October 4, 2000
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—The Trustees of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have approved a grant of $500,000 to Amherst College in support of five postdoctoral fellowships for scholar-teachers setting out in their academic careers. Mellon Fellows, scholars just leaving graduate school, come to Amherst to teach and research for two years.

“These enlightened grants allow newly-minted Ph.D.s to gain some experience teaching at a selective college, ” says Lisa Raskin, the dean of the faculty at Amherst College, “while giving them time for their own research. There is no better way to learn to teach than to have departmental colleagues to model, and no better way to become an independent scholar than having senior professors read one’s work. We all remember the importance of our senior colleagues in shaping our teaching styles, our research questions, and indeed, even our values in liberal arts education.”

Over the next five years, the five new fellows will work in the departments of Black Studies, English, Spanish, Music and Classics. Ann Moss Burger, the assistant dean of the faculty, will oversee the program at Amherst, giving special attention to interaction between the fellows and the senior Amherst faculty, their mentors.

Three new Mellon Fellows joined the Amherst community this fall. Social psychologist Cynthia McPherson Frantz recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, specializing in interpersonal conflict. MaryBeth MacPhee, with a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, continues her research in medical anthropology while teaching at Amherst. Elke Zuern, a political scientist whose research interest is in sub-Saharan Africa, earned a Ph.D. from Columbia. Amherst’s first Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Andreola Rossi, completed her fellowship in 1999 and this year joined the classics faculty at Harvard. Burlin Barr, a Mellon Fellow in English, remains at Amherst for his second year of teaching and writing.