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$250,000 Davis Educational Foundation Grant

Hampshire College and a group of partnering institutions have been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation. The grant will support an assessment of student learning using the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, which provides an analysis of teaching practices, programs, and institutional structures that can best support liberal arts education.

A dozen New England schools are in the consortium—Hampshire, Babson, Simon’s Rock, Bennington, Lasell, Marlboro, Rhode Island, and Worcester State Colleges, Brandeis University, University of Rhode Island, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Rhode Island Community College—along with the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College, located in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

All of the involved institutions participate in the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, which is directed by faculty and designed to measure student experiences and outcomes.

The Davis Grant is for a project titled “The Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education and the Improvement of Teaching and Learning.” Dr. Steven Weisler, dean of academic development at Hampshire College, is the grant administrator.

“The Wabash National Study is one of the only national approaches to assessment that connects student characteristics, campus experiences, and learning outcomes to better understand the practices that promote student learning,” said Dr. Weisler, “and we welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with a consortium of institutions to strengthen teaching and learning in New England.”

In addition to supporting costs of participation in the 2008-09 Wabash Study, the grant will facilitate collaborative work among the participating institutions on how to improve teaching and learning based on the study data.

The Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts will lead a series of workshops and visit the participating campuses. “Change teams” from each campus will work together and individually at their home campuses to disseminate information and implement improvements.

The Davis Educational Foundation was established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.

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