University receives $1.6 million Department of Education grant

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October 20, 2020
Aerial photograph of Detroit Mercy's McNichols Campus.

University of Detroit Mercy recently received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) Office of Postsecondary Education.

This five-year competitive grant was awarded through the DoE’s Title III Part A Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP), which provides grants to institutions that serve a high percentage of traditionally underserved students. The University will use a significant amount of funding to establish the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), a resource that will help faculty engage in research and enhance instructional methods and techniques that professors use in the classroom to increase student success. 

According to Pamela Zarkowski, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, this grant provides another opportunity for Detroit Mercy to strengthen the institution’s Jesuit and Mercy-based mission and build on the University’s national reputation.

“This U.S. Department of Education Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant will reinforce our faculty’s professional development opportunities that focus on teaching and learning, assessment and student outcomes on Detroit Mercy’s three campuses,” she said. “Establishment of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning will also fulfill a major objective of our Strategic Plan, Build a Boundless Future – 2019-2024, whose fundamental goal is to strengthen our students’ educational and academic experiences.”

Funds from this grant will provide the following:

  • Financial support for personnel.
  • Support the creation of a physical space for the new center.
  • Fund faculty mini grants for research focused on improving teaching and learning.
  • Help establish a mentoring program.
  • Support faculty development programming, including external speakers.

As part of the Office of Academic Affairs, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning will coordinate with faculty, committees, departments and academic units to serve as a hub that fosters academic quality and innovations. CETL will also develop and convene focused faculty development programs that promote excellence in pedagogy, assessment and online and in-person course design, which has become critically important given the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, CETL will incubate curricula and strategies to attract non-traditional student populations such as working adults, parents, veterans and others traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Through these efforts, the CETL will support University-wide efforts to improve the educational experience, learning outcomes and retention of all students.

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