A three-year, $243,523 grant has been awarded to Plymouth State by the Davis Educational Foundation to help support implementation of a new program aimed at enhancing the success of first year students.
Project LAUNCH (Learning, Action and the Undergraduate Challenge) is designed to engage both first-year undecided students and the faculty who teach them in a process to increase student engagement in learning and to implement these strategies within the first-year curriculum.
“The underlying assumption is that by getting students interested in learning and empowering them to act on their own behalf, they will make earlier and better decisions about choice of major and experience improved academic success,” says Vice President for Academic Affairs Virginia Barry.
Monies from the grant, combined with institutional resources, will fund staff and programs for a Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning to help develop meaningful teaching strategies that will enable faculty and students to become active participants in the learning environment. Barry says, “Faculty are interested in learning new teaching strategies that enhance student learning, based on real-world data provided by students.
Engaging students in their learning involves a partnership between faculty and students.”
The resulting model will promote values and skills recognized as requisites of education— critical thinking, interest in research, effective use of information technology, reading, writing, speaking and listening, quantitative reasoning and the ability to collaborate with others.
The Davis Educational Foundation was established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Stanton’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc., to provide resources to New England colleges. According to Barry, the foundation was particularly interested in Plymouth State’s model because it utilizes data provided by students who complete the National Survey of Student Engagement.