NU Wins Grant for Interdisciplinary, Environmental Service-Learning Projects

By David Westerman, PhD
Norwich University Office of Academic Research

May 28, 2015

Norwich University has been selected to receive a sub-grant of up to $4,000 from a four-state Campus Compact consortium and the Davis Educational Foundation to create institutional change by embedding environmental service-learning projects into courses, thereby strengthening teaching and curriculum, student learning outcomes, and interdisciplinary approaches to education.

Management of the grant program in Vermont is by the Vermont Campus Compact.

The approved proposal, submitted by Profs. Tara Kulkarni, Matthew Lutz, Tom Roberge and Dave Westerman, calls for offering an “integrated, interdisciplinary set of curriculum modifications built around geology, environmental engineering, sustainable architecture, and outdoor education, all in collaboration with the Town of Northfield and its many partners.”

Northfield zoning administrator Michele Braun will manage the project, which aims to develop an education park about flood zones along the banks of the Dog River. Sited near Northfield’s village green, the park will also include a community garden and a playground.

In their proposal, the four Norwich faculty stated: “We do this because one of the founding principles almost 200 years ago [of Norwich] was to promote experiential learning, cast in the framework of ‘service before self.’ The University’s original concept of developing the citizen soldier has evolved to match the changing nature of our nation, now striving to develop leaders to implement change for the good, from the global stage to the local neighborhood.”

The overarching issue being addressed in this integrated project was presented as follows:

“The largest overriding issue regarding the future of Earth’s habitability is climate change, with the myriad repercussions that stem from the current warming trend. We want to focus on this tremendous issue, while carrying out a project that highlights the need for interdisciplinary solutions. Our specific project addresses living with flooding, and we seek to use this as a means of helping our students, members of the local community, and ultimately the world at large as they face the process of designing solutions to global environmental change.”

Members of the grant team will receive training in June in Portland, Me., as well as ongoing support in the development and delivery of courses that will partner with community organizations to address environmental challenges.

About the Author: David S. Westerman, PhD, is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Geology at Norwich University and the Associate Vice President for Research in the university’s Office of Academic Research.

Norwich Nets $125K Grant to Support Tech Upgrades During $6.5M Library Renovation

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University has received a $125,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust to support technology upgrades during the renovation of Kreitzberg Library.

Ground was broken on the $6.5 million library renovation last December. The project will add new workstations, group-study and collaborative-learning areas, a café and social gathering place, and significant technology upgrades. Improvements include a ten-fold increase in data speeds and capacity and a digital media commons, all to engage active learning. Students will be able to gather to study, exchange ideas, and socialize in a state-of-the-art learning environment.

The renovations will also expand the Academic Achievement Center and increase space for university counseling services and are slated to be completed before the start of the fall 2015 semester.

Kreitzberg Library was constructed 22 years ago at a time when campus libraries were designed to be “cathedrals of the book.” In a sign of how rapidly the computer and information age has transformed higher education and society, campus libraries on the leading edge today are designed to be “cathedrals of learning.” The Kreitzberg Library renovation puts the Norwich campus library squarely in the latter category.

The Kreitzberg Library renovation is part of a broader campus transformation tied to Norwich’s $100M comprehensive campaign in the lead-up to the university’s bicentennial in 2019. Initiatives include a $24M new academic building and $28M in renovations to existing academic buildings.

About the George I. Alden Trust

George I. Alden established the George I. Alden Trust on August 24, 1912. The Trust was established for the general purpose of “the maintenance of some charitable or philanthropic enterprises” with particular expressed interest in “the promotion of education in schools, colleges, or other educational institutions.” The Trustees focus their grant making on capital needs and support institutions that demonstrate a combination of educational excellence, exciting programming, and efficient and effective administration.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here:    

Media Contact:
Daphne Larkin
Assistant Director of Communications
802.485.2886, (m) 595.3613