A new $10 million grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation will provide Denison students with expanded capacities to take advantage of far-reaching global study and research opportunities, and amplify the mission of the Knowlton Career Center to give students and young alumni the critical skills, knowledge, and networks they need to launch into successful lives.
Denison University President Adam Weinberg notes, “A liberal arts education gives our students a depth of knowledge combined with a breadth of practical experiences that together ignite enterprising ideas and build the creativity, persistence, and critical thinking skills that form a foundation for a lifetime of success. We are extraordinarily grateful to the Sherman Fairchild Foundation for these opportunities to enrich our students through new possibilities.”
A campus-wide global strategy
The grant will support the work of Denison’s visionary new Center for Global Programs, a touchstone for all of the university’s global programs. This group, under the leadership of Professor Katy Crossley-Frolick, integrates study abroad and off-campus programs with international student support resources. Signature programs mark Denison as a national leader in this work, including those in study abroad, Global Scholar Residencies, international internships, research, and Denison Seminars, which offer a substantial off-campus experience.
In addition, the university is developing a new generation of programs on campus to globalize campus dynamics and learning, in ways that leverage the knowledge and life experiences of international students, which comprise about 17% of students at Denison, and returning study-abroad students.
An innovative career-launch master plan
Today’s job market is more competitive, as top employers and graduate programs expect students to arrive with profession-specific training, experiences, and networks. Strengthening outcomes for Denison graduates is central to the university’s educational model.
Team members of the Knowlton Center for Career Exploration engage students early in their time at Denison, connecting them with alumni and parents who can be coaches and guides, and presenting programs both on and off campus that give students opportunities to explore an array of careers and professional paths. The Knowlton Center also works to close the skills-gap between knowledge learned in the classroom and what students need to compete for top jobs and internships.
The grant will bolster The Knowlton Center’s summer internship fund that provides stipends for students. Summer internships allow students to explore career fields and apply academic coursework to the workplace. They provide exceptional opportunities for students to learn new skills and hone their career plans. However, often valuable internships are unpaid or are low paying, which keeps deserving students from these life-changing experiences. In Summer 2019, Denison awarded $628,000 to 172 students who pursued internships with NBCUniversal, Habitat for Humanity, NYU Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Booz Allen Hamilton, Apple Playschools, the U.S. Senate, Ohio Environmental Council, and more.
The grant will expand the Knowlton Center’s First Look programs to cities throughout the country during an alternative spring break trip. First Look programs allow students to experience potential professional interests through informational sessions, networking, and tours. They include short day trips to Ohio cities to tour companies, ask questions, and learn about specific topics and career paths.
Building critical connections between academics and careers
The grant will fund projects that bridge career exploration and academic areas. For example, an 8-week career exploration pilot program for Anthropology & Sociology, and programs in Columbus that will help arts-oriented students visualize and launch careers.
The President’s strategic initiatives
President Weinberg is a visionary thought-leader in higher education. A portion of the grant will provide the flexibility and resources needed to develop exciting new models as faculty innovation, partnerships in nearby Columbus, and further opportunities present themselves.