Renewal of Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Will Assist Graduate Study at Yale

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation of New York, N.Y., has announced the renewal of a grant to Yale University which will provide approximately $670,000 in 1996-97 for the continuation of a program to improve the quality and effectiveness of Yale graduate studies leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

The Mellon Graduate Fellowship Program at Yale was established in 1991 to improve graduate education while expediting completion of doctorates and reducing attrition rates among doctoral candidates. Since its inception, the Mellon Program has awarded fellowships to graduate students in five Yale humanities and social science departments: Anthropology, English, History, History of Art, and Music.

According to Yale University President Richard C. Levin, the Mellon Program’s dissertation-year fellowships for graduate students in the five targeted departments have reduced the need to work at outside jobs and increased the amount of time students can spend exclusively on scholarly preparation. In addition, Yale graduate students at earlier stages of the doctoral program received Mellon Foundation support for essential pre-dissertation travel and research, which have improved the quality of their work.

Mr. Levin stated: “Since the Mellon Program was initiated, our graduate students and the Graduate School itself have benefited a great deal–not only financially but also from improved student morale, decreased attrition rates, and improved time-to-degree. We are convinced that the renewal of the Mellon Program will help the Graduate School to consolidate these gains.”

Yale Graduate School Dean Thomas Appelquist reported that most students receiving Mellon Fellowship support in the first phase of their doctoral study are now completing pre-dissertation requirements in three years or less. “We also are beginning to see a positive trend in decreasing time-to-degree and time-to-submission in the Mellon departments,” he added.

In thanking The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation president and trustees for this renewed support, President Levin pointed out additional long-term benefits from the Mellon Program. “Yale has used its own institutional revenues to extend the Mellon idea of dissertation-year fellowships throughout the humanities and social sciences,” Mr. Levin said.. “In this sense the Mellon grants have been a catalyst for change within the Graduate School.”

Provost Alison F. Richard commented: “The Mellon Foundation’s 1996 grant will provide critical funds to improve our graduate programs and help solidify our plans to ensure the excellence of a graduate education at Yale.” Provost Richard pointed to additional gains during the first five years of the Mellon Program for some departments, including the implementation of seminars for graduate students on discipline-related issues in teaching.

President Levin also referred to other instances of Mellon Foundation support for Yale University. Previous Mellon Foundation grants have assisted such initiatives at Yale as the minority undergraduate fellowship program, the program to strengthen doctoral training in Latin American history, and the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning.

As the fellowship program continues, Yale will provide matching funds for a portion of the Mellon Foundation support.

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