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Program Description & Requirements

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities promotes students ’intellectual engagement within and across the disciplines, through original research that combines traditional scholarly methods, creative production, experiential education, and the digital liberal arts.Working independently or in teams, with the support of faculty mentors, students build the skills needed to plan, develop, and undertake significant projects of research or artistic creation, and to carry them through to completion. Mellon Scholars emerge from the program with knowledge and experience that will serve them well in postgraduate study, law school, medical school, and in competition for national and international scholarship and fellowship awards at the highest levels. They also should be prepared to enter a workforce that expects a combination of critical thinking, research, writing, speaking, initiative, creativity, collaboration, and the ability to work effectively with digital technology. Students are encouraged to apply academic skills to real-world problems, and to acquire experiences that will enable them to explore their values, skills, and interests in the workplace.

Admission to the Mellon Scholars Program is competitive. Applications from prospective Mellon Scholars are solicited from first- and second-year students at the beginning of the spring semester, and admission to the program is announced prior to fall registration.

The Mellon Scholars Program formally begins with the two-semester, Interdisciplinary Seminar, taken in the sophomore or junior year. Following the seminar, Mellon Scholars engage in intensive academic research in the arts and humanities, which may include individual study with a faculty mentor; upperdivision courses enhanced with some individual study; participation in a faculty-led team research project; off-campus study at The Philadelphia Center or Newberry Library; or a course that supports the integration of technology and the liberal arts. Through these experiences, Mellon Scholars complete significant works of scholarship or creative performance grounded in academic research that may serve as examples of the student’s capabilities in applications for awards, graduate programs, and other opportunities. Throughout the program, Mellon Scholars seek ways to adopt new and emerging digital technologies for the development, dissemination, and preservation of their work. They also present their projects at public events such as the Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance, the Arts and Humanities Colloquia, Posters on the Hill, and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. The Mellon Scholars Program offers support for student-faculty collaborative summer research projects, conference travel, and other student-faculty development opportunities. For more information about these opportunities and the program, please contact the director.

COURSE OF STUDY:
The Mellon Scholars Program consists of 24 credits. Normally, work undertaken for the program coincides with General Education and required coursework for an arts or humanities major or minor. In the first year of the program, the sophomore or junior year, students take 8 credits (4 credits each semester) of IDS 180-181, the Interdisciplinary Seminars. Normally, participation in IDS 180 and IDS 181 confers Fine Arts I and Cultural Heritage II (IDS 174), General Education credits, respectively; however, students who have taken courses for those credits prior to enrolling in the program may petition the director for alternate arrangements. In addition to IDS 180-181, Mellon Scholars must complete four additional 4-credit experiences from the following menu of options:
  1. “Mellonized” course. Students enroll in an upper-division course, meet with the professor regularly in order to engage more deeply with the topic, and produce a substantial final project (i.e., a 20-page research paper or the negotiable equivalent in writing and digital or creative production).
  2. Team project. Students enroll in an individual study in the most appropriate discipline (by permission of the chair) and work on a Mellon-sponsored cross-cohort project such as “Digital Holland,” “Spanish Women Surrealists,” or “Reconciliation in Post-Conflict Africa.” (Descriptions of those and other ongoing projects are available on the Mellon Scholars Prorgram web page.)
  3. Individual Study. Students register for an individual study in the appropriate discipline and produce a substantial final project (i.e., a 20-page research paper or the negotiable equivalent in writing and digital or creative production). Students may complete up to 8 credits of IDS 390, the Junior Tutorial and Project (4 credits per semester in the junior year), and up to 8 credits of IDS 590, the Senior Tutorial and Project (4 credits per semester in the senior year). Students may apply for departmental credit for IDS 390 and 590; however, Mellon Scholars may not substitute the IDS 590 for other departmental capstone courses without the permission of the appropriate department chair.
  4. A course in any department that supports the integration of technology and the liberal arts (e.g., “Web Design”). For Mellon credit, the course must be approved in advance by the program director.
  5. The Philadelphia Center: “Digital Liberal Arts in the Workplace.” Students receive credit for one or two 4- credit Mellon experiences for coursework and project development in the context of an internship at a cultural institution such as Independence National Historic Park, the Rosenbach Museum and Library, or the American Philosophical Society.
  6. The Newberry Library, Chicago. Students receive credit for three 4-credit Mellon experiences for the development of a substantial project in the context of a major research library.
Students entering the program as juniors may enroll in one of those additional experiences concurrently with the Interdisciplinary Seminar. In all cases, the submission of a completed project is necessary for the conferral of Mellon credit. Mellon Scholars are expected to present their work at the Celebration of Undergraduate Research, and participate in regular, announced colloquia as a condition of continuation in the program, unless they are studying off-campus or have a bona fide conflict. Participation in the program is indicated by the “Mellon Scholars” designation on academic transcripts.

INTERDISCIPLINARY SEMINAR IN THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES

IDS 180. Mellon Scholars: Interdisciplinary Seminar I -- This seminar assumes the possession of the foundational tools of the liberal arts: critical reading, analytical writing, and oral presentation, among others. It seeks to help students further cultivate their proficiency at the use of those tools and link them to the ability to pursue scholarly research with the goal of equipping them to undertake faculty-student collaborative projects, independent research and creative production, and engagement with digital technology for scholarly purposes. The seminar will include a selection of guest professors from Dance, Art, Music, and Theater. Four Credits Staff Fall Semester

IDS 181. Mellon Scholars: Interdisciplinary Seminar II -- This seminar builds on IDS 180 emphasizes the use of digital technologies in support of the foundational tools of the liberal arts. It also provides training in presentation skills, scholarly collaboration, and the writing of grant proposals. The seminar will include a selection of guest professors from English, History, Modern Languages, Philosophy, and Religion. Four Credits Staff Spring Semester

JUNIOR TUTORIAL AND PROJECT

IDS 390. Mellon Scholars: Junior Tutorial and Project -- Meeting regularly with a faculty mentor, students develop an intellectually coherent course of study and complete a “junior project,” a significant work of scholarship that may serve as an example of the student’s capabilities in applications for awards, graduate programs, and other opportunities. Students may petition for disciplinary credit in the relevant department, and special arrangements are available for students engaged in off-campus study programs. Four Credits Both Semesters Staff

SENIOR TUTORIAL AND PROJECT

IDS 590. Mellon Scholars: Senior Tutorial and Project-- Working with a faculty member (or more than one) on a topic approved by the Mellon Scholars Committee, students produce a substantial work of original scholarship or creative production. Students may petition for disciplinary credit, but IDS 590 may not substitute for departmental capstone courses without the permission of the appropriate department chair. Special arrangements are available for students engaged in off-campus study programs. Four Credits Both Semesters Staff