Bennington College Awarded $25,000 to Support Hybrid Instruction
Bennington College has received a $25,000 Presidential Grant for Alternate Academic Delivery from the Davis Educational Foundation, which will support both the technology upgrades necessary for the Fall 2020 term’s pivot to a hybrid model blending in-person and remote instruction, as well as the continuation of a faculty pedagogical workshop series that focuses on hybrid teaching techniques.
The grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.
“This award is recognition of Bennington’s creative and forward-thinking approach to hybrid learning models. It will empower us to build on the necessary pivot made in spring 2020 and allow us to continue offering a high-quality and accessible education this fall, so students can fully engage with their coursework during this challenging time," said President Laura Walker.
The Fall 2020 term is delivered in a blended format, allowing students the opportunity to study either in-person or remotely and offering faculty similar flexibility to conduct classes either in-person or remotely. A Remote Pedagogy Working Group of faculty met throughout the summer to prepare both curricularly and technologically for the fall, with the goal of ensuring inclusivity and overcoming obstacles common to remote instruction.
The Davis Educational Foundation grant will help support the outfitting of every Bennington classroom with the hardware and software that is essential for hybrid academic delivery. These upgrades include equipping classrooms with a high-definition web camera, a laptop computer, a projection system, speakers, a wired Ethernet connection for the room’s laptop, and at least one omni-directional microphone to allow for amplification of all voices in the room.
During July 2020, six faculty-led workshops were offered to all of Bennington’s faculty, with the aim of sharing helpful approaches to hybrid course design and preparation.
With support from the Davis Educational Foundation, Bennington will be able to extend this well-attended pedagogy workshop series into the fall, with a focus on hybrid teaching techniques and effective means of engaging students who are accessing classes remotely.
Throughout the Fall term, Bennington will also promote and disseminate best practices in use by our own faculty, and by faculty from other institutions.
About the Davis Educational Foundation
The Davis Educational Foundation, established as a public charitable foundation in 1985, supports the undergraduate programs of public and private, regionally accredited, baccalaureate degree granting colleges and universities throughout the six New England states. Elisabeth K. Davis and Stanton W. Davis co-founded the foundation after Mr. Davis's retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc. The foundation is an expression of the couple’s shared support and value for higher education and has provided more than $115 million in grants to more than 174 institutions.
Mr. Davis contributed tremendous vision to his business and the industry during periods of remarkable growth and transformation. Through automation and technological changes, he remained true to his core value of listening to the customer. This core value continues in the foundation’s highly individualized approach to grant making.