We will reallocate new and existing support structures (e.g., grants, professional development, term appointments, conference travel, and academic leaves) so that faculty members are encouraged to develop innovative courses or experiential learning course components. Academic Affairs will co-host workshops in The Collaborative for Learning and Teaching for faculty interested in integrating experiential learning pedagogies in their courses. As engaged and experiential learning becomes an increasingly visible element of our campus culture, faculty will be rewarded for their efforts in the context of the promotion and tenure process and the annual performance review process.
Nineteen Trinity University research groups were awarded undergraduate research fellowships by the Mellon Initiative Steering Committee in early March of 2019. This five-year, $800,000 grant will help build collaborative research opportunities for students and faculty in the arts and humanities.
Areas of research vary, including the transformative power of video games, history of Muslim leadership, education in the U.S. and Canada, a camp to make philosophy more accessible to children, the history of Hong Kong Chinese transethnic food, Greek and Roman influence in video and board games, dramaturgical and production work for the Neil Simon play Brighton Beach Memoirs, and much more.
The goals of the Mellon Initiative are to be accomplished by integrating high-impact research experiences in lower-division courses, creating and teaching arts and humanities labs during the academic year, encouraging faculty to develop regional projects that involve undergraduate researchers, and increasing the number of summer research opportunities for Trinity students. Each of these initiatives create concrete ways that the Mellon Initiative is actively working to develop an inclusive and diverse program that reaches every Trinity student.
The summer research period culminated in the symposium on A Public History of Experiential Learning on July 30 and 31, 2019.
Trinity University’s Arts, Letters, and Enterprise (ALE) Faculty Fellowship accepted its inaugural class of five faculty members in January. The five faculty—Cabral Balreira, mathematics; Kelly Grey Carlisle, English; Jane Childers, psychology; Ruben Dupertuis, religion; and Rita Kosnik, business—will receive three years of training in nonprofit management and will serve on the board of directors for a local organization with the goal of expanding Trinity’s network for internships.
“The program is an expression of the entrepreneurial spirit of the University,” says Carl Leafstedt, co-chair of the ALE program, which started in 2012. “We’re creating a class of faculty who are learning what’s out there and have relationships in place to benefit the students.”
The ALE Fellowship, Balreira says, will educate him on how to create internships for students to learn skills he can’t teach. Carlisle says that her time on a board will “expand [her] ideas of what English majors can do,” while Childers recognizes that, even though she hires students to conduct lab studies, internships expose students to situations beyond academics.
Dupertuis also stresses the importance of experiential learning. He joined the board of directors at the Source of Light (SoL) Center at University Presbyterian Church and has already helped a student earn an internship with the center’s continuing education program.
In addition to creating new internships, Kosnik will use the nonprofit management training to nurture the nonprofit she established to help young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
These five ALE Fellows will work to further the objectives of the Trinity Tomorrow strategic plan, which calls for the provision of faculty support and development to increase engaged and experiential learning in San Antonio and beyond.