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Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards $500,000 grant to grow faculty diversity at Oglethorpe

Oglethorpe University has received a $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a four-year effort to diversify faculty in the humanities. The grant will provide funding for the appointment of faculty members.

Oglethorpe previously received a three-year Mellon grant in 2014 to support “Explorations in the Core,” an initiative to innovate its Core curriculum to better reflect the growing diversity of students.

“This important initiative will build on our last grant from the Mellon Foundation,” said Provost Glenn Sharfman. “Currently, our student body is substantially more diverse than our faculty, and we know that curricular offerings will be further enriched with a greater breadth of experiences and points of view in the classroom.”

Unlike many other residential liberal arts colleges, Oglethorpe has differentiated itself with its exceptional student diversity, as guided by its strategic plan and by capitalizing on an Atlanta location.

Of Oglethorpe’s 1250 students, 38% are Caucasian, 24% African American, and 11% Hispanic, with the remainder self-identifying as multiracial or not identifying. Furthermore, approximately 38% are “first generation” students—the first in their family to attend college—and nearly 40% are eligible for Pell grants.

Conversely, 82% of Oglethorpe faculty are Caucasian, 6% are African American, 8% Asian, and 3% Hispanic.

“Our enrollment composition makes Oglethorpe atypical among liberal arts colleges—and drives the need to diversify our faculty,” said Dr. Sharfman. “Our goal is for our faculty to better reflect our students. This grant will help us move toward that goal significantly.”

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