College awards grants for projects to support Strategic Plan

Publication Date

A West Coast recruiter for Admissions, renovated study spaces in Schaffer Library and expanded faculty development programs are among the projects awarded special grants to support the College’s Strategic Plan.

In spring 2013, Union unveiled a reshaped strategic plan. Drawing from key strengths outlined in the College’s 2007 version, the ambitious plan provides a blueprint that strengthens and enhances Union's position as a highly selective national liberal arts college that “produces graduates who make important contributions to humanity.”

This includes the ability to think broadly and strategically in all areas; the way in which students make connections, both in and out of the classroom; and a culture that encourages and provides opportunities to take action, academically and socially, as well as locally, regionally and globally.

In the spring, the College's Planning and Priorities Committee invited the campus community to apply for one or two-year grants to support projects that contribute to the Strategic Plan. Two types of grants were offered:

  • Planning grants of $2,000-$5,000 (to facilitate project planning activities such as retreats, attending conferences, consulting outside experts).
  • Implementation grants of $10,000 and up (to undertake specific projects).

The grant proposals needed to involve activities that were not eligible for other sources of College funding. They must also have clearly contributed to one or more of the 26 main projects identified for Strategic Plan implementation.

The committee approved 13 of 18 submitted projects for a total of $208,000. In brief, the monies go to:

  • The Union College Concert Series, for promotion in regional and national media outlets.
  • Jeff Witsoe, assistant professor of anthropology, to develop the student-run COCOA Club into an effective vehicle to teach community development, non-profit management and grant writing, while providing students with practical experience at the front lines of the struggle against poverty.
  • Wendy Sternberg, dean of Academic Departments and Programs, to support the faculty with resources available from two national organizations focused on faculty development and success.
  • Christine Henseler, professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies/chair of Modern Languages and Literatures, for The Millennial Challenge Program, designed to “explore, express, and share how students’ interdisciplinary engagement with the Arts and Humanities.”
  • A Wold Art Installation Series that seeks to reveal intersections between art and technology and brings the visual arts out of the Nott Memorial and into public spaces on campus.
  • Gretchel Hathaway, chief diversity officer, and Palma Catravas, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, to purchase a keyboard, amplifier and other accessories for the Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir and for academic use.
  • Ellen Borkowski, chief information officer, and Frances Maloy, College librarian, to renovate student study rooms in Schaffer Library.
  • Ellen Borkowski, to renovate at least one electronic classroom with Lecture Capture/Web Conferencing auto-tracking equipment.
  • Ellen Borkowski, for the College to join EduRoam, a secure, worldwide roaming access service that has been developed for research and educational institutions. This would allow the campus community to use wireless on campuses (and other locales) throughout the world that participate using their own Union College sign- in credentials. In addition, it would allow visitors from other participating institutions to do the same here.
  • Frances Maloy, for comprehensive programming and space planning for Schaffer Library, including hiring a library-building consultant to present on trends in higher education and academic libraries.
  • to “develop a culture of wellness” that would include presentations by an outside expert, distribution of presenter’s book, book-club like conversations, and ongoing sharing of wellness message.
  • Ann Fleming Brown, director of Admissions, and Susan Hanks, senior associate dean of Admissions, to hire a West Coast recruiter. This individual will be based in California and also travel to Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Arizona and British Columbia.
  • Art History Professor Lorraine Morales Cox to research opportunities for future collaborative programming and initiatives that integrate innovative transdisciplinary connections among art, technology, creativity and visual thinking.

A meeting open to the campus community hosted by President Stephen C. Ainlay and senior staff to discuss upcoming campus-wide projects related to the strategic plan will be held Oct. 14 from 1 to 1:45 p.m. in Olin Auditorium.