fitting that these expanding international connections were being put in place at the same time that the Foundation elected its first Trustee from outside the United States, Colin Lucas, a distinguished historian of the French Revolution who is now the Vice Chancellor of Oxford (having served previously on the faculty of the University of Chicago).  Mr. Lucas was able to attend the Trustees' December meeting and Retreat, and it was evident immediately that he will make a major contribution to the work of the Foundation.


In reviewing the wide range of activities that took place in 2001, I am reminded again of how extraordinarily fortunate the Foundation is in the quality and dedication of both its Trustees and its staff.  The recent appointments of Neil Rudenstine and Phillip Griffiths provide exceptional new talent to the Foundation, and it is gratifying to see how well the staff as a whole functions.  I must pay special tribute to Dennis Sullivan, my colleague at Princeton and now for 11 years at the Foundation, who has announced his intention to step down as Financial Vice President to pursue other interests.  In addition to discharging all of his normal responsibilities for the management of the Foundation's finances and general infrastructure, Mr. Sullivan took on the challenging task of managing the Foundation's response to the events of September 11.  It is a mark of the man that he never missed a step.  We are now in the process of adding two senior colleagues to take over his responsibilities, a fact that speaks for itself.  There is no way I can express adequately my appreciation, professionally and personally, for all that Dennis Sullivan has contributed to the work of the Foundation.  To say that he will be missed is such a gross understatement that I am at a loss to find language to convey how inadequate the phrase is.

William G. Bowen
February 18, 2002



[1] Responsibility for overseeing the administration of this special fund was entrusted to Dennis Sullivan, the Foundation's Financial Vice President, and a special Trustee committee chaired by Hanna Gray.  In carrying out these additional responsibilities, which he handled with characteristic care and dedication, Mr. Sullivan has been ably assisted by Michele Warman, the Foundation's Secretary and General Counsel, several program officers and their deputies (most notably Angelica Rudenstine and Catherine Wichterman, as well as Donald Waters and William Robertson), and other administrative staff members.  Return to text.

[2] Apart from the $50 million fund, grants were also approved at the December Board meeting to assist two organizations well qualified to support activities related to trauma counseling in New York and a third organization active in coordinating the responses of US humanitarian organizations to the crisis in Afghanistan (all listed in the Classification of Grants at the back of this report).  Return to text.

[3] Appropriations in 2000 were $220 million, but included in this record total were a number of one-time grants made in December 2000 that totaled roughly $30 million; thus, the base level budget in 2000 was about $190 million, or some $10 million above the amount appropriated in 2001.  Return to text.

[4] A complete list of appropriations approved during 2001 is provided at the back of this report.  I have chosen to focus the discussion in the text on a small number of major themes.  Return to text.

[5] Ms. Zuckerman and Mr. Meisel are responsible principally for grants to research universities and centers of advanced study; they collaborate closely with colleagues working with liberal arts colleges (Pat McPherson and Danielle Carr) and with publishers, archives, and libraries (Donald Waters and Suzanne Lodato) to ensure opportunities for participation extend beyond the research university sector.  Return to text.

[6] In drafting this section, I have relied heavily on the materials prepared by Neil Rudenstine and James Shulman for the Foundation's December 2001 Retreat.  Messrs. Rudenstine and Shulman should be regarded as co-authors of this section.  Return to text.  

[7] The full text of the announcement, which was made on April 1, 2001, may be found on the Foundation's website.  Return to text.  

[8] This project also illustrates the important role that the creation of high-quality digital images can play in creating a permanent record of major sites and works of art that could deteriorate over time—or even be destroyed by natural forces or conflicts.  Creating and preserving this record is an important objective in its own right.  Return to text.  

[9] This is related to a still broader set of issues concerning the extent to which lessons learned by JSTOR in digitizing journal literature can benefit, in varying degrees, a number of other digital projects of potential value to the scholarly world.  Since previous Annual Reports have generally contained a section about JSTOR, and some readers have come to expect this, let me note here some indicators of last year's extraordinary growth in the JSTOR resource and in the interest in it, worldwide.  During 2001, JSTOR added 42 new journal titles to its collection, and it has signed up 64 more titles for later inclusion in its various collections (Arts and Sciences I and II, General Science, Ecology and Botany, and Business, with Art History in progress).  It now offers access to the full runs of 218 titles, and it has nearly 9 million pages of content online.  As of the end of 2001, there were 1,264 institutional participants from 58 countries.  Between the end of 2000 and the end of 2001, the number of accesses of JSTOR (searching, browsing, printing, etc.) increased 52 percent.  Over this same one-year period, the number of articles printed from the database increased from 3,180,499 to 6,338,702—an increase of 99 percent.  By any standard, Kevin Guthrie and his colleagues continue to make remarkable progress in both creating an extraordinarily valuable archive of scholarly literature and enhancing access to it.  Return to text.  

[10] The other colleges participating in this project are: Barnard/Wellesley, Bryn Mawr/Haverford/Swarthmore, Carleton/Macalester, Amherst/Williams, Grinnell/Oberlin/Pomona/Reed, and Smith/Wesleyan.  Return to text.  

[11] This new program is an outgrowth of the Foundation's Cost-Effective Uses of Technology in Teaching program (CEUTT), which was also led by Saul Fisher, working with Tom Nygren and Gil Whitaker.  Information about both the old and the new program is available on the Foundation's website.  Return to text.  

[12] By coincidence, a long story describing how South Africans are contributing to economic development throughout the southern part of Africa appeared in The New York Times (Rachel L. Swarns, “Awe and Unease as South Africa Stretches Out,” New York Times, February 17, 2002, sec. 1, p. 1) right after this section was drafted.  Return to text.