News / Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Supports iSchool Initiative to Increase Diversity in Graduate Studies


The School of Information Sciences is pleased to announce that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given the iSchool a grant of $100,000 to support the planning of initiatives to increase diversity in graduate programs at Information Schools. The Mellon grant will be used to design and develop a series of summer institutes, an annual program to be administered by the iSchool to recruit graduate students and faculty members from underrepresented groups to the field of information sciences. The institutes will focus on promising juniors and seniors in college who demonstrate strong potential to eventually earn doctoral degrees and become faculty members in the Information Sciences.

Master’s and PhD students from minority populations continue to be underrepresented in the nation’s Information Schools, including the iSchool.  “The nation’s information professions need a workforce representative of its diversity. Development of this workforce requires faculty who, likewise, reflect the nation’s diversity,” explains Ronald L. Larsen, Dean of the iSchool.  “With this grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, our School is poised to launch a long-term program designed to educate the next generation of scholars, leaders, and researchers to bring the diversity of culture, experience, and perspective to the education of information professionals.” 

The grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable the iSchool to begin planning for this multi-year initiative under the leadership of James Currier, iSchool faculty.  Planning will incorporate representatives from the three iSchools in Pennsylvania (Pitt, Drexel University, Pennsylvania State University), other units at the University of Pittsburgh, the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and from Lincoln University and Cheney University here in the Commonwealth.  This group will determine the structure and content of the Summer Institutes (expected to begin in 2010), the marketing and recruitment materials and processes, and the syllabus for training mentors who will play a key role in the Institutes. 

With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institutes program will recruit and mentor PhD students who demonstrate leadership and who represent the diverse society present in North America.