Five College Consortium

Bridging Liberal Arts Undergraduate Programs and Graduate and Professional Programs

(proposals due January 24, 2014)

With generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Five College Deans are pleased to invite proposals for projects designed to enrich both undergraduate liberal arts education and graduate and professional education through bridging initiatives. Successful proposals will bring together faculty members from both communities to explore the challenges and possibilities inherent in connecting these two systems of education more closely, while building on shared concerns and values. Proposals are welcome from academic departments, programs and other cooperating groups across the five campuses; proposals may be field-specific, but should engage faculty members both from the liberal arts undergraduate sector and from one or more of the University’s graduate and/or professional schools and programs. We seek to take advantage of the particularly rich relationships among faculty members within our unique consortium, which includes distinguished liberal arts colleges as well as a distinguished research university.

We have three main goals in mind: clarifying the pathways leading from liberal arts undergraduate education to work in the professions; fostering discussion and experimentation that has the potential to improve pedagogy and student learning both in liberal arts and professional programs; and exploring new possibilities for curricular and programmatic collaborations across the liberal arts /professional education divide, possibly including new kinds of graduate programs that build more fruitfully on the values and preparation of students entering professional study from liberal arts backgrounds.

Proposals should outline a series of activities to be undertaken over two years. Fundable activities could include, but are not limited to:

  • faculty seminars for the discussion of core values, scholarship and pedagogy;
  • residencies for practitioners to work with students in liberal arts and professional programs;
  • course revision and curriculum development (including team-taught courses);
  • course exchanges for faculty members between liberal arts and professional programs (including team-teaching);
  • fellowships to support graduate students working in supportive roles in undergraduate liberal arts education on one or more of the college campuses;
  • development of articulation agreements among liberal arts and professional programs.


Proposals (no more than 5 pages as a single document, formatted as a searchable PDF) should be submitted via email by January 24,2014 to with the following subject line: "Five College Bridging Proposal."

For advice or comments at any stage of proposal preparation, contact Nate Therien, Five College Director for Academic Programs, (413) 542-4000. Proposers should consult with Nate to ensure that budgeted amounts are consistent with available funding. Proposers should consult with the Deans of Faculty at all participating institutions before submitting a proposal. The Deans expect to announce awards in February 2014.

Proposals should include:
  • Collaborators: names of collaborating programs and/or departments and their institutions;
  • the proposal’s major authors and other likely contributors; and members of a cross-institutional steering committee to design and oversee project activities;
  • Description of past and current cooperation among the proposers and proposing programs/departments;
  • Description of the project rationale and activities planned over two years (how do project goals and how project activities, taken together, serve these goals?). Projects should include development at both undergraduate and graduate levels of courses and curricula that articulate and support the essential liberal arts foundations of good professional education;
  • Anticipated long-term outcomes of the project (for students, faculty members, participating institutions--and possibly others outside the Five Colleges);
  • Activity plan and time frame;
  • Estimated two-year budget.