Class of 2013 Faculty Development Fund

Dr. Elizabeth Kaufer Busch
Department of Leadership and American Studies
College of Social Sciences

A class gift is a student body’s way of not only leaving behind a campus legacy, but also of thanking the University and faculty for classroom and life lessons learned. Many gifts are often tangible items such as furniture, artwork or lab equipment. For the Class of 2013, however, the goal was more lofty: a gift that better reflected their CNU experience and their embrace of leadership, scholarship and service, something that would recognize in others what the students had learned to find within themselves.

The Class of 2013 collected a record amount of support from their peers, parents and friends and created the Class of 2013 Faculty Development Fund. This fund recognizes one faculty member from each college each year who distinguishes him or herself in student mentoring and excellence in service to the campus community, as well as for a proposal for an upcoming mentorship opportunity beyond the classroom.

The Center for American Studies (CAS) at Christopher Newport was formed to respond to the growing lack of civic literacy among college students and citizens, with a goal to educate the next generation toward becoming enlightened leaders and responsible citizens. Co-directed by Dr. Elizabeth Kaufer Busch, the Center promotes teaching and scholarship on America’s founding principles and history, economic foundations, and national security. The 2013 Faculty Development award will provide the necessary funding for Kaufer Busch to offer sophomore Courtney Leistensnider the opportunity to pursue advanced research as a CAS junior fellow.

“These paid internships provide students with valuable experience, useful contacts and serious training in the area of American studies, and therefore serve as an excellent springboard for their future careers, graduate studies and law school,” says Kaufer Busch.

Serving as tutors and mentors to students in American studies courses, fellows also participate in the planning and coordinating of CAS activities and undertake research projects to be presented at student conferences. In partnership with Kaufer Busch and Dr. Quentin Kidd, Vice Provost and Director of CNU's Wason Center for Public Policy, Leistensnider will conduct original research focusing on the relationship between civic literacy, volunteerism and civic engagement.

"This gift will enable me to help shape Courtney's intellectual promise, which was evident from the day I met her in an introductory American studies course," says Kaufer Busch. “I am thrilled to be able to introduce her to the collection and analysis of original data on one of our country's most important topics."