Higher Learning

Higher Learning supports inclusive humanities education and diverse learning environments—spaces where the ideas that enrich our understanding of a complex world are created and elevated. 

We work with colleges, universities, and other organizations that embrace equity in higher learning, with a focus on historically underserved populations, including nontraditional and incarcerated students. Alongside our investment at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the work and health of core humanities fields, we offer robust support for paradigm-shifting interdisciplinary studies that are necessary to the evolution of those traditional disciplines.

With our partners, we support sharper critical thinking to create a generation who can help steer a more engaged, multivocal, and truly democratic society.

Radcliffe is Reshaping Our Understanding of the Fight for Suffrage 

Award-winning author and historian Jane Kamensky leads a Mellon-funded initiative reminding us that the fight for suffrage didn’t end when the 19th Amendment was ratified.

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In New Hampshire, Community Colleges Foster a New Generation of Humanities Scholars 

The New Hampshire Humanities Collaborative is rekindling enthusiasm for the humanities by helping community college students find meaningful employment and aiding in the transfer process to four-year

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Taking the Long View on Academic Leadership: Historian and Case Western Provost Ben Vinson III 

Ben Vinson III—one of the foremost historians of Latin America and an alum of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program—strengthens pathways for the next generation of diverse leaders.

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Humanities Without Walls: Scholars in the Midwest Partner to Solve Today’s Challenges 

Scholars from Midwestern universities collaborate on projects examining climate change, globalization, and other challenges, all while charting new pathways for doctoral students in the humanities.

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Driven by Data: The Center for Policing Equity 

Phillip Atiba Goff, an alumnus of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Program, blends humanism and data science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York to improve community policing nationwide.

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Refusing to Forget: Monica Muñoz Martinez Uncovers America’s History at the Border 

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) alumna Monica Muñoz Martinez on her new book, her MMUF experience, and how academic excellence can shape public history.

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Origins of Sound: New Directions Fellow Laurent Dubois Studies the Banjo 

Laurent Dubois, Mellon Foundation New Directions fellow and director of the Forum for Scholars & Publics at Duke University, talks about using his fellowship to explore the history of the banjo and the links between the instrument and its African roots.

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The Demands for Diversity Hiring Require a "Pipeline" 

An op-ed by Mellon Foundation Senior Program Officer Armando Bengochea.

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Igniting Confidence and Building the Humanities Pipeline 

The Johns Hopkins-Community College of Baltimore County Humanities for All Program builds confidence and research skills for community college students.

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New Directions: G. Gabrielle Starr 

Pomona College President, Gabrielle Starr on the intersection of the humanities and neuroscience, and how her New Directions Fellowship paved the way.

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Duchess Harris: Archiving the Past for Future Generations 

Duchess Harris, alumna of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program, discusses her "Human Computers at NASA" digital archive project at Macalester College and tells the story of her grandmother Miriam Mann, one of NASA's earliest "hidden figures."

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Public Libraries Are Reinventing Access to Higher Education 

Senior Program Officer Eugene Tobin on the critical importance of the new Bard College and Brooklyn Library "microcollege."

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Tell Them We Are Rising: A Documentary Film Breaks New Ground  

Senior Program Associate Emma Taati interviews Stanley Nelson, award-winning filmmaker and National Humanities Medal recipient, about his new documentary on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

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Community Colleges and Universities Collaborate to Foster the Next Generation of Humanities Scholars 

A new initiative from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with the CUNY Graduate Center and LaGuardia Community College supports students on their pathway from an associate to a baccalaureate degree in the humanities.

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Freeing History 

Historian Erica Dunbar discusses her new book "Never Caught: Ona Judge, the Washingtons, and the Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave" and the impact of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.

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"Higher Education Has Given Me My Humanity Back" 

Senior Program Officer Eugene Tobin’s account of his visit to Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, NY.

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Revitalizing Graduate Education 

Cristle Collins Judd, former Senior Program Officer in Higher Learning, on the Mellon Foundation's commitment to the future of doctoral education.

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What Can You Do With a PhD? 

The American Council of Learned Societies helps humanities PhDs find opportunities in public service.

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Supporting Native American Education 

Less than 13 percent of Native Americans hold a college degree. The American Indian College Fund and College Horizons aim to increase that figure.

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Going Full Circle with Mellon Mays 

Besenia Rodriguez reflects on her journey in the program from Brown University undergraduate to Associate Dean of the College for Curriculum.

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