Oct. 15, 2012 — Allegheny College has been awarded a $675,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to hire a full-time professor of Arabic, to further internationalize its curriculum and to augment its study abroad program sites.
The college currently makes Arabic language studies available through a distance-learning network. The Mellon grant will allow Allegheny to hire a full-time, tenure-track professor for three years, at which time the college will assume responsibility for the professor’s salary.
“Providing consistent, high-quality Arabic language instruction is an essential contribution to developing Allegheny students’ knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa,” said Allegheny provost Linda J. DeMeritt. “Moreover, language provides students with an important introduction to forms of Middle Eastern and North African culture.”
The Mellon grant also provides funding for further internationalizing Allegheny’s campus through course and curriculum development, study tours for faculty, and expansion of study abroad opportunities for students.
The college currently has study abroad sites in the Middle East at the American University in Cairo and Hebrew University in Israel. Allegheny will explore the viability of adding a study abroad site at Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco.
The Mellon grant also will support course and curriculum development aimed at incorporating international perspectives and content in current and new courses and programs. This and increased study abroad options are consistent with the tenet of Allegheny’s strategic plan, Combinations 2020, that focuses on further internationalizing the campus and curriculum.
Interest in regional study in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been growing steadily at Allegheny College during the past decade. Thanks to a 2009 Mellon grant, the college’s MENA program has a strong foundation, including a new regional study area within the International Studies Program as well as a new MENA minor. New initiatives undertaken as a result of the new grant represent the next logical steps in the development of the MENA programs.
“We believe these steps, made possible by the generosity of the Mellon Foundation, will allow us to better serve our students and to ensure the success of our broader mission of educating students for the 21st century,” DeMeritt said.