The Colonial Academic Alliance’s IN/CO Grant program awarded $156,500 in the first round of IN/CO Grants. Click the graphic or link below to learn more about the four projects and the progress each team has made to date:
The Colonial Academic Alliance is awarding four grants totaling $156,500 to kick off its new Innovate/Collaborate (IN/CO) program.
Elon, N.C. (Updated April 24, 2018) – The Colonial Academic Alliance is awarding four grants totaling $156,500 to kick off its new Innovate/Collaborate (IN/CO) Grant Program.
The grants were given to four multi-institutional teams from the 10-member Alliance to pursue collaborative initiatives. Funded projects include:
- Tracking Experiential Learning Outcomes Across Three CAA Campuses | $40,000
Drexel University, College of Charleston, University of North Carolina Wilmington
- Innovative Strategies for High Impact Practices: Access, Success, and the CAA Student-Athlete | $42,500
Elon University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, College of Charleston, University of Delaware, Drexel University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, Towson University, College of William & Mary
- Learning to Learn: A Student Operator’s Manual for the Brain | $34,000
Elon University, Hofstra University
- Engaging Difference:
A Deep Dive into the Assessment of Transformative Learning | $40,000
James Madison University, Elon University
The grants are the first to be awarded under the Alliance’s new IN/CO Grant Program. The IN/CO Program was launched in 2017, providing grants of $5,000—$20,000 per year (for two years) for initiatives that address pressing policy challenges in higher education; fuel collaboration between institutions; enhance institutional excellence; and promote innovation in intellectual inquiry.
“The IN/CO Grant Program affords our member institutions a unique opportunity to work together with other universities and develop creative initiatives to address shared challenges,” said Lindsey Interlante, Executive Director of the Colonial Academic Alliance. “Given the diversity and geographic range of our members, we believe that IN/CO Grant awardees will positively impact their institutions, advance scholarship on teaching and learning, and bring a fresh perspective to some of the shared challenges we face in higher education.”
IN/CO Grants were created to fund teams of faculty and staff from two or more Alliance member institutions. Awards were selected by the Alliance’s Provosts’ Council, its governing board. Any future opportunities for funding will be publicized on the Alliance’s website, www.caa-academics.org.
The Colonial Academic Alliance facilitates collaboration and communication across its 10 member institutions. Its purpose is to engage faculty, staff, and students in meaningful initiatives that challenge the status quo, enrich the academic environment, and advance student success. Alliance members include the College of Charleston, University of Delaware, Drexel University, Elon University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University, and the College of William & Mary.
To kick off the Innovate/Collaborate (IN/CO) Grant Program, a $40,000 grant was awarded to a team of faculty and staff from Drexel University, the College of Charleston,University of North Carolina Wilmington and the College of Charleston in Summer 2017. This grant project, titled “Tracking Experiential Learning Outcomes Across Three CAA Campuses,” was awarded to support development of a validated instrument and database to enable careful assessment of experiential learning across multiple types of experiences and campuses.
Among the challenges of measuring the educational impact of experiential learning is that a diverse array of experiences–from course-based projects to study abroad to internships, to name but a few–can all be considered as experiential/applied learning . Typical approaches to assessing experiential learning include assessments of students’ perceptions of the value of the experience. This project team seeks to develop a richer understanding of the specific learning and student development that takes place in experiential learning opportunities, as well as the impact on student learning in subsequent coursework, academic programs, and further applied learning settings.
Updates & Progress
Drexel University hosted the first post-award grant team meeting in November 2017. During this session, the project team discussed existing experiential learning assessment tools and practices on each campus, the infrastructure required (e.g., offices involved, systems used to collect data, availability of existing data), the instrument development process, and grant sustainability. University of North Carolina Wilmington convened the project team for a second in-person meeting in February 2018, focusing on the identification of common student learning outcomes and the logistics of piloting the instrument across all three campuses. College of Charleston hosted a third in-person meeting of the IN/CO grant team in April 2018 to review the draft instrument; examine platforms, delivery, and timeline; and follow up on mining current data. Opportunities for future funding and project sustainability were also discussed.
Over the next academic year, the draft instrument will be piloted with a diverse range of students who have participated in experiential learning opportunities. Focus groups will be conducted with participating students to gauge both student perceptions and the efficacy of the instrument in capturing data. The project team will also present on this grant at the fifth annual Drexel Assessment Conference (September 12-14, 2018).
