Doane receives grants to bolster educational opportunities

Published: May. 1, 2018 at 10:55 AM CDT
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Doane University has recently received new awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Association (NASPA), providing students with additional learning opportunities in the future.

Doane has been awarded an NEH Humanities Connections Planning Grant, which will provide $35,000 in funding to support the development of a new Emphasis in Integrated Humanities Program (EIHP) that complements the broad foundation of the undergraduate curriculum, known as the Doane Core Connections. Faculty from English, biology, and psychology will develop a pilot program for students majoring in biology or psychology.

As Katy Hanggi, assistant professor of English explains, the goal of the EIHP is to create a series of courses on complex, multidisciplinary topics that are linked in intentional ways to help students deepen their understanding of the challenges facing the world from multiple perspectives.

“One of the great requirements of this grant is that we design the program with experiential learning as a central component,” Hanggi said. “These kinds of learning experiences better prepare students for graduate school and for careers where they engage with diverse groups of individuals.”

Brad Johnson, professor of English and co-director of EIHP, says the program will begin by connecting humanities courses to the disciplines of biology and psychology, but there is long-term potential to connect to other areas as well. “Business majors could become more effective communicators, better creative thinkers, and stronger ethical problem solvers. Through this program, an Environmental Science major would be able to place their technical expertise into the rich contexts of literacy, theological, and philosophical traditions.”

Additionally, Doane received a $5,000 Innovation Grant from NASPA – one of only three awards across the country – to develop and implement a leadership retreat for first-year first-generation college students during the 2018-19 academic year. 37 percent of undergraduate students at Doane are first-generation students, a mark higher than the national average for private postsecondary institutions.

“We recognize that first-generation students can face significant challenges in succeeding academically,” said Luis Sotelo, chief diversity officer at Doane. “Doing more as a university to meet their unique needs is important to us as we support all learners to reach their potential.”