posted June 11, 2008

Grant Focuses on Enhancing Student Learning

A grant to Hope College from the Teagle Foundation will enhance the college's ongoing effort to measure and improve student learning.

The award is through a program that the foundation has established to assist colleges in developing exemplary programs of systematic improvement.  The four-year, $148,560 grant will support activities running from July 1 of this year through the end of June in 2012.

The grant to Hope will help the college to build students' writing skills and their curiosity and openness to new ideas.  The college will be developing new evaluations to measure students' progress in both areas and providing a variety of development opportunities for faculty, such as guest lectures and workshops, as they seek to improve their teaching effectiveness.

Through the grant, Hope will draw on the insights and data that the college has gained from its participation in two national, multi-school consortia that have been exploring student learning via previous Teagle support.  Since 2005 Hope has been part of an eight-institution consortium that has focused on how to help liberal arts colleges better determine how their approaches to teaching are affecting students, with emphasis on writing and critical thinking in particular.  Since 2006 Hope has also been participating in "The Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education," which has involved 18 colleges and universities in  measuring students' experiences on outcomes including leadership, reasoning and problem-solving, well-being, moral character, integration of learning, intercultural effectiveness and lifelong learning.

Hope's participation in the project is being coordinated by Dr. Caroline Simon, who is the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Professor of Philosophy and director of general education and interdisciplinary studies at Hope.

Based in New York City, the Teagle Foundation was established in 1944 by Walter C. Teagle, who was longtime president and later chairman of the board of Standard Oil Company, now Exxon Mobil Corporation.  The foundation is strongly committed to supporting the liberal arts and liberal arts education, with particular emphasis on seeing that students experience a challenging, wide-ranging and enriching college education.