Meet the Experiential Learning IN/CO Grant Team
- Robert Hicks | Social Research Assistant for ETEAL | University of North Carolina Wilmington
- Lea Bullard | Assistant Director of General Education Assessment, College of Arts & Science | University of North Carolina Wilmington
- Karin Roof | Director of Academic Assessment and Strategic Planning | College of Charleston
Interested in what Alliance institutions are saying about these grants? Check out the following:
High impact practices (HIPs), such as study abroad, internships, learning communities, and undergraduate research, have repeatedly been shown to positively affect academic performance, yet not all students have equal access. Given the high time demands and resource constraints, many student-athletes are particularly limited in their ability to participate in HIPs. To fuel the success and academic experiences of CAA student-athletes, the Alliance awarded a $42,500 IN/CO Grant focused on “Innovative Strategies for High Impact Practices: Access, Success, and the CAA Student-Athlete.” This grant involves nine of the ten CAA member institutions.
The long-term goal of this work is to develop transferable solutions, at both the institutional and conference level, to allow for greater student-athlete participation in HIPs. The short-term goals for this project are first to assess and understand student-athlete opportunities for HIPs at CAA institutions and subsequently to develop best practices, improving access and success of student-athletes around HIPs.
Timeline & Objectives
In spring 2018, the project team surveyed each CAA institution to create a snapshot of HIP offerings and student athlete participation in HIPs. In summer/fall 2018, academic affairs leaders, athletic academic advisors, and department chairs will receive a second survey on institutional priorities, definitions of HIPs, and operationalization of HIPs on each campus to inform the project’s future direction. In addition, a document analysis exploring the marketing of HIPs on CAA institution websites was initiated.
The project team will present accepted abstracts for presentation to the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (October 24-26 – Bergen, Norway) and the 5th annual Drexel Assessment Conference (September 12-14, 2018).
Meet the HIPs/Student-Athlete IN/CO Grant Team
Interested in what Alliance institutions are saying about these grants? Check out the following:
Many institutions employ a variety of faculty-based support systems addressing pedagogy, student learning, and learning environments. Faculty at Elon University and Hofstra University are partnering to take this one step further through a $34,000 IN/CO Grant, “Learning to Learn: A Student Operator’s Manual for the Brain.”
The “Learning to Learn” project was initiated in 2016 at Elon University, led by Amy Overman, associate professor in the Psychology Department & Neuroscience Program and associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning, and J. Todd Lee, professor in the Mathematics & Statistics Department and Faculty Fellow for Technology with Teaching and Learning with Technologies.
The focus is on equipping students with an evidence-based toolkit of how their own brains function and learn in various hi-tech learning environments. “Our ultimate long-term goal is that every student is equipped in their first semester in college with a toolkit to support them as successful, lifelong learners,” Overman said. “We are striving to transform all students into learners who think deeply about their educational experiences and know how their brain operates so that they can maximize their learning and use the rich resources provided by their college or university in a more strategic way.”
Put simply, this initiative seeks to help students develop strategies about how to be successful learners.
To strategically advance this project through IN/CO Grant funding, Lee and Overman will partner with Elisabeth Ploran, Assistant Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience, Amy Masnick, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Kristin Weingartner, Associate Dean for First-Year Programs & Associate Professor of Psychology at Hofstra University.
“Faculty and staff at our member institutions are generating innovative and powerful ideas to creatively address the challenges we face in higher education, and this grant program supports them as they break new ground,” Said Elon Provost Steven House. “As chair of the Provosts’ Council of the CAA and Elon’s provost, it’s exciting to see Elon faculty taking the lead on an important initiative to better understand how students across higher education are learning. This project and others supported by the IN/CO Grant Program fit right in with the CAA mission of challenging the status quo, enriching the academic environment, and advancing student success.”
The first phase of Learning to Learn is the development by Lee and Overman of a course that will engage first-year students in the neurocognitive science of how our brains learn, particularly in technologically-enhanced environments like Elon, and teach them how to employ evidence-based practices to enhance their own learning. The course will be co-taught by Overman and Lee, who will partner with faculty at Hofstra University to implement a similar initiative on Hofstra’s campus with the support of the grant funding.
The grant also supports a second phase that includes the development of modules on how learning works that faculty and academic support staff at all Colonial Academic Alliance institutions can adapt for their own courses and that students can use to enhance their own learning.
This initiative will be launched at Elon in Fall 2018 as Learning to Learn: The Brain in Today’s World (L2L), a credit-bearing course for first-year students that will engage them in the cognitive neuroscience of learning, with specific attention on the technologically-enhanced environments of CAA institutions.
The project team is currently planning the pilot implementation at Hofstra University, which will be deployed as Learning to Learn: Applying Psychology Principles to the Classroom, a credit-bearing course available in Spring 2019.