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Laurel Kieffer to coordinate Title III grant activities

RELEASED: Feb. 9, 2010

Laurel Kieffer
Laurel Kieffer

EAU CLAIRE — Laurel Kieffer, previously a lecturer in women's studies, will coordinate activities related to the implementation of a nearly $1.75 million federal Title III U.S. Department of Education grant received in October 2009 by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

"The Title III grant provides resources to help UW-Eau Claire with key curricular revisions and enhanced advising," said Dr. Susan Turell, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of undergraduate studies. "Laurel Kieffer brings the skills and experience necessary to help UW-Eau Claire get started on our Title III grant tasks. She has extensive experience with grant management, possesses exceptional communication skills, is a quick study, and brings a lot of energy and initiative to the project. And since she knows our campus well, she will be able to work with people to start project initiatives very quickly."

Kieffer, who has taught in the women's studies program for 11 years, has developed and taught classes on women and violence, eco-feminism, and women and work. She also taught two Women's Studies 100 sections each semester.

"I look forward to beginning the Title III work by getting acquainted with the people already involved in the effort to create a new approach to liberal education core classes," Kieffer said. "We have some ambitious goals that will be challenging and exciting as we work to improve our students' education and experiences at UW-Eau Claire."

UW-Eau Claire was one of just 57 colleges and universities nationwide to receive a grant in 2009 through the Strengthening Institutions program of the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant will support a five-year project at UW-Eau Claire to:

  • create and implement a more integrated core liberal education program that more deeply engages first- and second-year students;
  • develop core liberal education courses and living-learning communities in the residence halls that enrich students' global and multicultural experiences; and
  • implement an advising system that engages students in more intentionally planning their college careers.

More than 60 percent of the grant will be used to pay experts already among UW-Eau Claire's faculty and staff to accomplish these tasks, said Turell. Faculty and staff support will largely consist of stipends to supplement their already contracted work, she said.

Other grant funds will be used to pay a project coordinator, students who will serve as mentors for living-learning communities and trainers for the new advising system, and outside experts who will consult with the project team on best national practices.

"This project will involve curricular redesign based on research for best educational practices in higher education," Turell said. "We will streamline our core liberal education requirements while organizing the experience to become more purposeful and integrated for students. We will connect our core liberal education program more intentionally to high-impact practices — experiences that have a strong positive impact on student learning, retention and graduation."

For more information, contact Laurel Kieffer at 715-836-3789 or kieffelb@uwec.edu.

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JB/DW

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