Trinity to Create Job of Director of Urban Educational Initiatives

Appointment made possible by Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Grant

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has awarded Trinity a two-year, $200,000 grant to create the position of Director of Urban Educational Initiatives, which will allow the College to maximize its partnerships with K-12 schools in Greater Hartford. The new director also will be empowered to develop new partnerships, invigorating and strengthening educational opportunities for thousands of schoolchildren, and work toward the goal of improving educational outcomes and lowering barriers to college.

Trinity’s many urban programs and activities, some of which are

Students from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy attend a summer skills workshop on the Trinity campus.
longstanding and others are relatively new, will be coordinated by the new academic administrator, who will have faculty status and teach classes. An integral facet of the job will be to work directly with the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA), an innovative early college model of public education that was established in 2011.

The Hartford Foundation grant will support the position for two years, after which the College will sustain the position through institutional resources and philanthropic investments.

“Trinity College is a valuable community partner in the effort to make certain all of our region’s children have the opportunity to succeed,” said Linda J. Kelly, president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. “The grant will help to ensure that the College can continue to deepen and broaden its partnerships in urban education, and assist local students in their efforts to be college and career ready.” 

Noting that Trinity is “very grateful to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for providing the funding,” Associate Academic Dean Melanie Stein said, “Filling this new leadership position will ensure that partnerships between the College and local schools best serve the children of Hartford, as well as Trinity students and faculty. The director will ultimately optimize the College’s efforts to invigorate and strengthen education throughout our community.”

Currently, Trinity’s urban programs are scattered throughout the College and overseen by different administrators and faculty members. The hiring will allow for greater coordination and optimal use of existing resources.

In the College’s application to the Foundation, Trinity President James F. Jones, Jr., wrote, “Trinity is inextricably tied to its home city, and has placed initiatives to support students and teachers, improve educational outcomes, and reduce real or perceived barriers to higher education for Hartford students squarely within its mission…While the College’s work has had a positive impact thus far, an academic administrator – a single point of contact and resource for faculty, students, Hartford school administrators and teachers  -- is critical to our ability to maximize scale, scope and outcomes.”

Jones also noted that Trinity and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving “have a long history of successful and transformational collaborations for the direct benefit of our community.” Jones said the Foundation’s seed investment will permit the College to fully leverage student and faculty resources and expertise in ways that enhance educational achievement in significant and measurable ways.

Board of Trustees Chairman Paul Raether ’68, P’93, ’96, ’01, underscored that point. “The director will serve as an educational expert and liaison between faculty, community partners, and schools, as well as a repository for information, enabling the College to expand and enhance its urban education programs.”

Currently, Trinity’s urban initiatives range from educational programming to formal partnerships with schools having dance, literacy and sports programs.

Among the specific urban initiatives that the College is involved with are:

•    The Community Learning Initiative (CLI), which serves as a model for other colleges and universities. CLI represents the best of experiential learning; a faculty member works in partnership with a person or group from Greater Hartford to involve students in ways they could not get in the classroom alone. CLI involves almost all of the College’s academic departments, more than 80 community organizations and about half of Trinity students.

•    Local educational initiatives with elementary and secondary schools such as after-school recreational programs; the learn-to-skate program at the Koeppel Community Sports Center; the College’s neighborhood technology center (Trinfo Café); the community tennis program at the Assaiante Tennis Center; the citywide STEM fair; Samba Fest; and Moving Matters!

•    Tutoring, academic enrichment and a SAT and college-prep program that’s offered to approximately 250 children annually in grades K-12 through Dream Camp, a summer and after-school program that encompasses leadership development and is funded, in part, by the Hartford Foundation. The Trinity Boys and Girls Club provides academic support to city children, and the Jones Zimmerman Academic Mentoring Program (J-ZAMP) has offered homework assistance to HMTCA students for more than a decade. A partnership with M.D. Fox Elementary School brings 80 students to campus weekly for tutoring and mentoring through ConnectictiKids.

•    The Individualized Degree Program (IDP) for adult students, founded in 1973, has nearly 700 alumni and is tailored to help adults from Greater Hartford complete an undergraduate liberal arts education over an extended period of time. More than 80 percent of IDP students received need-based financial aid.

•    HMTCA is a tangible commitment on Trinity’s part to deepen its connection and service to the community. The partnership allows HMTCA to receive advising on curriculum that will help prepare students for college. HMTCA academic coaches work with Trinity faculty to establish the skills needed for a college student to succeed. Summer programs consist of writing and science skills workshops. An after-school Academic Center provides tutoring, homework assistance and support. Lastly, as high-achieving students enter their senior year, the partnership will make it possible for select students to participate in a limited number of course options at Trinity.