University of Scranton Awards $250,000 in Strategic Initiative Funds

May 19, 2017

Fourteen projects reaching across 7,000 miles and encompassing a range of academic disciplines, community initiatives and international education programs received 2016-17 Strategic Initiatives Funding awards from The University of Scranton.

All totaled, the selected projects received more than $250,000 from the University’s Strategic Initiatives Fund, which supports innovative projects – particularly those that that will have substantial, positive impact on the student experience – that advance the goals of the Strategic Plan: an Engaged, Integrated and Global Student Experience. A total of 25 proposals were submitted this year.

“The Strategic Initiatives Funding pool was made possible by cost savings and revenue generation realized through the Comprehensive Resource Review process, spearheaded by the Office of Finance and Administration,” said University President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., who established the funding pool in December 2016.

Funding is open to University students, faculty and staff, and collaborative projects are encouraged. The process includes the submission of an RFP that includes a statement of the project’s purpose and intended outcomes, its relationship and potential impact to the Strategic Plan, a plan for the evaluation and assessment of the project, and a budget for its implementation.

RFPs are then reviewed by the University Planning Committee, which utilizes a scoring rubric to inform its discussion and recommendations. Recommendation for funding allocations are then forwarded to the president of the University.

For those projects that may span multiple years, awards are “seed money” for the first year of funding. As part of their award, recipients must submit a report detailing the progress of the project and its impact, including assessment, by March 1, 2018.

Among the proposals selected for funding is the International Student Support Program. Funds will support the development and implementation of an English as a Second Language (ESL) program at the University. The program will support the expansion of a part-time to full-time Writing Center and (ESL) coordinator staff position.

“Among the objectives behind the Strategic Initiatives Funding was to develop an excitement among the University community, faculty, students and staff for the goals of the Strategic Plan, and illustrate that all members of the University community are contributors to advancing the Plan's goals and vision,” said Joseph Dreisbach, Ph.D., Interim Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

STEAM Activities for School/Community Groups, an ongoing initiative to connect University resources in the science and arts areas with area children and teens through community partner agencies, also received Strategic Initiatives Funding. The work of faculty and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) will be supported through funds directed to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities for high school, middle school and elementary school groups, with a focus on science enrichment activities.

“The project facilitates community-based learning opportunities for faculty and students, opens the University’s campus resources to the community in meaningful ways, and meets the needs of area organizations,” said Julie Schumacher Cohen, director of community and government relations, who is partnering with Rebecca Haggerty, assistant dean of assessments and programs, College of Arts and Sciences, on the project.

Funds will be used to support transportation, curricular materials and program expenses for activities held on- and off-campus.

Uganda Conference and Intersession Courses, an international and interdisciplinary initiative, also received Strategic Initiatives Funding. The project will enhance an 11-year relationship between The University of Scranton and Uganda, East Africa.

“We’ll be hosting a conference on-campus featuring key Ugandan personnel,” said Charles Pinches, Ph.D., professor of theology/religious studies, who is collaborating with Catherine Lovecchio, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing, and Cyrus Olsen, Ph.D., associate professor of theology/religious studies on this initiative.

The conference will provide a platform for the creation of site-specific program internships for University students in the areas of nursing and theology/religious studies, with probable expansion to other disciplines. Scranton’s Ugandan connections will also be enhanced, including more travel courses, internship opportunities, and possibly a permanent home facility that will be open to cooperation with other universities.

Strategic Initiatives Funding was also awarded to the following:

  • Scranton Big Read Grant. Rebecca Beal, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of English and Theatre;
  • EP 2 Pedagogy Development. Marian Farrell, Ph.D., professor of nursing;
  • SBDC Internship Program. Lisa Hall-Zielinski, director of the University’s Small Business Development Center;
  • CLN Nursing Academic Practice Partnership. Sharon Hudacek, Ed.D., professor of nursing; Mary Jane DiMattio, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing; Catherine Lovecchio, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing;
  • Student Leadership Capstone Program. Shannon Murphy Fennie, director, Center for Student Engagement, Student Formation and Campus Life;
  • San Lucas Guatemala Water Filter. Alexander Pinarreta, New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Erica Westlake, Westchester, both undergraduate students;
  • India MKT and Theology Faculty-Led Study Abroad Course. Abhijit Roy, D.B.A., professor of management, marketing and entrepreneurship; Cyrus Olsen, Ph.D., associate professor of theology/religious studies;
  • Center for Community-Based Learning. Julie Schumacher Cohen, director of community and government relations;
  • Scranton Connections Program. Christina Whitney, director of the Center for Career Development; Melissa Starace, Ed.D., interim vice president for institutional advancement;
  • Mediation of Collegiate Hall. Jason Wimmer, assistant director, Office of Instructional Technology; Bradley Troy, director of residence life; Lauren Rivera, J.D., associate vice provost for student formation and campus life and dean of student;
  • In Solidarity with Syria Programming. Helen Wolf, Ph.D., executive director of the Office of Campus Ministries.

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