After months of work and collaboration with faculty across the Penn State system, the Multicultural Enhanced Learning for Diversity (MELD) project's Web site http://meld.tlt.psu.edu/ is now available for use by Penn State faculty.
This Web-based collection of information, materials, examples, and resources on diversity was made possible by a grant from the AT&T Foundation in 2002. There are presently over a hundred resources and materials in the collection that have been contributed by Penn State faculty. These materials are organized by subject and diversity issue so that access is quick and easy for faculty looking for group activities and student assignments that can be used to integrate cultural perspectives into courses.
The success of MELD depends on faculty participation. "MELD exists because faculty members contributed materials and resources used to introduce multicultural perspectives into their classrooms," according to Steve Watkins, project leader. Any Penn State faculty member can contribute materials simply by completing the simple registration form. Registration is not required to search or browse the MELD materials.
In April 2004, a group of Penn State faculty were asked to review the MELD Web site and provide feedback to the project developers. The Web site received high marks from the faculty who tested it and several of their ideas for improving the site have already been incorporated. Joe Marchesani, assistant professor of integrative arts and chair of the Commonwealth College's Committee on Teaching and Outreach, believes the MELD Web site "is exactly the kind of resource that we need, especially for the Commonwealth College, where communication over the net is necessary and cost-effective." Most of the faculty considered the site to be easy-to-use and rated the search engine as one of its best features. Watkins encourages faculty to send their ideas and suggestions for additions or improvements to the Web site to the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watkins will provide a demonstration and overview of the project to any faculty group or department. If your department would like to schedule a personal demonstration of MELD, please contact Watkins at email@example.com.
The goal of MELD is to help faculty integrate new multicultural and international perspectives into Penn State courses. This endeavor augments the University's drive for diversity awareness, particularly among new undergraduate students, and helps meet a Faculty Senate mandate for a greater focus on international and multicultural understanding at Penn State.
MELD is managed by Education Technology Services (ETS), part of Teaching and Learning with Technology, a unit of Information Technology Services.