Jefferson Trust Grants to support 14 projects at UVA

uva-logoFrom supporting the preparation of the next generation of professors and school leaders to providing a platform for collaborative research at micro and nano scales, the Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the University of Virginia Alumni Association, awarded 14 grants totaling more than $600,000 to various University entities Friday.

Established in 2004, the Jefferson Trust is an unrestricted endowment that distributes funds annually through a University-wide grant program. The unrestricted nature of the endowment allows the trustees to pursue excellence across the entire University by supporting a variety of initiatives in programs that enhance teaching, scholarship and research; programs that allow faculty and students to work closely together while engaging in hands-on learning; and programs that allow the University community to reach out to other communities – local, national and global.

One of this year’s largest grants – $49,760 – is going to the Ignite program, a Teaching Resource Center initiative that will capitalize on the historic turnover of U.Va. faculty by preparing the next generation of professors to create superb academic learning experiences for their students.

Over the course of the two-year pilot, Ignite will seek to provide 36 new instructors with the knowledge, skills and supportive community they need to develop into exceptional teachers. Using conservative estimates, these 36 faculty members will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the learning of more than 5,500 students each year – about 165,000 students over a typical 30-year career. The ultimate goal is to empower U.Va. instructors to fulfill a promise laid out in the University’s Cornerstone Plan to “provide educational experiences that deliver new levels of student engagement” and meaningful academic learning.

“We thank the Jefferson Trust for recognizing the significance of our project,” said Dorothe J. Bach, associate director of U.Va.’s Teaching Resource Center. “The grant is essential for getting a program started that will provide the next generation of faculty with the skills needed to sustain and enhance U.Va.’s vibrant residential learning environment.”

“The concept for the Jefferson Trust grew out of a sense of urgency and immediate need brought on by the 2001 recession,” said Wayne Cozart, executive director of the Jefferson Trust. “What arose out of necessity, however, has now become a significant part of the life of the University of Virginia.”

Grants from the trust were first given in 2006. To date, the Jefferson Trust has awarded $4.8 million to fund 123 initiatives spanning a broad range of schools, departments, student groups and academic centers at the University.

Other 2015 grant recipients include:

 Civic Engagement and Student Scholars: Understanding Public Service at Mr. Jefferson’s University ($22,400), an initiative that will equip a team of undergraduate researchers to map the network of public service opportunities that exist at the University in order to understand the comprehensive impact of service activities, identify gaps in service and develop a strategic plan to maintain and improve service opportunities that benefit the community and students. This work is intended to provide a comprehensive network of service projects that is often requested by students, but does not currently exist.

Integrated Learning for the Next Generation of School Leaders ($43,500), a program that will allow the faculty in the Curry School of Education’s Administration and Supervision program to develop and pilot a new model of integrated learning to support leadership preparation reaching new master’s-degree students. The new model will span online, facilitated small-group and field-based learning as the basis for teaching courses in the master’s program. Grant funds will be used to identify and engage stakeholders, develop and launch the initial pilot program, evaluate and revise the pilot and launch year two.

National Standards Workshop ($93,244.50), a project intended to enhance U.Va.’s efforts to emerge as a national leader in prevention of and response to sexual assault on college campuses, and to create a climate where every student feels safe and valued. A steering committee of U.Va. faculty, students and alumni with expertise in the area of sexual misconduct will partner with Futures Without Violence and Harvard Law School Gender Violence Program to create and pilot a comprehensive curriculum to prevent and respond to sexual assault on college campuses that can serve as a model for the nation.

PULSE at U.Va. ($19,340), a curriculum of the national Sustained Dialogue Institute that creates an immersive, overnight retreat off-Grounds for 70 participants to engage their experiences of identity and inequity and build trust while supported by a mindful curriculum. Funding will provide for the second of two such retreats, along with post-retreat evaluations and development of institutional partnerships. PULSE is sponsored by Sustained Dialogue as a separate project of that organization, with a long-term goal of establishing a separate organization on Grounds.

Greens to Grounds ($11,430), a student-run organization providing students with a weekly box of local produce paired with educational programming, including video cooking tutorials, recipes, cooking classes and an online blog. Its goals include education of the U.Va. community in sustainable agriculture and supporting local agricultural community. The funding will support startup costs and help develop organizational capacity; in the long term, membership fees will cover expenses. A recent development is a partnership with Student Council and the Office of the Dean of Students to upgrade the Hoo’s Pantry program to allow these students to participate in the Greens to Grounds program anonymously.

• “Monroe Hill,” ($85,000), a project that will involve students in the research, documentation, illustration and sharing of significant information about Monroe Hill, and in the creation of a documentary film about the buildings and grounds there. Now home to Brown College, Monroe Hill represents an important part of the history of U.Va. and legacy of James Monroe.

Libra: Opening Access to Alumni Theses and Dissertations ($58,350). The University Library is seeking support to make U.Va. alumni theses and dissertations accessible online in electronic format through the Libra institutional repository. This entails digitizing several hundred of the most valuable, rare and unique of the University’s more than 30,000 print theses and dissertations written between 1885 and 2012. During the two-year project, the 500 most frequently circulated files will be digitized, followed by theses and dissertations in civil rights and American history from the 1960s forward.

Charlottesville Debate League ($58,975), a new student organization that teaches debate to local middle school students. Its initial success has encouraged ogranizers to expand to other schools in the area; future goals include instituting formal mentoring between U.Va. and Charlottesville students, holding an annual debate tournament, expanding to Charlottesville High School and a partnering with the Curry School to build a training program for student teachers/mentors.

Kinesiology Teaching Lab ($82,148). The funding will outfit unfurnished teaching laboratory space in Ruffner Hall with interactive and psychometric learning equipment that will allow the Curry School’s kinesiology students to experiment and learn by doing, rather than by reading about or watching videos of various methods.

Integration of Rotman Interactive Trader Software and Rotman International Trading Competition into the B.S. in Commerce Curriculum($18,000). Taking place over two academic years, the proposal aims to replace the UpTick Market Simulator used at the McIntire School of Commerce with the Rotman Interactive Trader as trading simulation software used in the classroom, elevating McIntire’s classroom technology to the state-of-the-art standard already adopted by other leading business schools.

Developing Future Research Leaders in Sustainability and Resilience ($72,500), the creation of a new program, the Graduate Sustainability Research Forum, and a new Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Sustainability and Resilience. The forum will build a community among current graduate students from across the University, in collaboration with faculty and other students surrounding five main research clusters: Resilience of Coastal Communities, Global Water and Food Resilience, Climate-Earth Feedbacks, Sustainable Cities, and Energy. The fellowship will seek to recruit the nation’s finest students who seek graduate training in interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems, recruiting students into the community created through the research forum.

Imaging Technology Seminar Series ($15,000), a program that aims to focus on emerging imaging technologies by offering a monthly inter-departmental seminar series, providing a platform for collaboration that will enable research at micro and nano scales. The seminar series will expose U.Va. researchers and students from various disciplines to leaders in the field of imaging technology and will foster opportunities for collaboration that will lead to innovation and breakthroughs.

• Darden Impact Ventures ($8,000), a student-run impact venture fund that aims to further education in venture captial and impact investing by partnering with and supporting innovative for-profit enterprises, serving primarily as a sourcing and due diligence shop. As a non-profit, DIV will reinvest any returns back into the fund. In coordination with the launch of DIV, Darden has created a new course dedicated to social impact investing. Grant funding will cover the subscription fee for the Investor’s Circle, an impact investing network; an intra-University speaker series and seminars; conferences and competitions; and other operating expenses.


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