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Ohio University Foundation announces 1804 Fund awards

The Ohio University Foundation has awarded $208,198 from its 1804 Fund to 13 new research and educational initiatives. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the 1804 Fund, bringing awards granted to $14.8 million for more than 500 projects since its inception.

This year’s awarded projects range from a proposal for “Leadership OHIO,” a part recruitment and part retention initiative to recruit, develop and retain admitted students from underrepresented backgrounds, to a proposal to research approaches for general education reform.

“We are always trying to identify proposals that really create the opportunity for faculty and staff to try something new and innovative, or for projects that have already shown success. We want to give them the opportunity to become even more successful,” said University College Dean and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education David Descutner.

View full list of this year’s funded projects.

“The 1804 Fund is a starting point for many projects within the University and helps projects then receive additional funding down the road,” said Dorothy Schey, director of development for special fundraising initiatives.

This year $148,264 was awarded to support undergraduate learning, which promotes curricular innovations, programs and activities that enhance the undergraduate educational experience.

Tanya Barnett, director of communication and academic advisor for University College, is one of the recipients of 1804 funding for Leadership OHIO, which was granted $11,057 to allow for the implementation of a recruitment and retention initiative.

Barnett and her colleagues Kevin Geiger and Lora Clapp currently are developing a marketing strategy to successfully recruit multicultural, first generation and Appalachian students from the region who will be invited to First Day OHIO and Cultural Connections in April 2011.

“First Day OHIO seeks to provide prospective OHIO students with a real university’s first day experience, complete with attending classes, meeting with faculty and staff, touring the campus, dining on campus, and staying overnight in a residence hall,” said Barnett. “First Day OHIO showcases Ohio University’s abundant academic, social, cultural, and professional resources.”

First Day OHIO is a direct partnership between Leadership OHIO and Undergraduate Admissions.  It will take place directly before Admission’s multicultural recruitment program, Cultural Connections, which is also in April. It will progress into Cultural Connections programming, enhancing both recruitment programs and Ohio University experiences for these prospective students.

At the completion of the Leadership OHIO program, students will have developed experiential knowledge of leadership. With this comes increased self-efficacy and appreciation of cultural diversity, with an enhanced understanding regarding issues of social equity in the Appalachia region.

The general education reform proposal, “Toward Developing the Ohio University Liberal Arts Core: A Proposal to Initiate General Education Reform” received $18,588 in funding to research a variety of approaches that might be used to update the University’s general education program.

“General education reform is a burning issue—statewide and nationally,” said Professor of Film and Chair of the University Curriculum Council David Thomas.

Thomas, co-author of the proposal with Ben Ogles, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that employers are recognizing that the traditional major is only part of a university degree and perhaps a diminishing one.

“Students will now have some 8-14 careers. No single major can prepare students to successfully navigate these careers, become involved, informed, citizens, and lead rich, fulfilling lives,” said Thomas.

The funding for this proposal will go toward creating and supporting a Task Force to research models, approaches and best practices that can best begin a university-wide conversation to reform general education at Ohio University.

The Task Force will include a combination of faculty and students and will begin meeting this quarter. Together they will look at a variety of different models and educational philosophies to induce a campus-wide conversation about general education.

The 1804 Fund was endowed in 1979 by a visionary gift from the estate of C. Paul Stocker “to enhance the quality of university programs and life.”  The fund makes award to projects in two different categories: undergraduate learning and faculty research and graduate studies.

All awards support “the university’s core mission of maintaining, strengthening, and enhancing a learning-centered community,” said Schey.

Faculty and staff interested in applying for the 2011 award cycle must have a preliminary discussion with the Vice President for Research or Dean of University College by March 15. Proposals are due April 15. More information is available online at http://www.research.ohiou.edu/ (click on the “funding” link) or www.ohiou.edu/univcollege/fund/.