|Teagle Grant Will Boost Learning Strategies at Davidson and Agnes Scott
May 24, 2011
Contact: Bill Giduz
Davidson College will share a $200,000, two-year grant with Agnes Scott College from The Teagle Foundation to develop strategies for improved student learning. Davidson will focus on helping first-generation college students, while Agnes Scott seeks to support students in overcoming hurdles encountered in pursuing degrees in math and science.
About 40 of the 500 students in Davidson's latest entering class were first-generation students.
"Without a family history of college attendance, these students may have difficulty navigating the college experience during their first year," said Verna Case, associate dean of teaching, learning and research at Davidson. "The Teagle grant will enable us to assess their needs early on and provide assistance to help them achieve academically."
James Diedrick, associate dean of the college at Agnes Scott, said the goal there is to improve the persistence and success of students interested in majoring in math and science. He noted, "Students often fall away from math and science in their second and third years, and the grant provides interventions that will give them an ‘academic vitamin' for their course work."
Davidson will provide support primarily through its new Center for Teaching and Learning, which will open in the E.H. Little Library in the fall semester. The center offers personnel and technological resources to help students with writing, oral communication, digital literacy, and finding source material. "We'll give special encouragement for first-generation students to use the center," said Case.
The grant will allow Davidson to hire and train peer mentors for the learning side of the Center for Teaching and Learning. It will also provide workshop opportunities to inform academic advisers about strategies that will help first-generation students make the transition from high school to college successful, and it will fund a joint meeting with Agnes Scott representatives each year to talk about progress toward the program goals.
At Agnes Scott, the grant will support faculty members in their development of curriculum to improve learning in gateway courses for students expressing interest in a career in math and science.
Possible strategies include an extra hour per week with a tutor, study groups and note-taking instruction. Jim Wiseman, an associate professor of mathematics at Agnes Scott, said he plans to use the Teagle funds to design individual online tutorials for students in calculus courses and .group workshops led by learning assistants
The Teagle Foundation provides leadership for liberal education, mobilizing the intellectual and financial resources that are necessary if today's students are to have access to a challenging and transformative liberal education. The foundation's commitment to such education includes its grantmaking to institutions of higher education across the country, its long-established scholarship program for the children of employees of ExxonMobil, and its work helping economically disadvantaged young people in New York City (where the foundation is based) gain admission to college and succeed once there.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.