Learning Fellows Program Receives Hearst Foundations Award

DCAL Receives Hearst Grant to Support Learning Fellows Program

HANOVER, NH July 19, 2018— On June 26, 2018, the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) was awarded a grant of $125,000 by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation to support the Dartmouth Learning Fellows Program. The grant will be used to sustain and increase capacity for the program, which pairs undergraduate students with academic faculty to design and deliver active learning opportunities in Dartmouth courses. Kate Norton in the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations played a pivotal role in supporting this effort.

The Dartmouth Learning Fellows Program, founded in 2015 by DCAL and the Learning Design & Technology Team, is designed after the national model of the Learning Assistance Alliance, developed in 2003 at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In accordance with this model, highperforming undergraduate students are recruited and trained to serve as peer mentors and classroom leaders in courses they have successfully completed. Learning Fellows support faculty in the classroom by facilitating small groups of students in active learning, including applying course material and interacting collaboratively with one another. The program is built on evidence which indicates that students who participate in classes with active learning typically perform at a higher level, and that such techniques effectively disrupt bias in the classroom and support the learning of diverse and underrepresented students.

Though the model has proven particularly transformative and is used most often in STEM courses at other institutions, the Dartmouth program is among a limited number that have adopted the Learning Fellows approach across all academic disciplines. Beginning with five courses in 2015-16, the Dartmouth Learning Fellows Program has expanded to engage 56 faculty members from 24 departments and enhance the learning experiences of 1,975 undergraduate students in 39 courses during the 2017-18 academic year.

Demand for the program continues to grow. Faculty who have worked with Learning Fellows request repeatedly to work with them again, and to incorporate them into their other classes. Simultaneously, DCAL receives regular requests from additional faculty who wish to engage, and has seen the program grow in popularity among students–both those seeking to become Learning Fellows and those seeking to take courses that incorporate them. Grant funding provided by the Hearst Foundation will support the addition of new courses and new Learning Fellows to the program, and work to assess changes in student performance and course evaluations associated with the program.

The Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) improves teaching and learning by providing resources, removing barriers, promoting evidence-based practices, and building partnerships to cultivate a culture that values and rewards teaching for all members of Dartmouth’s scholar-educator community.

For more information, please contact the Learning Fellows Program Manager at learningfellows@dartmouth.edu

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