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Davis Educational Foundation Award Encourages Faculty, Staff to Think Big and Change the Landscape of Higher Education

Colby-Sawyer College has received a two-year grant of $160,750 to incentivize creative and collaborative thinking, enable action, fund early implementation solutions, and share study findings in a new initiative called Establishing Community Ownership of Campus Innovation. 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.

Establishing Community Ownership of Campus Innovation is designed to support creative, multidisciplinary faculty and staff-initiated research projects focused on identifying new models and practices for higher education that will improve educational outcomes, structurally change the overall educational model, lead to long-term financial sustainability and ultimately lower the cost of a college education. It will also fund early implementation solutions.

In notifying Colby-Sawyer President Thomas C. Galligan Jr. of the award, the Davis Educational Foundation noted “campus leadership and faculty's demonstrated flexibility as combining to present a unique opportunity to employ the proposed program.” The award for innovation is the first of its kind awarded by the foundation.

“This is an incredibly exciting and innovative grant that allows us to draw on the wisdom and creativity of experts – our faculty and staff – to devise ways to lower the cost of a Colby-Sawyer education without compromising on quality,” said President Galligan.

Proposals for one-year projects that seek to streamline, overhaul or replace facets of the way the college functions will be accepted from individual faculty and staff members, but preference will be given to collaborative, interdisciplinary proposals. All proposals will be evaluated for potential to reduce the cost of higher education and better serve the college's academic goals and student outcomes. Three proposals will be accepted during each year of the grant.

An incentive award (bonus pay for each selected project member) and funding will be awarded to each project team to cover expenses such as consultant/expert fees, conferences, travel and research and data access. Faculty members will be given course release time and staff members will receive accommodations to complete their project.

The goal of the project, says Chief of Staff and Steering Committee Chair Lisa Tedeschi, in addition to seeking creative thinking about containing costs, is to continue to embed a campus-wide culture of shared responsibility for problem solving and systemic change. “We want to broaden ownership of the current challenges and solutions for long-term sustainability,” she said. “This grant will fund the establishment of a system that will continue after the grant period and that will become self-sustaining with redirection of some recouped funds each year.”

A Culture of Forward Thinking

The grant is the latest step to engage campus constituencies in the organizational change that is required in higher education in general and at Colby-Sawyer in particular as it works to define and implement new best and sustainable practices. Since 2010, the college has developed both a strategic plan and a facilities master plan.

In 2012, an effort was launched to identify opportunities for gaining efficiencies, eliminating obsolete practices and improving outcomes. Some of the suggestions that the college acted upon include boosting distance education offerings, which currently encompass three certificate programs and four online bachelor's degree programs; creating formal transfer articulation agreements with New Hampshire's community colleges (four so far); and opening the college's facilities to outside camps, conferences, and private parties.

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 as an expression of the couple's shared support and value for higher education and has provided close to $98 million in grants to more than 157 institutions. Learn more about the foundation here.

-Colby-Sawyer College Office of College Communications

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000