Wake Tech awarded grant from Campus Compact’s Fund for Positive Engagement

September 20, 2017

Wake Technical Community College has been awarded a $5,000 grant from national Campus Compact. The Compact’s Fund for Positive Engagement seeks to catalyze efforts to bring people together across lines of difference.

Wake Tech is one of 40 institutions across the country to receive the funding, and the only one in North Carolina. The grant competition generated nearly 300 proposals.

“We have been hearing from our member colleges and universities that students and community members cannot hold conversations with people of differing views,” said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. “We wanted to create an incentive for colleges and universities to come up with creative responses to that challenge.”

Wake Tech won for a project designed to foster “emotional intelligence,” or EI – the ability to understand emotions and use that understanding to improve relationships and problem-solving. A group of Wake Tech faculty and staff will undergo an intensive, two-day training in EI and then offer fall workshops on campus. Their goal is to reach 100 participants, some of whom will be able to put their EI skills into practice in a discussion series in the spring. The series will be videotaped to show how EI training can impact civil dialogue. The team will also create an online reflection forum for students, faculty, and staff to share their experiences in applying EI.

The team includes Emily Moore, head of Wake Tech’s Communication & Theatre Department; Rebecca Neagle, Chief Campus Officer; Elizabeth Lewis, Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and Brittany Hochstaetter, associate professor of Communication.

Moore says the group saw EI as a tool that could address the deterioration of civility: “We want to help people share differing opinions in a way that’s productive.”

Proposals were judged based on the strength of the idea, its practicality, and the degree to which it will be possible to measure success, among other criteria. Students in Campus Compact’s Newman Civic Fellows program assisted in reviewing proposals.

Wake Technical Community College has been a member of Campus Compact and of North Carolina Campus Compact, the state affiliate, since 2009.