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ACM and “Big Ten” Universities Join Forces to Pursue Grants

ACM and “Big Ten” Universities Join Forces to Pursue Grants February 8, 2014

The ACM colleges and the Big Ten universities will focus on less commonly taught languages and the digital humanities in their effort to identify and pursue funding for collaborative projects that find common ground between them.

A pair of planning meetings in April will be the next step for Enhancing the Midwest Knowledge Ecosystem (EMKE), a project supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that’s aimed at encouraging liberal arts colleges and major research universities to collaborate in the humanities and the arts.

EMKE sponsored two meetings in 2013 that brought together faculty and administrators from member institutions of the ACM and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). The CIC is an academic consortium of the Big Ten Conference schools, including new members University of Maryland and Rutgers University, plus the University of Chicago.

Each meeting addressed an area that the ACM and CIC agreed showed potential for collaboration. The first gathering, in June, broadly looked at languages, especially less commonly taught languages, language pedagogy, and language sharing. The October meeting explored the digital humanities.

“From their interaction so far, the two groups have already gained perspective on ways that their strengths can complement each other,” said Elizabeth Ciner, the ACM Senior Program Officer overseeing EMKE. “We came out of those meetings with a wealth of ideas. That provides a good basis for our work this spring, which is to develop models for projects we can do together and then ask the Mellon Foundation for funding to support those projects.”

While the original grant proposal for EMKE envisioned three full-scale meetings on three different topics, the discussions at the first two persuaded the EMKE steering committee to change course. “We came to the conclusion that it would make more sense to use the remaining grant funds to hold smaller, follow-up meetings where we can really dig into the specifics of the projects we’ll propose for funding, and Mellon agreed,” Ciner said.

Participants in the previous meetings were selected by the chief academic officers at their colleges and universities. The steering committee will invite smaller groups of those participants to the follow-up planning meetings in April.


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