Mellon Grant to Support Innovative Faculty Development Program

Hollins University has received a $100,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to invest in a 30-month pilot project entitled “Faculty Development to Advance Liberal Arts Education in the 21st Century.”

The project will commence on January 1, 2016, and is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2018.

“This grant will enable Hollins to design a new faculty development program to address many of the challenges that our faculty face with current students, particularly in teaching critical thinking and writing,” Hollins President Nancy Gray explained. “The program will help Hollins faculty identify factors that interfere with student learning and critical thinking; develop new strategies to implement a ‘whole learner’ approach to education and strengthen students’ proficiency in critical writing; and use this knowledge to revise existing academic courses to better meet the needs of today’s students.”

Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Hammer will serve as the project’s principal investigator. She said that initial activities “will include identifying experts who will provide training for Hollins faculty during the 2016-17 academic year, and selecting 18 Mellon Fellows to participate in the new faculty development program during its inaugural year. With 18 Fellows to be selected each of two academic years, a total of at least 36 existing courses will be revised.”

Hammer is confident the project “will position Hollins to take a new approach to liberal arts education in the 21st century and demonstrate the enduring value of a liberal education.”

Gray added, “The proposed project will also provide a model for faculty development that can be replicated at other institutions.”

ABOUT THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION

Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.


Hollins Joins CIC Consortium to Enhance Teaching and Research

Hollins University is one of 42 member colleges and universities selected by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to comprise the Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research.

Hollins and other consortium members “will be able to increase their capacities to store, preserve, and catalog collections of digital images, documents, audio and visual files, and other types of materials while streamlining administrative capabilities,” explained CIC President Richard Ekman. “Consortium members will be able to improve teaching and learning and enhance faculty and student/faculty research – on their own campuses and/or more globally – by making lesser known or hidden collections searchable and accessible.”

Ekman added that the consortium will employ Shared Shelf, a cloud-based uniform digital platform that is already used by institutions such as Harvard University and Cornell University. Over the next four years, a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will subsidize use of Shared Shelf by consortium members as well as team participation in three workshops. This summer, consortium teams will meet with Shared Shelf implementation managers to familiarize themselves with the platform, digitize and catalog their collections and other materials, and come together to share their experiences and insights with other teams in small group webinars.

Hollins’ first project will be to digitize and curate thematic collections of images from a classics professor’s photographic archives. These include some rarely photographed objects such as the Hellenistic painted grave stelai and engraved details from the site of Demetrias-Pagasai.

Hollins, Hampden-Sydney College, Roanoke College, and Washington and Lee University are the consortium’s four participating institutions from Virginia.

 


Hollins Receives $50,000 Jessie Ball duPont Fund Grant to Support Energy Conservation Initiatives

bulbHollins University has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to establish a green revolving fund that furthers a campus culture of environmental sustainability.

Hollins is providing matching funds of $100,000, bringing the total value of the green revolving fund to $150,000.

“The grant and matching funds will enable Hollins to immediately implement several of the most urgent and cost-effective energy conservation projects identified by our energy manager,” explains Hollins President Nancy Gray. “The support of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund has already helped us meet our carbon reduction goals well ahead of schedule, and we are deeply grateful for their continued generosity.”

Hollins will appoint a five-member Green Revolving Fund Board to select and oversee a number of initiatives that will receive revolving loans beginning this fall. Potential energy conservation projects include installing energy-efficient lighting on the exterior of Dana Science Building and inside Moody Student Center and the Athletic Complex’s main gymnasium; performing a software upgrade to optimize the chillers and cooling towers in the university’s central chilled water plant, which provides cooling to much of the campus; purchasing an automated cover for the Aquatic Center swimming pool to significantly reduce energy and water consumption; and upgrading the Athletic Complex’s HVAC system to promote better temperature regulation and control, and improve indoor air quality.

