Piedmont College students will soon have greater access to real-world experience outside the classroom.
The school’s Compass Program, which allows students to work with a faculty or staff sponsor to design a new project, was recently awarded a $44,650 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and the national Council of Independent Colleges.
The grant will go toward training of these faculty and staff sponsors, according to the Rev. Ashley Cleere, chaplain and Compass Program director.
It will also enable students to attend the 2017 International Congregational Fellowship conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
“Compass was created at Piedmont in 2013 as a way to help all of our students become self-directed learners,” Cleere said. “It gets them thinking at an early stage about how their academic work shapes not only their professional lives, but their worldview.”
Students in the program design a project that relates to an existing interest and builds upon it. Cleere said recent projects included the creation of an Olympic-style event for area special needs students to assisting with bear research at an Athens animal sanctuary. Students have also fundraised to provide safe heaters for families in need and aided a local free clinic for residents without medical insurance.
Piedmont President James Mellichamp said the grant will not only benefit students, but also faculty and staff, who will attend conferences on experiential learning and contemplation in higher education.