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DePauw Receives Mellon Foundation Grant for Technology and Teaching

September 8, 1998

September 8, 1998, Greencastle, Ind. - The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded DePauw University a grant of $270,000 which DePauw will use to improve and encourage the use of technology in the liberal arts classroom. In his announcement of the award, Robert G. Bottoms, president of DePauw, noted the University had reached a critical point in its integration of technology with teaching. The grant comes at a time when the University has invested significant time and resources to create an infrastructure to support its campus technological needs for the near future.

In the last three years, the University installed a fiber optic network which provides a connection from every student residence hall room, faculty and administrative office, and classroom. The network also extends its services to each student living in a sorority and fraternity. The campus also developed its website during this time. In addition, the faculty created a Faculty Instructional Technology Support team (FITS) to help faculty use technology in teaching through workshops, seminars, and individual consultation.

"Now what we anticipated has become reality. There is a high level of interest among the faculty for using technology in their courses," explained President Bottoms. "To meet this need additional resources were needed to undertake any curricular projects and to continue needed faculty training."

The Mellon Foundation grant will enable the faculty, over the next three years, to pursue additional training to gain the competencies to implement eventually their new knowledge. Many faculty will receive support for curricular 60691innovation for which there had been no available funding.

Carl Singer, director of academic computing and professor of computer science, will serve as director of the Mellon grant project. A cornerstone of the program will be the use of teams to support faculty as they redesign their courses.

Five teams, consisting of the faculty member, a technology support staff person and students were formed during the summer and began working on the course projects. The courses, an honors course, "Consciousness;" an English course, "The Baroque;" a history course, "Colonial America;" a mathematics course, "Analysis;" and a music course, "Vienna: Culture and History," spanning several disciplines, will incorporate the use of the Internet and other media. These courses will be offered in a new format for the first time over the next two years with the first, "Consciousness," being offered this fall. Singer anticipates that 20 to 30 courses will be affected during the grant period.

"DePauw University is well-known for its excellent teaching faculty," commented Singer. "We now have the opportunity not only to use technology in creative ways to enhance what we already do extremely well, but also to use technology as a vehicle for faculty to critically examine how they teach whether they choose to use technology or not."

Another important goal of the Technology in Teaching project is to improve the technological competence of DePauw students and to provide them with the ability to evaluate the ways that technology affects their lives and the society in which they live.

"We want our graduates to be able to adopt technology into their critical thinking skills and their analyses of problems at every level. This is a natural and appropriate integration of technology and a liberal arts education," Singer said.

By the end of the three-year grant period, Singer, who with others, was also instrumental in the development of the DePauwInfo website, expects that nearly 80 to 90 percent of the DePauw faculty will have been affected by the Mellon grant. Because of this grant, in three years DePauw will have established a continuing, self-supported program to help faculty in their use of technology in education.

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