Green Mountain College Receives $248,000
Grant for Curriculum Assessment
Contact: Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications
POULTNEY, VT (July 2, 2008) – Green Mountain College has received a $248,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to fund a project that will assess sustainability skills and knowledge students acquire in the College’s award-winning Environmental Liberal Arts Program (ELA).
All Green Mountain students complete the 37-credit ELA general education program and all faculty members teach in it. Over the past twelve years, the environmentally-themed curriculum has changed incrementally in response to standard survey assessment results and the faculty’s evolving understanding of sustainability.
“We have reached a point where a ‘quantum leap’ in program improvement requires a focus on measuring what students are actually learning about sustainability,” said GMC Provost Bill Throop, who is also a member of the board of directors for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). “The Davis Educational Foundation recognized that our next steps will require investment in new technology and faculty development.”
The funding will be used over a three-year period to introduce new “ePortfolio” software which will be used to track students’ progress on learning outcomes, to help students across the entire ELA curriculum identify strengths and weaknesses, and guide their choice of future coursework. The ePortfolio system will also give faculty members efficient tools to evaluate their own success in helping students learn.
Based on feedback gathered through the ePortfolio system, the College will enhance its annual cycle of faculty review and revision of course content as well as assessment instruments and procedures. GMC will also post results of the assessment on its website and disseminate its model for assessing sustainability skills.
“Many institutions of higher education focus their sustainability initiatives on bricks and mortar or specialized areas of study,” said outgoing Green Mountain College President Jack Brennan. “This is important, but insufficient if higher education is to help society address far-reaching environmental concerns. We’re eager to take the next step in making our general education program a national model for how to incorporate environmental understanding into an undergraduate liberal arts education.”
Already nationally recognized as an environmental liberal arts college, GMC was the 2007 winner of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Leadership Award for colleges with fewer than 1000 students, and was placed on Grist’s list of the top 15 green colleges and universities worldwide.
The Davis Educational Foundation supports undergraduate programs of accredited colleges and universities throughout the six New England states. Elisabeth K. Davis and Stanton W. Davis established the foundation after Mr. Davis’ retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc. The foundation is an expression of the couple’s shared support and value for higher education and has provided over $67.8 million in grants to over 120 institutions.