This week, Mary Baldwin University received official word from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund that the college has been awarded a $200,000, two-year grant to support planning and pilot testing of courses for a master’s level program, projected to be a Master of Letters (M.Litt.) in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance. The grant period is September 1, 2000 through August 31, 2002.

A faculty committee at Mary Baldwin University has been working for several months on the development of the master’s program. Ralph Cohen, Executive Director of Shenandoah Shakespeare and Professor of English at James Madison University, serves on the committee and is involved in the planning process as a consultant.

The duPont grant allows the college to continue that planning process, which will culminate in a detailed recommendation to the faculty as a whole. The Mary Baldwin faculty will then vote on the proposed master’s program before it can become an official degree offering of the college.

Although much work remains to be done, the M.Litt. program is currently projected to require a full-time student 15 months to complete. It is also projected that the program will use a modular course format, with intensive courses that incorporate visiting scholars, actors, and directors; and that there will be three tracks within the program: teaching, directing, and acting.

In addition to program planning and development, the grant provides funds for associated faculty development, research and library resources, visiting faculty, and recruitment for the program.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund, based in Jacksonville, Florida, gives grants to 325 eligible institutions identified by Mrs. duPont in her will. For more information on the duPont Fund, contact Sherry Magill, executive director, at 904-353-0890 or smagill@dupontfund.org.

Mary Baldwin University is a multi-faceted liberal arts college in Staunton, Virginia, with three residential programs for women–the traditional program, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership–as well as the coeducational, non-residential Baldwin Online and Adult Programs and Master of Arts in Teaching program. Mary Baldwin offers the B.A. and/or the B.S. in 32 majors as well as the M.A.T. degree with K-8 emphasis. The oldest women’s college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Mary Baldwin was founded in 1842 and is also the first women’s college to be granted a circle of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. It is one of only 255 colleges and universities to house a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

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