The Mission of the UNCF/Mellon Programs is to Transform the Academy by creating a pipeline of undergraduates who will pursue the Ph.D. with the sole intention of becoming faculty members and leaders within the Academy. Our mission is to aid in the transformation of the academy through the presence of a racially and ethnically diverse faculty whose scholarship and teaching represent diverse world views, appreciation for issues of social justice and who share a commitment to continuing to develop a pipeline of scholars of color to inhabit the halls of the academy as students and faculty. In addition, the Programs aim to strengthen teaching and learning at UNCF institutions by creating opportunities for UNCF faculty to enhance their teaching and scholarship through the participation in Faculty Career Enhancement opportunities. These opportunities focus on comparative scholarship and analysis of selected topics and encourage collaboration with distinguished faculty within and outside of the UNCF consortium. Faculty Career Enhancement programs support the continued growth and development of UNCF faculty, and the Programs aim to support initiatives that enhance the teaching and learning environment.


The UNCF/Mellon Programs were created in 1989 with a generous grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Designed with the goal of strengthening the number of faculty of color within the Academy, these programs target undergraduates and faculty at the consortium of 37 UNCF institutions and Hampton University.

Since the inaugural year, the Programs have instituted the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program and the four current components of the Faculty Career Enhancement Program, which include the Junior Faculty Development Fund, the International Faculty Seminar, the Teaching and Learning Institute and the Faculty Residency Program.


Faculty Development Award

The Faculty Development Award provides a limited number of course release grants to junior faculty teaching at UNCF institutions. Preference is given to MMUF or UNCF newly minted Ph.D.s who have chosen to teach within the UNCF consortium of institutions.

International Faculty Seminar

The International Faculty Seminar provides junior and senior faculty at UNCF member colleges and universities with an opportunity to enhance their teaching and/or scholarship in an international setting. Preference is given to junior faculty. The seminars are designed to promote meaningful links between teaching and research, to create a community of inquiry across cultures, disciplines and institutions within the historical and cultural context of the African Diaspora and to provide effective models of interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship. Locations for the International Seminar have included the Goree Institute in Dakar, Senegal; the University of Ghana in Kumasi; the University of Cape Town in South Africa and various institutions in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and Nantes and Paris, France. In addition, locations for domestic Seminars have included Atlanta, GA and Albuquerque, NM.

Teaching and Learning Institutes

The Teaching and Learning Institutes were established to create opportunities for UNCF faculty to come together through workshops, seminars and/or mini-conferences to share strategies, scholarship and best practices that help to strengthen the teaching and learning environment. Selected institutions sponsor an Institute at their home campuses and invite UNCF faculty from other institutions to participate. Funding may be used to support travel, stipends and other instructional costs associated with the successful execution of the Institute.

Faculty Residency Program

The Faculty Residency Program provides an opportunity for selected tenured and tenure-track UNCF faculty members to take up to a semester away from their home institutions to complete or begin a scholarly project. The Programs Office helps to facilitate residencies at selected sites including Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, New York University’s Faculty Resource Network and Emory University’s James Weldon Johnson Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Study. In addition, there are two international Faculty Residency sites: the University of the Western Cape in South Africa and the Steve Biko Institute in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Other sites are subject to review by and approval from the UNCF/Mellon Programs Office.