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Excellence and Expertise

​​Mellon Foundation grant ‘game changing’ for Miami program

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program awarded $100,000

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Excellence and Expertise

​​Mellon Foundation grant ‘game changing’ for Miami program

Miami University’s recent grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will revitalize conferences, create community outreach opportunities, and reinvigorate the curricula of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.

The foundation awarded $100,000 to the Miami team of Walter Vanderbush, Jennifer Cohen, Kenna Neitch, and Madelyn Detloff for their “Program Development for the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies” project.

“Not only will the grant significantly strengthen the WGS program, but students and faculty across the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies will also benefit from the Mellon funds,” said Vanderbush, chair and associate professor of Global and Intercultural Studies.

Detloff, a professor of English and Global and Intercultural Studies, said the grant will be dispersed over three years. Cohen is an associate professor and Neitch an assistant professor, both of Global and Intercultural Studies.

“It’s fantastic timing,” Neitch said. “A lot of the different things we’ll be working on will put new life into the curriculum.”

Founded in 1969, the Mellon Foundation is one of the largest funders of the arts and humanities in the United States. Detloff said this grant is part of the Mellon Foundation’s Affirming Multivocal Humanities program.

“We expect wonderful things from the grant,” Detloff said. “We want students to get a sense of hope and a bright future for the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. We’re going to come out stronger because of this grant.”

The Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality (RCGS) Symposium will return thanks to the grant funding. Formerly an annual event, the symposium had been paused in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There also will be a second RCGS symposium hosted during the grant period.

Community events are another important aspect of the grant, in Oxford and at Miami’s regional campuses.

“It is important for our students to hear multiple voices, and voices that speak in more than a soundbite to think, gather together, and converse,” Detloff said. “The Mellon Foundation is trying to help make that possible for us at Miami. We are delighted that we can parlay the grant into doing some really meaningful work for the university.”

Engaging with students to meet their needs is also an essential part of the grant, Neitch said, as is the funding’s three-year schedule.

“This grant really gives us the time and space to do that work,” Neitch said. “We want to meet this generation of students where they are in terms of new kinds of visibility and promotion work.

“To have this influx of resources and time to do this work is really valuable.”

Part of the grant will also go toward creating pathways across divisions to engage with the program.

“We have some really gifted and amazing faculty who are beyond the core faculty, and we want to make sure we support and highlight their work,” Detloff said.

“This grant is game changing for us. It’s going to bring some energy into the program.”