Teagle Foundation Grant Provides Resources to Enhance 5-C Strengths

The Claremont Colleges have received a three-year, $280,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation.

This grant, in combination with a $50,000 commitment from the five undergraduate institutions at The Claremont Colleges (Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College and Harvey Mudd College), will provide the 5-Cs an opportunity to plan together based on consortial strengths that have contributed to each college’s reputation for academic excellence.

“It will allow the colleges to consider and develop ways to collaborate more intentionally, look at what’s working and what’s not within the consortial arrangement, and think together about teaching, faculty and curricular planning and resource management,” said Jeff Groves, vice president for academic affairs and R. Michael Shanahan Dean of the Faculty.

Directing the project is Debra Mashek, associate dean of faculty development and associate professor of psychology at Harvey Mudd College. Janice Hudgings, vice president and dean of the college at Pomona, is the lead dean.

The project has its origins in a 2012 request from the 5-C presidents to the academic deans to review how the consortium supports the academic missions of the colleges. Led by Hudgings, the academic deans prepared a proposal for the Teagle Foundation, which awarded the grant to The Claremont Colleges in summer 2014, to explore strategies for building additional cooperation.

During the first phase of the project, Mashek will assess existing collaborations, such as cross registration, shared colloquia and coordinated course offerings. She is seeking input from 5-C faculty members, deans, registrars, institutional researchers, treasurers and assessment teams, as well as librarians and other consortium staff. She’ll also visit other college consortia to investigate how they operate.

“By looking to other consortia, we’ll better understand the factors that have contributed to others’ consortial success; some of these factors may make sense to consider for our own context,” says Mashek.

Phase two of the project will involve developing tools and strategies to build and maintain collaborations, and Phase three will involve implementing and disseminating the strategies. During the final phase, Mashek says, “We’ll be thinking about what lessons learned here might be of interest nationally to others who are looking toward collaborative models in higher education.”

As a research psychologist, Mashek brings her background in program evaluation and needs assessment to bear on the project. She’s seeking broad participation from the 5-Cs to determine which existing collaborations work best and why. Mashek adds, “We’ll also ask what challenges existing collaborative teams face so that we, as a consortium, can start figuring out the solutions.”

Mashek says, “I, for one, really value the consortium as a source of professional relationships, opportunities, great students and a sense of community. The idea that I might be able to influence that in a positive way through this project is very exciting.”

About the Teagle Foundation

Established in 1944 by Walter C. Teagle (1878-1962), longtime president and later chairman of the board of Standard Oil Company (now Exxon Mobil Corporation), the Teagle Foundation is an influential national voice and a catalyst for change in higher education to improve undergraduate student learning in the arts and sciences.

The Claremont Consortium

Harvey Mudd College is a member of The Claremont Colleges, a collective of five undergraduate and two graduate schools. Each institution has its own mission, administrative policies, facilities, student body and unique campus culture. The partnership among the member colleges gives students access to many of the resources at each institution. A few benefits include being able to take classes at any of the colleges (including select courses at the Claremont Graduate University), enjoying meals at each of the seven dining halls and having access to many recreational facilities. Together, The Claremont Colleges provide students with facilities and services comparable only to a premier university.