Nancy Cable, Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

TITLE: President




FUNDING AREAS: Private higher education, religion, and public television

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IP TAKE: Cable is a higher ed veteran with intellectual heft and a deep commitment to private colleges. But she's also on a mission to bolster the quality of high school teaching.




PROFILE: Nancy J. Cable is a passionate believer in a sound liberal arts education and the ability of higher education institutions to help provide high school teachers with the content knowledge and pedagogical skills needed to deliver quality instruction to better prepare students for college. These qualities make her a perfect fit for leadership of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, where she was appointed president in October 2012.




Industrialist Arthur Vining Davis, a former president and chairman of Alcoa, established the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations in 1952 as a national philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting higher education, theological education, and secondary education. In higher education, the organization concentrates on private liberal arts institutions. In secondary education, the foundations fund programs designed to strengthen professional development of high school teachers.




Cable has firsthand knowledge of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations' work in higher education from the other side of the desk; before joining the foundations, Cable was vice president (and briefly interim president) of Bates College, which is a past recipient of funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations—in 2010, the college received $250,000 to support programs and research in the biology department.




An Ohio native, Cable has spent her career in higher education. She holds a bachelor's degree from Marietta College, a master's in education from the University of Vermont, and a doctorate in educational history from the University of Virginia. In addition to naming her president, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations' board of trustees also gave its support to Cable's appointment as a Fulbright Specialist; she traveled to China to work with a team of scholars on developing liberal arts education there.




The foundations' and Cable's enthusiastic support of higher education institutions is reflected in their secondary education grants. The organization often funds programs at such institutions that are designed to strengthen content knowledge and pedagogy among high school teachers. Past recipients of secondary education grants include Middlebury College in Vermont, Willamette University in Oregon, Syracuse University in New York, and Wofford College in South Carolina. Programs funded by these institutions were designed to boost teacher content knowledge, identify effective instructional methods, improve language instruction, and help student teachers transition into classroom practice.