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Davis Educational Foundation grants RIC $187,826 for a faculty development initiative

Rhode Island College recently acquired a grant for $187,826 to establish a Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning on campus. 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.

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning will open in
the Spring of 2010 in Adams Library.
“Our Trustees were impressed with the enthusiasm and support shown by faculty and their thoughtful review of other centers,” said Peter K. Davis, chair of trustees for the Davis Educational Foundation.

The foundation will be sending annual imbursements to the college over the next three years.

"The Davis Foundation's representatives visited campus and were impressed with the energy of our faculty and with their enthusiasm for teaching,” RIC President Nancy Carriuolo said. “The multiple-year grant represents the foundation's vote of confidence in our faculty and in the college as a whole.”

According to the grant proposal, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning will act as a support network for the professional and personal growth among faculty members, promote communication and collaboration among disciplines, create an ongoing discussion of pedagogical practices in and out of the classroom, respond to new ideas and trends in teaching and learning, and have a broad impact beyond the campus.

Joseph Zornado, chair of the Mission and Goals Committee for RIC’s 2010 Strategic Plan, visited existing centers and gathering information to help propel the initiative.

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning will provide college faculty with a forum for professional development as teachers and invite them to take the same scholarly approach to teaching and learning as they do in their other scholarly work, Zornado said.

The center will also operate as a “hub” for faculty enrichment programs already in existence, such as the January Workshop and Promising Practices. Both programs exist to encourage communication among faculty members and promote best teaching practices.

The grant money is intended to provide the seed fund to build a strong community of teachers and learners that will become an essential component of the college’s academic life.

Plans for the center are currently in progress. It is scheduled to open in the spring of 2010 and will be located in Adams Library.