HCN News & Notes

Elms College Receives $240,000 Grant to Fund Experiential Learning

CHICOPEE — Elms College announced it has been awarded a $240,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation (DEF) in support of its Experiential Learning Mastering Success (ELMS) – Real World Ready! learning initiative. The grant will be dispersed over the next three years.

“Experiential Learning, through the ELMS – Real World Ready! learning initiative, will provide all of our students with the framework to be career-ready, community-minded graduates,” said Joyce Hampton, associate vice president of Academic Affairs, Strategic & Global Initiatives. The overall goal of the ELMS – Real World Ready! learning initiative is to provide at least one high-impact experiential learning opportunity to every student during their college career.

Experiential learning is one of the five pillars of the college’s 2020-23 strategic plan. Students can participate in internships, research, study-abroad trips, and service learning opportunities.

“In making the award, the trustees of the Davis Educational Foundation recognized the merits of the proposed project, in particular the commitment from institutional leadership, the strong link to the strategic plan, and the clearly articulated assessment framework,” said Edward MacKay, chair of the DEF board of trustees. The Davis Educational Foundation was established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Stanton’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc.

The first-year disbursement of the grant will support hiring a director of Experiential Learning, providing professional development for faculty and staff, and broadening of the college’s third annual Innovation Challenge (IC). The IC is a three-day event in which students work in teams and explore the intersection of social relationships, business economics, public education, and social justice. Over the past two years, Elms students have developed creative ideas to alleviate homelessness and address bullying. The upcoming Innovation Challenge in the fall 2020 semester will expand participation from 60 students to the entire first-year class.

“I’m looking forward to working with our experiential learning committee and helping our faculty and staff embed experiential learning into our curriculum and co-curricular activities, so that every student can benefit from this opportunity,” said Beryl Hoffman, co-chair of the Natural Science, Mathematics and Technology Division, associate professor of Computer Science, and project director for the grant.

The ELMS – Real World Ready! learning initiative and the DEF grant build on the philanthropic scholarship funding currently available to students through the donor-funded Keating Schneider Experiential Learning Fund and the Elms Advantage Internship program.