The Teagle Foundation has awarded Hampshire College a $100,000 "Big Questions" grant to lead a six-college collaborative project exploring the role of undergraduate liberal arts education in preparing students for careers.
Other colleges participating in the three-year study, titled "The Liberal Arts as Preparation for a Life of Work," are Smith, Berea, Cornell, Warren Wilson and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
All six institutions involved in this study offer programs that are models of direct and persuasive connections between a liberal arts education and the world of work.
Hampshire has a well-regarded program in entrepreneurship, including an academic approach that calls for students to be "entrepreneurs of their own education" by pulling together faculty committees to oversee their work and developing their own unique course of study. Hampshire fosters skills and habits of lifelong learning that help students develop their own work lives, a crucial skill in an era when the nature of employment is changing rapidly and unpredictably.
The grant is one of 14 announced this week by the Teagle Foundation totaling over $2.5 million to fund collaborative projects involving over 50 colleges, universities and educational institutions nationwide. The funding will extend the foundation's Outcomes and Assessment initiative, which explores the potential of faculty-led value-added assessment, and its Fresh Thinking initiative, which supports Working Groups intended to bring new ideas to the liberal arts.
Hampshire is also the lead institution in a separate collaborative project that is being funded through the Teagle Foundation's Outcomes and Assessments initiative. That project includes eight colleges exploring Teaching and Learning in the Liberal Arts and is now in the second of three years.
Hampshire's Dean of Academic Development Steven Weisler is program director for both projects.
"Our goal at the Teagle Foundation is to ensure that students obtaining a liberal arts education experience the most intellectually stimulating curricula possible," said W. Robert Connor, president of the Teagle Foundation. "Our Outcomes and Assessment initiative will generate knowledge about how students learn, and so help faculty become better teachers. In addition, this round of Fresh Thinking grants seeks to explore how the liberal arts can help students examine and deal with ?Big Questions' of meaning and value."