POULTNEY — Green Mountain College has been selected to receive a five-year, $2 million grant that the school expects will improve its ability to teach students of different educational backgrounds while helping to guide those students to success.
GMC is one of only four institutions of higher learning in New England and one of only 33 nationally to receive the grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The grant will support the “Strategies for Student Success,” which was designed by GMC dean of faculty Tom Mauhs-Pugh, who will serve as project director.
“The model for this program is something that I put together,” Mauhs-Pugh said. “I’ve been working on this for a number of years. This particular model, I’ve been working on for about four years.”
The focus of the student success plan is harnessing the power of online learning and coupling it with the time-proven success of face-to-face instruction.
One problem professors face is meeting the needs of advanced students while not losing students whose educational background has not prepared them as well for the college classroom.
“Right now there is a lot of learning tools available online and there’s also the established power of face-to-face instruction and learning,” Mauhs-Pugh said. “We’re working to combine the two. Through carefully designed course management modules you can bring all this stuff to bear in the same class.”
A second part of the strategy will relate to advising and building student capacity to succeed, not just in guiding a student over the course of a college career, but in more immediate tasks related to student success.
The school will receive $399,950 per year for five years, which will be used to buy hardware and software as well as staff four new, full-time positions.
The grant will allow GMC to fund a director for the Center for Educational Excellence, as well as a director for a Center for Academic Achievement. There will also be an instructional designer and an instructional technologist.
“We’re building faculty capacity to integrate these new approaches in the classroom,” Mauhs-Pugh said.
The government shutdown has delayed the delivery of the funds, but Mauhs-Pugh said the planning and setup have begun.
Mauhs-Pugh said the funding will allow Green Mountain College to remain a step ahead of other institutions of its size.
“It’s going to allow us to do things that not many schools will be able to do,” Mauhs-Pugh said. “We’ll be able to offer a quality of education that is hard to match.”
GMC President Paul Fonteyn, in a press release, echoed those comments.
“This grant provides the college with an unprecedented opportunity to substantially enhance the educational experience and success of students attending Green Mountain College,” Fonteyn said. “It’s an exciting time to be at GMC, to have the ability to create a model program for how all students can flourish.”
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