Prairie View A&M University to Establish the Mellon Center for Faculty Excellence

  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) a $1 million grant to support faculty development in the humanities and associated social sciences. Faculty in these areas support majors and minors such as English, Spanish, history, political science, sociology, geography, legal studies, humanities, art, music, theater, and communications among other areas.

The award will augment existing resources dedicated to faculty development and support and enable far more consistent and robust efforts in this area.  PVAMU would align its effort to ensure that the faculties benefit from shared practices developed by other institutions, thus amplifying the benefits and reach of programs offered on campus.

“The grant will make it possible to lessen the teaching workload for selected tenured and tenure-track faculty thereby allowing faculty more time to elevate the research profile of the institution,” said James Palmer, Interim Provost and PI on the grant.

In addition, combined financial support from PVAMU and the Mellon Foundation would:

  • Establish a Mellon Center for Faculty Excellence;
  • Fund artistic and humanistic work;
  • Provide faculty conference support;
  • Acknowledge and reward successful faculty; and
  • Explore opportunities for temporary teaching or release assignments at area universities.

“Our Mellon-funded program will demonstrate that a strong faculty development program is essential to excellence in teaching and research,” shared Palmer.

“The program we envision will demonstrate that strategic investments in faculty development will have significant and fruitful returns,” said President Ruth Simmons. “More knowledgeable faculty who have access to continuous professional development will offer stronger courses of study, better prepare students for post-graduate plans, attract additional funding sources, recruit strong students, and otherwise provide for healthier institutions that are more viable in the long term.”