Irene Vasquez, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chicano/Chicana Studies, spearheads 2 million grant from Mellon Foundation to increase graduates in the humanities at UNM

Irene Vasquez

Posted: January 15, 2019

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has approved a joint grant of $2 million to increase the number of students pursuing associate and bachelor’s degrees in the humanities and to support the transfer of humanities students from Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) to the University of New Mexico.

UNM will receive $1.2 million of the three-year grant and CNM will receive $800,000 in the joint effort to enrich New Mexico’s society and economy with more graduates from the humanities.

According to Mark Peceny, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNM, the grant will deepen the existing partnership between the humanities programs at UNM and CNM.

“We’ve had previous grants that help us support transfer students in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math),” says Peceny, “and now this grant gives us an opportunity to really build similar kinds of support systems to help students move from CNM to UNM in the humanities.”

“By working together through this grant, CNM and UNM can help many more students interested in the humanities receive the support they need to complete degrees and succeed in their chosen career,” said Erica Volkers, dean of the School of Communication, Humanities & Social Sciences at CNM. “Graduates of the humanities are instilled with important lifelong attributes that enhance the quality of work environments. We’re excited about the potential of this grant to help more students complete degrees in the humanities and become highly valued professionals.”

CNM President Katharine Winograd agrees. “Students who earn degrees in the humanities enrich our community and state in so many ways,” Winograd said. “Graduates of the humanities are critical to a healthy society and often become outstanding leaders in business and industry.”

Funding from the grant will be utilized in numerous capacities, including jointly planned events and outreach activities to stimulate student interest in the humanities; a summer academy for CNM students in the humanities who are considering a transfer to UNM; providing a stipend for graduate assistants who will act as student navigators to help CNM students successfully transfer to UNM; sharing data and aligning courses between UNM and CNM; and hiring a Transfer Specialist in the UNM Arts and Sciences advisement office.

“The need has existed for some time to build more of a capacity to help transfer students from CNM and other schools,” Peceny says. “To provide the same support and opportunities (that we give to first time students) to those who are coming back to school or continuing their education.”

Irene Vasquez, Chair of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UNM and Project Investigator for the grant, says this funding provides an infusion of resources that will allow UNM to continue offering a high-quality, diverse education for undergraduates.

Rerad the full story at UNM Newsroom.