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Ohio Wesleyan University Receives $100,000 Mellon Foundation Grant
Funding Supports Development of New ‘OWU Connection’ Curricular Plan

July 28, 2010

DELAWARE, OH – Ohio Wesleyan University has been awarded a two-year, $100,000 Officer’s Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support faculty efforts to enhance the student curriculum.

The funding will support elements of Ohio Wesleyan’s new “OWU Connection” curricular plan, which reflects the university’s commitment to providing students with challenging coursework that connects academic theory to real-world practice and prepares them for citizenship and leadership in an increasingly global society.

“The goal of OWU Connection is to enhance the academic experience by providing multiple opportunities for our students to cross boundaries and discover how seemingly disparate areas relate and connect,” said Rock Jones, Ph.D., president of Ohio Wesleyan. “Such opportunities will complement the rigor of the classroom with a series of engaged learning experiences beyond the walls of the classroom and the borders of campus, including substantially increased opportunities for international study and travel. Students will seek out and discover intellectual, personal, and global intersections designed to prepare them for leadership and problem-solving in a global society.”

The OWU Connection, being piloted this fall, contains four elements:

  • A new first-year course to help students take ownership of their educations and get the most out of their time at Ohio Wesleyan.
  • A new Course Connection network to allow students to explore topics of interest from multiple academic disciplines.
  • Expanded travel-learning courses to provide students with more international experiences and opportunities, as well as the ability to incorporate travel experiences into their coursework.
  • Expanded independent project opportunities that enable students to bring new ideas to support their work, collaborate with faculty advisers, and share their experiences with peers and professionals.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Mellon Foundation grant will support faculty in the creation and implementation of up to 10 interdisciplinary Course Connection networks and three related travel-learning courses over the next two academic years. Examples may include networked studies of “The American Landscape,” “Global Sustainability in the 21st Century,” and “Health and Society.”

“We believe these initiatives offer significant potential for enhancing the educational experiences of our students by allowing them to examine connections among various disciplines and to experience the relationship between the undergraduate classroom and the global context in which they will live and work,” Jones said. “The university has much to learn through the pilot phase of OWU Connection and will be eager to share our experiences with others beyond our campus. We are extremely appreciative of the Mellon Foundation’s support of and participation in our efforts to create a liberal arts curriculum for the 21st century.”

Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 22 Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 45 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan earned a 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in General Community Service, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.