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Greenville Business Magazine

Furman President Receives National Award For Excellence In Experiential Education

Sep 18, 2018 10:20AM ● By Kathleen Maris

In October 2016, Furman University President Elizabeth Davis unveiled The Furman Advantage, a strategic vision that combines learning with immersive experiences outside the classroom and provides students with more intentional mentoring, advising, and reflection.

This month, the National Society of Experiential Education (NSEE) recognized that effort by selecting Davis as the 2018 recipient of the William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education.

The award recognizes a sitting college president who has made “significant contributions to experiential education and exemplifies a commitment to college students through entrepreneurial support of experiential education on campus and in the community.” The honor is presented by NSEE and funded by The Washington Center for Academic Internships and Seminars in memory of Washington Center founder William M. Burke.

“Elizabeth Davis is highly deserving of this prestigious honor,” said Stephanie Thomason, president of the National Society for Experiential Education. “She has been the creative and driving force behind The Furman Advantage, which focuses on quality teaching, undergraduate research, study away experiences, and internships. Her leadership has been instrumental in expanding and enhancing experiential learning at Furman.”   

The Burke Award includes a $2,000 scholarship that will be awarded to a deserving Furman student who is involved in experiential learning. Davis will be honored at the 2018 NSEE Conference Awards Luncheon to be held Sept. 25 in Savannah, Ga.

Davis was named Furman’s 12th president on July 1, 2014. She is a member of the Council of Presidents, which provides guidance to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges on issues of governance in higher education, as well as a member of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Board of Directors.

The Furman Advantage is made possible by the financial generosity of The Duke Endowment, which provided a total of $47 million to launch the program in 2016. Another $2.5 million grant from the Endowment has allowed the university to partner with global analytics firm Gallup to study the impact of the university’s undergraduate experience and measure the effectiveness of The Furman Advantage.

The National Society for Experiential Education is a nonprofit membership organization composed of educators, businesses, and community leaders. Founded in 1971, NSEE also serves as a national resource center for the development and improvement of experiential education programs nationwide.