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Holy Cross receives important state and national grants, both focused on teaching effectiveness

Exceptional teaching is a hallmark of the Holy Cross experience, and the College is the recipient of two new grants aimed at supporting teaching in two different ways.

An $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable the College to recruit recent Ph.Ds to Holy Cross, and help young scholars appreciate the relative advantages of embarking on a career of teaching undergraduates at a liberal arts college rather than at a large research university.

In addition, the College received a $150,000 grant from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to enhance its 20-year tradition of partnering with math and science teachers in the Worcester Public Schools.

Through the Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellows Program at Holy Cross, six teacher-scholars will be hired over a four-year period beginning in August 2008. The new positions will be filled by nationally recruited scholars who can demonstrate that they will bring to the College a strong theoretical grounding in pedagogy and some prior teaching experience as part of their graduate studies.

The first Mellon fellows will arrive at Holy Cross at an exciting time, according to Timothy Austin, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. Montserrat (www.holycross.edu/montserrat/), the College’s unique new program for all first-year students, begins this fall. The College will work to find many ways for the new young faculty members to participate fully in the rich academic and co-curricular life at Holy Cross. For example, a Mellon fellow in the theatre department will be considered as a possible director of one of the College’s 2009-10 main stage theatrical productions, in addition to teaching classes in acting, directing and dramatic literature.

Mellon fellows will be mentored individually by senior Holy Cross faculty members in their departments, and will be supported with travel and research funds to permit them to develop scholarly projects and present the results at professional conferences.

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The College has long had a relationship with the Worcester Public Schools, and the new funding from the state Board of Higher Education (the College’s second three-year grant) will enable Holy Cross professors to design professional development workshops with math and science teachers in the city’s middle and elementary schools.

Twenty WPS teachers will come to the Holy Cross campus over the next three summers for workshops aimed at designing project-based science activities in which mathematical concepts play a major role. This summer’s workshops will be taught by David Damiano, Holy Cross associate professor of mathematics, who specializes in probability and statistics; and Mary Lee Ledbetter, professor and chair of the biology department, whose work focuses on cell biology and genetics.

Faculty will be assisted in these workshops by Holy Cross students serving as teaching assistants; these same faculty and students will then provide follow-up coaching with teachers in their classrooms on the activities developed during the workshop. The workshops will be coordinated by Danuta Bukatko, who holds the Joseph H. Maguire ’58 Professorship in Education and serves as chair of the College’s education department.

 


 


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