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Davis Educational Foundation Grant to Support Teaching Excellence and Innovation
Sep 18, 2019, by Staff Writer

SMITHFIELD, RI—Bryant University has secured a major capital campaign gift to establish the Center for Teaching Excellence, a strategic initiative that will combine current professional development resources with new activities and programs to facilitate growth opportunities for all faculty. Funded by the Davis Educational Foundation, the Center will launch this fall.

With the anticipated increase in the number of new faculty by more than a third in the next five years, this expansion is an opportunity to attract and invest in the top innovators in their respective fields.

“Bryant’s commitment to academic excellence has provided the environment for our world-class faculty to develop truly ground-breaking programs that have raised everyone’s game.”

“Bryant’s commitment to academic excellence has provided the environment for our world-class faculty to develop truly ground-breaking programs that have raised everyone’s game,” says Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley. “This grant builds upon Bryant’s tradition of academic success and innovation. We are gratified to receive this recognition and support from the Davis Educational Foundation, which allows us to expand investments in our faculty and opportunities for our students.”

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.

“In making this award, Trustees praised the clear institutional commitment to supporting high quality teaching among new and experienced faculty,” said Edward MacKay, Chair of the Davis Educational Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

“Engaging and innovative teaching is a primary measure of success for all faculty, and it is a key factor in attracting the best, most creative and entrepreneurial faculty.”

Provost and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Sulmasy, J.D., LL.M, will oversee the Center’s initiatives, ensuring institutional support for all phases of grant activities. Ed Kairiss, Ph.D., director of Faculty Development and Innovation, will serve as the Center’s Director. Kairiss works closely with Bryant faculty across all areas of study in all aspects of their teaching and scholarship.

“Academic excellence and innovation are longstanding core values and strategic priorities at Bryant. Engaging and innovative teaching is a primary measure of success for all faculty, and it is a key factor in attracting the best, most creative and entrepreneurial faculty,” says Sulmasy. “This grant will help Bryant to continue to foster an even more active and vibrant educational environment.”

The Davis Educational Foundation grant will help the Center for Teaching Excellence to achieve the following goals:

  • Support Bryant’s community of scholars where faculty learn from and support one another.
  • Provide professional development programs that will foster the University’s growing culture of creativity and innovation across disciplines.
  • Identify and promote standards of teaching excellence with clear measures for success such as student engagement, collaborations with faculty and peers, and mastery of the subject matter.
  • Assessment of performance outcomes, and opportunities for improvement that will ensure continuous growth and commitment to excellence.

Bryant recognizes the powerful impact faculty can have on student learning outcomes and on each other in creating an environment that values and nurtures peer support. The Center for Teaching Excellence will support all disciplines in accessing comprehensive and cohesive resources that will advance Bryant’s educational mission. 

The University’s historic capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future, has exceeded its original goal of $75 million and now surpassed an increased stretch goal of $100 million with several months still to go.

Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. The University's 3,700 undergraduate and postgraduate students study in an intensive and immersive learning environment that has been purpose-built for high achievement. Bryant’s groundbreaking academic programs have been nationally recognized by organizations including the Davis Educational Foundation and Hanover Research. Founded in 1863, Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, College Factual/U.S.A. Today, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and Barron’s.

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