Nine Major Universities Join Forces to Roll Out $30 Million Sanford Education Programs

June 2, 2015

Expansion of research-based Sanford Harmony and Sanford Inspire PreK-12 programs to more than 2,000 schools across the nation strengthens positive peer relations in early grades and the development of inspiring teachers

New York City, New York—June 2, 2015— A collaborative of nine universities around the country is advancing a $30 million educational initiative that supports PreK-12 student development and achievement. Based on the vision of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, the national dissemination of two research-based programs that emphasize positive peer relations and inspiring teaching is being led by nonprofit San Diego-based National University, which confers the fourth largest number of master’s degrees in education nationwide. The coordinated effort was announced today at a Brooklyn school where program implementation is underway in coordination with Long Island University (LIU).

Today’s launch of the nine-member Sanford Education Collaborative was marked by a visit by President Dr. Kim Cline of LIU, Dr. Michael R. Cunningham of National University, and Mr. Sanford to a classroom at P.S. 9 that has adopted the Sanford Harmony program.

The Sanford Education Collaborative is focused on two programs that are available to schools and districts at no cost: Sanford Harmony, which strengthens social and emotional development in PreK-6 children, and Sanford Inspire, which empowers teachers to create inspiring PreK-12 classroom experiences. The initiatives were developed at Arizona State University over the past seven years, and are now being adopted nationally through the leadership of National University, the second-largest private, nonprofit university in California.

“LIU is a leader in education and we are proud to partner with the Sanford Education Collaborative’s innovative approach to revolutionize how today’s children learn and thrive, said Kimberly R. Cline, president of LIU. “We applaud Denny Sanford as an education visionary, a compassionate, thoughtful and proactive citizen, and a true catalyst of change and betterment for the world’s children.”

The advancement of the programs to more than 2,000 schools benefits from an effective grassroots approach including strong relationships between each university’s school of education and PreK-12 schools. All members are introducing Sanford Harmony. Four are also disseminating Sanford Inspire, and two are coordinating research related to the programs. The members are:

  • National University (CA)
  • City University of Seattle (WA)
  • Long Island University (NY)
  • Nova Southeastern University (FL)
  • South Dakota State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • Touro College (NY)
  • University of Maine
  • University of South Dakota

New York University’s Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes, though not a Collaborative member, will also be providing independent research assessment related to Sanford Inspire.

“In order to be successful adults, young people need to learn at an early age how to communicate, collaborate and get along with each other,” said philanthropist and entrepreneur T. Denny Sanford. “This not only benefits them, but our society at large.”

Universities were chosen based on a number of factors including demonstrated effective clinical preparation, regional representation and institutional diversity. The two programs are expected to serve up to 50,000 teachers and reach more than 650,000 PreK through 12th grade students by the fifth year of operation.

“We are so pleased to be welcoming this stellar team of universities to the Sanford Education Collaborative,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, President of National University and Chancellor of the National University System. “These universities have demonstrated their excellence in teacher preparation and we are excited to be collaborating with them in our shared mission of helping children build the foundation for a healthier and stronger society.”

All nine Collaborative members are disseminating the Sanford Harmony program in coordination with their regional schools and school districts. Starting at the PreK/K level, Sanford Harmony encourages positive peer interactions among students through stories and interactive lessons that reinforce communication, collaboration and inclusion. The program has been found to have positive impacts in improving math and reading academic performance, improving attitudes towards school, and increasing empathy, according to ASU’s initial research findings, which also  identified reductions in gender stereotyping and classroom aggression.

Four of the Collaborative institutions—National University, Long Island University, Nova Southeastern University, and City University of Seattle—  will also advance Sanford Inspire at PreK-12 grade levels. Inspire provides educators with free, easily-accessible online learning modules and curriculum resources that promote inspiring teaching. These research-based modules include ideas for classroom activities, lessons and other approaches that benefit in-service and pre-service teachers. Sanford Inspire also provides a framework through the Collaborative for evaluating and developing inspiring teaching methodologies on a national scale.

In addition, City University of Seattle and University of Central Florida will develop and conduct research of Sanford Inspire and Harmony as Collaborative members.

The Collaborative is administered through National University’s Sanford Education Center, led by Executive Director Dr. Allyson Handley. National University has already aligned Sanford Inspire with its own teacher education curriculum, as other universities plan to do, and the University has overseen the expansion of Sanford Harmony to hundreds of classrooms nationwide in coordination with University partners. The $30 million project comes from a combination of funding that includes contributions from anonymous donations, National University and Mr. Sanford.

About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 140,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Five schools and one college—the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies—offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California. To learn more, visit www.nu.edu.

About Long Island University (LIU)
LIU is one of the nation's largest private universities. Since its founding in 1926, LIU has provided high quality academic programs taught by world-class faculty.  LIU offers 500 accredited programs to more than 20,000 students and has a network of over 200,000 alumni that includes leaders in industries across the globe. Visit liu.edu for more information.

About the Sanford Education Center at National University
The Sanford Education Center was established at National University in 2014 through a generous gift by renowned philanthropist and businessman T. Denny Sanford, to address critical needs in the education and the nonprofit sectors. The two initiatives serving PreK-12 education—Sanford Harmony and Sanford Inspire—were initially developed at Arizona State University, and National University’s Sanford Education Center is leading their national rollout through the recently-created Sanford Education Collaborative. The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, also based at the Center, is dedicated to increasing the fundraising capacity of nonprofits and cause organizations to maximize their impact on the public good through seminars, certificates and a master’s program. For more information about the Sanford Education Center at National University: http://sanfordeducationcenter.org/

Media contact:
Anna Cearley
Director of Public Relations
858-642-8163
acearley@nu.edu