The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation is one of the best friends private colleges can have, especially liberal arts institutions and historically black colleges. The Jacksonville, Florida-based funder's 2014 grant-making decisions in higher education are consistent with its strategy of supporting quality private colleges and universities.
The grants awarded by Davis support a wide range of activities, including pedagogy, student enrichment programs, and professional development for college staff. The grants also show no regional favoritism. The Davis Foundation continues to show a willingness to fund a wide range of activities in private colleges across the country.
The funder's key criteria are that the college demonstrate academic quality and a sound financial footing. Institutions with dubious academics or shaky finances need not apply.
Davis awarded grants to the following institutions:
- Amherst College in Amherst, MA, which received $100,000 toward the use of emerging technologies in liberal arts teaching and learning. The school plans to create strategies for incorporating academic technologies into its pedagogy.
- Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. Cornell College received $250,000 to establish a Professional Orientation and Development program aimed at first-generation college students. A quarter of the school's new students in 2013-14 were first-generation college students.
- Davidson College in Davidson, NC. Davidson received $250,000 to support its Summer Scholars program, which involves internships, travel, and experiential learning. The program is designed to provide students with real world experiences outside the classroom that help them develop compassion, creativity, analytical rigor, resilience, and moral courage. The activities in the program fall outside of tuition and financial aid, so the funds from Davis will support students who otherwise could not afford them.
- Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC, which received $250,000 toward the development and dissemination of STEM-related "E-sources." These are electronic learning tools replacing traditional textbooks. Based on learner analytic research, these tools are designed to use student actions to predict poor performance and guide instructor intervention. Specifically, the grant will help support the development of these learning tools in biology, chemistry, and physics.
- The Association of Governing Boards in Washington, DC, which received $250,000 for a program to help historically black colleges and universities strengthen governance and leadership through a series of professional development activities for college presidents, trustees, and other institutional leaders.