SHU Receives Davis Grant to Enhance First-Year Seminar

News Story: January 3, 2013

Sacred Heart University has received a prestigious Davis Educational Grant in the amount of $147,000 for the development of faculty teaching the First-Year Seminar. 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 Supermarket, Inc. The Davis Educational Foundation supports undergraduate programs of public and private colleges and universities throughout the six New England states.

Created in 2011 by Seamus Carey, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the First-Year Seminar Program is taught by full-time professors and incorporates the intensive academic writing and public speaking requirements that Sacred Heart formerly required freshmen to master via EN 110 and 111. The purpose of the grant is to create faculty workshops to help them amplify the content of their courses and strengthen their skills to maximize achievement of the desired outcomes of the First-Year Seminar.

The grant spans two years. Preparation for the workshops will begin with an in-depth analysis of this fall’s First-Year Seminar learning outcomes data. Once it is assessed, the workshops will be developed. The first set of workshops will begin in June, and another set will take place in 2013-2014. According to the grant proposal, authored by Gerald Reid, associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, workshop leaders will focus on response and evaluation strategies for written and oral communication.

Reid says the main goals of the workshops are two-fold – to fully engage the faculty in the focus of the First-Year Experience and to improve student proficiency in written and oral communication. “The faculty members are excited about the workshops, and it will greatly help with their assessment efforts,” Reid said. “The grant allows us to go to the next level in terms of the development of appropriate assignments and responses and assessment strategies. Not only will it strengthen our faculty, but it will provide our students with stronger foundations they will carry with them during their time at Sacred Heart and in their chosen career. The First-Year Seminar program helps them become active and engaged learners and increases their ability for oral and written communication.”