For some time, units across campus have engaged LEC to provide technical and academic support for grants and special projects. Over the past few years, LEC staff members have begun authoring proposals for grants to benefit the university as a whole, and several of these have resulted in external financial support. Federal funds have been instrumental in launching university initiatives and have been used to supplement institutional dollars for major projects such as Eagle Learning Online (ELO).
In October 2009, one proposal succeeded in earning a five year, $1,954,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Education. This project, funded under the Title III Part A Strengthening Institutions Program, creates a Student Think Center to enrich the student experience and encourage student engagement in learning. The Think Center works with undergraduate students to help them understand their individual cognitive processes and to facilitate exploration of potential learning solutions. Faculty who are interested in evaluating solution-oriented teaching strategies have opportunities to develop new approaches. Two learning spaces are available as prototypes for Think Center members to experiment with flexible, collaborative learning environments. Visit http://www.usm.edu/thinkcenter to learn more.
The Learning Enhancement Center was actually established as part of a previous Title III-A grant from the U.S. Department of Education that ran from October 2001 through September 2006. You can read about that project HERE.