A leader among the nation’s finest residential liberal arts colleges, Denison University has long been known as a front runner in high-end faculty mentored student research. Now, Denison is announcing that it will devote significant additional resources to funded domestic and international summer internships, allowing the college to provide paid career-exploration and research opportunities for nearly one third of its students. “Students will be able to do everything from exploring careers with financial firms in the U.S. to working with NGOs in Africa. It’s very exciting,” said Denison Vice President for Student Development Laurel Kennedy.
The college will add $5 million to its already robust endowment for summer research and internship programs. The college also will allocate another $5 million to support the addition of new academic programs at the college. These initiatives are the result of a $10 million grant to Denison from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation in support of the college’s institutional priorities.
“I am extraordinarily grateful for this support for Denison’s initiatives,” said Denison President Adam Weinberg. “The Sherman Fairchild Foundation has long been an extremely loyal and generous supporter of the college. These funds will support exciting new work being done by our faculty on new curricular initiatives, while also propelling Denison to the forefront of paid summer internship programs.”
The Summer Fellows Program, newly created and supported by the grant, will fund summer internships, both domestic and international, for Denison students. These summer experiences will take various shapes, including field-based and traditional academic research; “short but intense” externships hosted by alumni mentors at the beginning and end of summers; and summer-long internships for individual students in the greater Columbus area, which is home to Denison’s largest concentration of alumni, across the United States and abroad. Also included are internships for multiple small teams of Denison students, who may work together at a hospital in India, at NGO’s in Ghana, at an innovation-based internship in Cleveland or at a top-rated literary journal in Virginia. The Center for Career Exploration targets 250 funded internships for the inaugural summer of 2016, and by the summer of 2020, funding will support one externship or internship for every Denison student during their undergraduate experience.
The second part of the grant funds five core initiatives. They include curricular expansion, career placement, institutional visibility, faculty support and co-curricular innovation.
- Curricular expansion will focus on new academic majors, one of which, global commerce, already has been announced. In addition, Denison is making a significant investment in the arts, supporting an already robust program and elevating Denison’s position as the ideal college for arts-oriented students who prefer a liberal arts education. The college also is heavily investing in global experiences for its students across the curriculum. Finally, the college has created a special support system for first year students. Known as Advising Circles, this mentoring program provides weekly small group support for first-year students.
- Career exploration initiatives will focus on filling gaps in knowledge, skills and experience with programs and internships specifically geared towards the professions. As part of the program, Denison also is reaching out to its network of alumni and parents to help our students increase their knowledge to compete successfully in their chosen careers.
- Denison is increasing its institutional visibility through a strategic plan to broadcast our assets and outcomes via various markets. Part of the strategy here will include hiring a Director of Marketing to coordinate these efforts.
- Faculty are at the heart of the academic experience and Denison’s faculty are at the top of their fields. We are supporting our professors with on-going professional development through a newly created Center for Learning and Teaching, which will coordinate reading groups, brown-bag lunches, learning seminars and other programming. In addition, Denison is reinvigorating the Lisska Center, its hub for scholarly and intellectual work.
- A liberal arts education moves beyond the curricular into the co-curricular, intentional education that links academics with real-world issues. Denison is establishing a Design Lab that brings together students, faculty and staff to design and execute projects that create social value in communities. In addition, Denison is embracing the diversity of its student population and creating intentional environments to support our students. Finally, wellness matters. Denison is weaving together an integrated healthcare system that increases our emphasis on important contributors to student success.