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Home News 2016 Clark Atlanta University Awarded $494,000 from Mellon Foundation for Paradigm-Shifting Undergraduate Curriculum Reform

Clark Atlanta University Awarded $494,000 from Mellon Foundation for Paradigm-Shifting Undergraduate Curriculum Reform

Posted on Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Contact: Donna L. Brock

ATLANTA (Jan. 5, 2016) — Clark Atlanta University (CAU) President Ronald A. Johnson today announced the receipt of $494,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund strategic activities in support of the University’s new focus on undergraduate research, a key aspect in the University’s efforts to implement comprehensive curricular reform, through December 2018.

“This award,” said the President, “acknowledges that our efforts to transform and revitalize Clark Atlanta’s curriculum will not only enhance our students’ individual and collective academic experiences, but also enrich the regional and national economy through the production of graduates who possess the foundational strengths of critical thought and analysis, industry and organizational intelligence and, most importance, stackable credentials in myriad fields of endeavor. ”

The University’s work toward this aim, which began in 2014 with the funding of a Mellon  Foundation  planning  grant,  will  emanate  from  its  Center  for  Undergraduate Research and Creativity, led by Asa Ware Endowed Professor of Sociology Obie Clayton,  Ph.D. “It is critical,” Clayton notes, “that today’s graduates have the benefit of a college education that tactically aligns with the demands of the 21st  century marketplace.   Our aim is to transcend the campus footprint and traditional classroom instruction so that students are well-­‐groomed to be competitive in the global economy. This requires that we rethink how we connect students to knowledge and intellectual leadership, how we employ technology and how faculty collaborates to provide out-­‐of-­‐the box engagement. Without these pillars in place, the return on an individual’s investment in the higher education process  is  inadequate.”

Clark Atlanta’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creativity will provide academic support services, co-­‐ and extra-­‐curricular engagement, communication and training opportunities toward improving student recruitment, retention and progression. Initial programming will focus on creating a university-­‐wide culture of discovery that transcends the campus footprint. In addition to faculty engagement, creative activity and mentorship, cross-­‐discipline collaboration also will become an institutional priority from the very beginning of the matriculation process through graduation.

“Our approach,” Johnson noted, “will center upon IDEAS that matter, with IDEAS representing CAU’s cultural and intellectual DNA: innovation and entrepreneurship, design and systems thinking, environmental sustainability, the arts and humanities and science and technology.”

Johnson and Clayton concur that the Mellon Foundation’s endorsement of this approach affords Clark Atlanta opportunity to share in that corporation’s crucial mission, strengthening, promoting and…defending the contributions of the humanities and the arts to…the wellbeing of diverse and democratic societies. “It is out intent,” President Johnson notes, “to be a global leader in this realm by producing graduates who exemplify and enliven this ethos.”

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Category: Administration, Faculty, Students
Keywords: Clark Atlanta University, Mellon Foundation, Curricular Reform