A national foundation based in Jacksonville, Florida, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund has worked with small colleges and universities since 2009 to encourage and sustain efforts to reduce energy consumption and, in so doing, reduce costs. In 2011, the Fund presented a $200,000 grant to Hollins and Emory & Henry College to support a joint, three-year energy conservation project, a key component of which was the hiring of a shared energy manager to conduct a comprehensive assessment of energy consumption on each campus; identify strategies to further decrease energy use; develop and implement energy policies for each institution; and enhance educational activities to promote energy conservation by members of each campus community.


Hollins Continues Partnership with Local Nonprofit to Implement Energy Solutions

barbeeIn collaboration with Community Housing Partners (CHP), a regional, not-for-profit housing and community development organization, Hollins University is completing an energy efficiency retrofit of one of the historic structures on campus during the week of November 11.

The work follows a comprehensive energy audit conducted by CHP last January at Barbee House, which offers guest accommodations at Hollins. The audit identified exactly where and how the building loses energy and determined what measures can be taken to retrofit the building for more efficient energy use. The auditors evaluated heating and air conditioning systems, insulation and air leakage, windows and doors, water heating, lighting, and other appliances.

The construction will focus on addressing the substantial heat loss in Barbee that was confirmed by the audit. Workers will perform air sealing in the attic and basement/crawlspace areas, while insulation will be bolstered in the attic and sidewalls.

The retrofit project is supported by a green revolving fund that was established at Hollins in May. The university was awarded a $50,000 grant by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to further a campus culture of environmental sustainability and Hollins provided matching funds of $100,000, bringing the total value of the fund to $150,000. According to the Sustainable Endowments Institute, “Green revolving funds invest in energy efficiency projects to reduce energy consumption and reinvest the money saved in future projects.”

“The retrofit is part of a portfolio of approximately $65,000 worth of projects that we’ve identified to tackle in this first year,” said Hollins Energy Manager Jesse Freedman. “The Barbee project is estimated to save us about $4,500 a year, and will improve indoor air quality and make the space more comfortable for our guests.”

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is a national foundation based in Jacksonville, Florida, that works with small colleges and universities to encourage and sustain efforts to reduce energy consumption and, in so doing, reduce costs. In 2011, the fund presented a $200,000 grant to Hollins and Emory & Henry College to support a joint, three-year energy conservation project, a key component of which was the hiring of a shared energy manager to conduct a comprehensive assessment of energy consumption on each campus; identify strategies to further decrease energy use; develop and implement energy policies for each institution; and enhance educational activities to promote energy conservation by members of each campus community.


Hollins Joins Federal TEACH Grant Program

classroomBeginning with the 2014-15 academic year, Hollins University students who aspire to a teaching career will be eligible for up to $4,000 in grant funding each year.

Hollins is participating in the Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program, established in 2007 by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act to provide financial assistance to those interested in working as educators in schools with students from low-income households.

The TEACH Grant is non-need based and available to Hollins students who are enrolled full-time or part-time in the university’s Master of Arts in teaching (M.A.T.) program. In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant, M.A.T. students must agree to teach full-time in a high-need field such as mathematics, science, bilingual education, special education, foreign languages, or reading. They must spend at least four years at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves underprivileged students, and must do so within eight years of completing their program of study. If the service obligation is not met, TEACH Grant funds convert to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan that must be repaid.

“Hollins University already offers an institutional grant for those in our M.A.T. program during their student teaching semester worth the equivalent of 12 credit hours,” explained Mary Jean Sullivan, director of the office of scholarships and financial assistance at Hollins. “ By adding the Federal TEACH Grant program, Hollins can offer additional assistance to our future teachers.”

Students accepted into the M.A.T. program should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  and notify the office of scholarships and financial assistance of their interest in the award. Grant recipients must maintain a 3.25 grade point average as well as complete online entrance counseling and an Agreement to Serve form each year before grant funds are allocated.

For more information about the Federal TEACH Grant at Hollins, visit this webpage.