Teagle Foundation grant expands first-year seminars for incoming students



Gettysburg College-Washington & Lee University-Union College collaboration gains funds for implementation.

Gettysburg College’s intensive program for first-year students, including residence hall-based seminars and close collaboration with faculty, will be enhanced by a grant from the Teagle Foundation.

The program integrates academic courses with the residence hall experience and students find that class discussion carry over into the informal environment of the residence hall. Sophomore Emily Cranfill ’15 recalls that the seminar, “allowed me to get to know my classmates on a different level. I saw their studious side and also saw them have fun. When you get a group of students together, thinking critically, sharing life, and learning in a very different way, you end up with something new and dynamic.”

Her seminar Voice of the Rebel in America, led by Prof. Dusty Smith, helped Cranfill decide to add a writing minor to her history major and to become more involved on campus. “I was part of the inaugural planning committee for TEDxGettysburgCollege and am preparing to be the Peer Learning Associate for the seminar this year,” said the Indiana native. “This course was invaluable to me.”

The grant from the Teagle Foundation will provide for additional seminars and more opportunities such as invited speakers, films, field trips, and service learning, thereby increasing the number of faculty, staff, and upper class students who become resources for the first-years.

“The FYS-FYE initiative is changing the way our first-year students engage in academics and co-curricular life on our campus. Teagle’s investment here benefits students and faculty alike,” said Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77, who expressed gratitude to the foundation.

Gettysburg will receive $80,000 from the $230,000 implementation grant, which is shared with Washington and Lee University in Virginia and Union College in New York. The implementation grant builds on last year’s “Engaging Evidence” planning and collaboration grant from Teagle, which focused on identifying priorities for improved learning outcomes. Each school focused on a different program and shared best practices, advising and assessment tools, and data.

Emphasis on intellectual life is a priority among the College’s academic leaders, as is strengthening academic advising. “We have been pleased with FYS/FYE as a pilot program,” said Provost Christopher Zappe. “We see great promise in its impact on advising and on the academic and social environment. Our students report a clearer understanding of the goals of the curriculum and academic requirements and our faculty report that students in their FYS/FYE courses were more likely to visit their offices throughout the year for advice as well as informal conversations.”

The Teagle Foundation provides leadership for liberal education, mobilizing the intellectual and financial resources that are necessary if today's students are to have access to a challenging and transformative liberal education. The Foundation's commitment to such education includes its grant making to institutions of higher education across the country, its long-established scholarship program for the children of employees of ExxonMobil, and its work helping economically disadvantaged young people in New York City—where the Foundation is based—gain admission to college and succeed once there.

Contact:  Sue Baldwin-Way, director of development communications, 717/337-6823

Posted: Fri, 17 Aug 2012

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