Springfield College Receives Davis Educational Foundation Grant for Curriculum Development and Assessment
June 14, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., -- The Davis Educational Foundation has awarded Springfield College a $225,000 grant for a curriculum development and assessment initiative to enhance student learning outcomes.
Through the three-year project, faculty members who teach specialized courses within majors will create embedded learning activities that will help students further develop general education skills in critical thinking and oral communication. The assessment component of the project will determine how effective the curriculum development program has been in enhancing student learning in the two learning outcome areas. Critical thinking and oral communication are central to the Springfield College Humanics-based mission to “educate students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to humanity.”
“We are thrilled to receive this support for this faculty development initiative,” said Jean Wyld, vice president for academic affairs. “This program will provide our students with unique intellectual challenges within the courses in their program of study. We believe it could provide other institutions with a useful model for enhancing student learning outcomes across a range of programs.”
Faculty will use the nationally developed American Association of Colleges & Universities Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) rubrics for both curriculum development and project assessment. The VALUE Rubrics were published in 2010 to provide assessment tools that allow for better measures of actual student learning in areas where standardized tests were either unavailable or unable to provide reliable measures of learning outcomes. While institutions of higher education have begun to use these Rubrics for student learning outcomes assessment, they have not yet been used as tools for curriculum development.
In announcing the grant, Springfield College President Richard B. Flynn said, “The generous support of the Davis Educational Foundation for this initiative will be of great help to Springfield College as we work to continually strengthen our efforts to provide exceptional learning experiences for our students.”
Over the three-year project period, the grant will fund a project director and three summer institutes, together with other program activities during each academic year, that will involve approximately 40 faculty members from eight to 10 departments. The faculty will work in program teams to develop new learning experiences for critical thinking and oral communication. An additional 10 faculty members will participate in the project’s assessment process. With approximately 50 faculty members participating in the initiative, Springfield College will develop a strong cohort of faculty armed with data-driven evidence of success who can foster further curriculum development and assessment efforts as the college strengthens learning outcomes across programs for its students.
The grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.