MDC to Host Virtual Faculty Summer Institute with Focus on Humanities Undergraduate Student Research

Miami, May 14, 2020 – Miami Dade College (MDC) will host a virtual Faculty Summer Institute (FSI) starting Fri., May 15, through Sun., May 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The program is intended to support faculty development and their plan to introduce or improve existing humanities-based undergraduate research that will be implemented in the next academic year.

Eighteen MDC and 18 Florida International University (FIU) faculty members were selected to participate in the Institute, generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of the Community College Partnership grant program that MDC and FIU were awarded in 2017.

“We appreciate the funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for this partnership program,” said MDC Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Julie Alexander. “This event showcases the collaborative nature of our institutions in supporting our faculty growth and development for the benefit of all of our students.”

The FSI’s goal to encourage more humanities undergraduate research, aligns with the MDC-FIU grant goals for The Humanities Edge grant, which is an academic and career development program for MDC-to-FIU transfer students, and also strengthens the faculty bonds between the two institutions. Participants will collaborate online and then individually create research projects for their undergraduate students, academic programs, or co-curricular programs.

Nationally recognized FSI speakers will address different aspects of undergraduate research and share their expertise, including Gregory Young, Montana State University professor and founding director of the Undergraduate Scholars Program, which was the first multi-disciplinary public university undergraduate research program. His book, “Creative Inquiry in the Arts & Humanities: Models of Undergraduate Research,” was co-edited with another FSI guest presenter, Jenny Olin Shanahan, who serves as director of Undergraduate Research and Assistant Provost for High Impact Practices at Bridgewater State University. Other presenters include Maria T. Iacullo-Bird, assistant dean for Undergraduate Research, Grants and Special Projects at Pace University; Mark Schantz, History Department chair at Birmingham-Southern College; Julie Langford, Classical Studies professor at the University of South Florida; and Melonie Sexton, professor of Psychology and Undergraduate Research Coordinator at Valencia College.

Empowerment through Education, LLC has planned and organized the Institute and the concluding joint faculty activity for the program, Making Diversity Meaningful in the Humanities: An MDC-FIU Pathway Partnership.

The Humanities Edge grant program aims to create a supportive academic experience that values and leverages diversity to deepen and broaden scholarship in the humanities; strengthens transitions for aspiring humanities students from MDC to FIU; supports ongoing pedagogical and research collaborations between MDC and FIU humanities faculty; and identifies and drives institutional practices to support diverse humanities majors and improve student success.

For more information, please contact Alexandra Bassil at or 305-237-3362.