M.O.L.D. : MELLON/ MARYLAND OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Breaking the M.O.L.D. Program is a unique professional development initiative designed to create a pipeline to senior leadership in higher education for faculty members of color and women from the arts and humanities, as well as others with a proven record of promoting diversity within the academy. Supported by a generous 3.1 million-dollar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this initiative is led by 6 women in senior leadership serving as principal investigators (PI), five of whom are Black. Breaking the M.O.L.D. is a partnership between three institutions within one system: University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), University of Maryland at College Park (UMD CP) and Morgan State University (MSU).
UMBC’s Kimberly Moffitt, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) and professor of language, literacy, and culture, serves as the project’s lead PI. Joining her in leading UMBC’s implementation of Breaking the M.O.L.D. is Patrice McDermott, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. Leading Morgan State’s implementation are PI Patricia Williams Lessane, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and associate professor of sociology and anthropology, and Co-PI Charlene Chester, Assistant Dean for the James H. Gilliam College of Liberal Arts (CLA). At UMD, Psyche Williams-Forson, Professor and Chair of American studies, serves as PI. Bonnie Thornton Dill, Professor in the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, former Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) is the co-PI.
Arts and Humanities disciplines train their practitioners to understand the human experience as lived or performed, and in turn, cultivate important leadership skills such as imagination, compassion, and understanding. Breaking the M.O.L.D. program aims to develop a diverse set of leaders inclusive of these fields, and shaped by arts and humanities scholarly values and distinct skills. The main goal of the project is to break ground by creating a new training program for academic leaders on more expansive and inclusive leadership searches. Additionally we hope to build a potential model for how other state systems might generate partnerships between PWIs, HBCUs and HSIs to advance diverse academic leadership, inclusive of the arts and humanities.