The summer brought news of two recent grant approvals for initiatives at Tusculum College proposed by faculty members.
One grant relates to classroom and departmental assessment, the other to “quantitative literacy.”
Associate Professor and Chair of Biology Dr. Ian VanLare was notified that a proposal for a grant to support “Integration and Coordination of Classroom and Departmental Assessment Efforts” was approved by the Appalachian College Association (ACA) in the amount of $2,950.
The funding for the assessment-related grant comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the ACA, of which Tusculum College is a member institution.
“The purpose of this proposal is to allow us (departmental chairs of math, chemistry, and biology at Tusculum College) to bring in a consultant to work with the departments on integration of assessment at both the classroom level and the departmental level,” the grant proposal stated.
“Each year, we do much student testing and collect lots of data, and then wonder what to do with it,” the proposal went on. “We (the applicants) feel that if classroom assessment mechanisms were used to drive the construction of the departmental assessment documents, these documents could become a real aid when deciding curricular changes.”
The plan is for the chairs of the three departments to work under guidance from the consultant to “come up with and implement an assessment program for the three departments that will start with classroom assessment and extend up to departmental Intended Student Outcome (ISO) assessment (and possibly through institutional level assessment) to make informed and meaningful curricular modifications to aid our students in learning.”
Joining VanLare in making the application were Assistant Professor and Chair of Chemistry and Environmental Science Robin Tipton, and Professor and Chair of Mathematics and Physics Dr. John Paulling.
A quantitative literacy project at Tusculum College was chosen for $3,750 in funding, Tusculum College Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Physics and Geology Dr. Katherine Stone was informed late in July.
Announcement of the grant came on July 29 from Christopher Qualls, Dean of Faculty at Emory and Henry College, a college that has chosen Quantitative Literacy as its Quality Enhancement Plan focus area. Quality Enhancement Plans are required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) of the colleges and universities they accredit. In the July 29 announcement, Qualls wrote to Stone: ”This email is to inform you that your team’s proposed quantitative literacy project has been chosen for funding in the amount of $3,750. I know that Dr. (Paul B.) Chewning, President of ACA, joins me in congratulating each member of your team. In the coming weeks, you will receive official notification of this award from the ACA and additional information about how to receive these funds.”
According to a press release on its collegiate web site, Emory & Henry itself was the recipient last fall of “a large grant” that supports that college’s efforts to incorporate quantitative literacy across its curriculum. Emory & Henry collaborated with other colleges and with the ACA in the writing of the funding proposal. Quantitative literacy has been defined as the ability to formulate, evaluate, and communicate conclusions and inferences from quantitative information and to use these skills in academic, professional, and personal contexts.
Details of exactly how the grant funds will be applied will be announced later.
Dr. Stone, who attended a conference Qualls also took part in, said the project at Tusculum College will coordinate well with Tusculum’s continuing interest in enhancing its math programs.