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Tiffany Martínez ‘19, Marcelo López ‘19, and Audrey Pan ‘19 (left to right) at the 2017 C3 Summit. Photo by Roman Jones.

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Program to Diversify Faculty Awarded $5.5 Million Grant from Mellon Foundation

October 11, 2017

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – C3, a consortium that promotes diversity in higher education, has received a $5.5 million dollar, five-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The new funding will help Middlebury and other participating liberal arts colleges accelerate their efforts to diversify their faculty. The grant will also broaden C3’s reach beyond the program’s lead liberal arts colleges–Middlebury, Bates, Connecticut, and Williams–and its partner universities­–University of California at Berkeley, Columbia, Michigan, and the University of Chicago.

“For five years now, we have pursued the mission of C3: to transform higher education to enable students and faculty, whatever their identities or backgrounds, to thrive in institutional life,” said Middlebury President Laurie Patton. “We are excited to expand these efforts with support from the Mellon Foundation.”

The grant replaces the consortium’s Postdoctoral Fellows program with C3 Professorships that will offer funding for up to two years of tenure-track positions in the humanities. A minimum of 16 tenure-track positions will be allocated across the 28 colleges in the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers Consortium (LADO).

Marking another change, graduates of any institution–not just the four partner universities–will now be eligible for C3-supported positions at LADO colleges.

The New Scholar Series, also a feature of the grant, will fund department events that bring emerging underrepresented scholars to campus for talks or symposia that speak to new and developing areas of their disciplines. 

“C3 has already had a significant impact at Middlebury,” said Susan Baldridge, Middlebury executive vice president and provost, and principle investigator of the project. “Two of our fellows are now members of the faculty, and all nine of the C3 post-doctoral fellows who have taught at Middlebury have greatly enriched the curriculum and academic life of the College.

“C3 has brought about important institutional change at Middlebury by instigating more effective and inclusive recruiting, hiring, and mentoring processes,” added Baldridge. “It has also encouraged new collaboration between partner liberal arts colleges and universities.”

Middlebury will host the next C3 summit November 9-11, 2018. The event brings together undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members, diversity officers, deans, and presidents to focus on the program’s mission and goals.

“We look forward to the summit, where many different individuals and institutions that contribute to C3’s success will connect and exchange ideas,” said Miguel Fernández, chief diversity officer at Middlebury. “The summit is one example of what C3 offers to undergraduates–the opportunity to meet graduate students and faculty who can serve as role models and mentors in academia.” 

Another component of C3 is its Undergraduate Fellowship Program for rising juniors and seniors attending any of the 28 LADO colleges and universities. In partnership with LADO, C3 also organizes annual panels and workshops at its four research universities for graduate students from historically underrepresented groups, many of whom are unfamiliar with liberal arts colleges and may not have considered a career at these institutions.

C3 was launched in 2012 with funding from the Mellon Foundation. The new grant, which began October 1 and supports the program through 2022, will bring the foundation’s commitment to the program to $10.9 million over a decade.



I hope that includes diversity of thought as well. Thanks.

by John Youngman (not verified)

Good point, John. As parents of a ‘20, it was certainly our expectation that our Midd Kid would get a classical Liberal Arts education, that is, to be exposed to a broad spectrum of ideas. So far, his indoctrination course on White Fragility was just nuts and other ideas are verboten. As political moderates we would like to see politics taken out of the classroom, a wide range of speakers on campus, instead of ever more indoctrination in a bubble.

by Morgan Evans (not verified)

Liberal leaning Group-think has been a real problem at Middlebury especially among some faculty. This influences students and suppresses open diverse thought. This is not unique to Middlebury - but I would hope the school will rise above this and bring in some faculty to reverse this trend.

by Greg Borsinger (not verified)

Interesting how an article about the laudable effort to increase diversity in higher education becomes a platform for the truly ideologically fragile to complain about "liberals" and to mischaracterize the academic environment at Middlebury. I actually attended the College. The students and faculty have diverse ideological perspectives. In my time there, Chief Justice Roberts, Ari Fliesher, prominent anti-choice leaders and many other conservatives accepted invitations to give speeches. There were (and still are) many conservatives in the classrooms, both professors and students. For example, Professor Dry continues to teach at Midd. Sometimes, explicit hatemongers are also allowed on campus. Unfortunately,
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a white-supremacist who gave a lecture when I was at the college was just welcomed again to campus by the American Enterprise Institute a decade after his last visit. Is that more of what you seek, internet posters? Or do you just want traditionally conservatism represented in a significant way on campus? That already exists and is welcome. There are many other examples, but you didn't post to hear about ideological diversity, you came to troll. My racial and ethnic identities are not imperiled by exposure to others of differing ideologies. Perhaps yours are? Discomfort is not discrimination. Including women is not a threat to men, except to the egos of the most fragile of us. Racial inclusion is not an attack on whiteness, it is a step toward difficult conversations about so many issues in this country that have not been resolved since the founding of our nation. In many cultural and political ways, women and minorities have never had so many seats at the table. That does not mean that conservatism is oppressed or repressed, it simply means that you may have to tolerate seeing and hearing from people with whom you might never before have had to interact. Perhaps you will see that racial minorities have diverse ideologies too. I know that I have found that to be the case.
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by Dr. Wilson Judd... (not verified)