Five Colleges, Incorporated has been awarded a $2.5 million, four-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help its member campuses transform how they approach Native American and Indigenous studies (NAIS), with the goal of enhancing teaching, learning and scholarship in the field.
Called Gathering at the Crossroads: Building Native American and Indigenous Studies at the Five College Consortium, the effort will allow the campuses to develop and establish a set of new academic pathways for students interested in Native American and Indigenous Studies – supported by new faculty, new courses and new course modules.
The Five College campuses are located in the Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) Valley, which has historically been a crossroads of Indigenous nations. Today it remains a central gathering place for NAIS scholars as well as for Native American and Indigenous leaders, artists, writers and activists.
The current Faculty Convener for the Mellon NAIS Grant is:
Christen Mucher, Associate Professor of American Studies, Smith College
The past Faculty Co-Conveners were:
Professor Kathleen Brown-Perez, Senior Lecturer II, Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Professor Kiara Vigil, Associate Professor, American Studies, Amherst College
Mini-Grants and Residencies
Through the work of the NAIS Mellon grant, we aim to build a model of collaborative teaching and learning for Native American and Indigenous Studies centered in the Northeast region but with ties to a global Indigenous network by infusing Indigenous knowledge across disciplines.
To support this goal, the Five College Consortium is offering the opportunity for collaboration across campuses through mini-grants and residencies. Five College faculty or staff* (see eligibility requirements) are encouraged to apply for mini-grants to lead team projects to develop one or more course modules, a new course, or a cluster or sequence of courses (such as language study). Proposers should bear in mind that the Mellon Foundation's focus is on the arts and humanities and priority will be given to proposals that clearly connect with the Foundation's mission but proposals in STEM fields will be considered. Preference will also be given to proposals demonstrating a clear engagement with NAIS methods and materials.
This funding opportunity is also open to faculty with a more multi-disciplinary background and no prior experience in NAIS who are interested in infusing Indigenous approaches into their courses through collaboration with other faculty experts. Mini-grant projects should include multiple faculty and can also include the engagement of Five College staff, students, and community participants as collaborators.
Faculty can also apply for residencies to host Indigenous artists, authors, activists, and community historians. Awards are $10,000 for a short-term residency of 1-4 weeks, $30,000 for a one-semester residency, and $60,000 for an academic year residency. Most of the allocation should support the artist in residence who will organize the various activities.
Please note that campus policies during the pandemic will severely restrict residencies and we recommend that you check your campus' policy before submitting a residency application. Priority will be given to projects that take place virtually if in-person events are not possible.
Before the completion of their projects, grantees will be expected to fulfill a number of requirements, such as submitting syllabi or reporting progress in a public presentation, providing expense reports, submitting receipts for reimbursement and completing a project status report.
Proposals that demonstrate cross-campus collaboration are particularly welcome.
Information sessions will be offered on Zoom a couple weeks before each application deadline to answer questions and provide guidance to applicants in crafting their proposals. The information sessions will be held on the following dates:
To request an invitation to a specific information session, please contact Bea Cusin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Five College continuing faculty or staff members responsible for creating curriculum can apply.
- Up to $10,000 per mini-grant
- Up to $60,000 per residency (see details above)
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Please note that funding opportunities are not currently being reviewed.
Applicants must complete an online application form and submit a budget template. For the application, click on the link below. For the budget, download the template below before filling it out.
Note: We recommend that applicants review the Frequently Asked Questions below before submitting their online application and budget to Bea Cusin at email@example.com.
Project Status Report
All award recipients are expected to submit project status reports as defined in the award letters. The project status reports will inform the reports that Five Colleges, Inc. submits to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation annually during the duration of the NAIS grant. Grantees can find the reporting form here.
Please contact Bea Cusin for questions or more information.
Frequently Asked Questions