Professor Emeritus pursues innovation in Connecticut classrooms with legacy gift

Professor Emeritus Vincent Rogers announced an endowment of $125,000 for the expansion of the Rogers Educational Innovation Fund in the Neag School of Education. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

Professor Emeritus Vincent Rogers announced an endowment of $125,000 for the expansion of the Rogers Educational Innovation Fund in the Neag School of Education. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

University of Connecticut Professor Emeritus Vincent Rogers has announced an endowment to the University’s Neag School of Education, designating a legacy gift of $125,000 to expand the Rogers Educational Innovation Fund, according to the fund’s website.  

With the expansion, “The Rogers Award” will provide $5,000 annually to an elementary or middle school teacher in the state of Connecticut for use in the classroom, the fund’s website said.

The purpose of the award is to give teachers an opportunity to enhance their classrooms in a new way that will be beneficial to the students, Rogers said.

“The idea was to ask teachers to become creative with their suggestions and not just ‘We’re going to improve math scores or get more hardware for the classroom,’” Rogers said. “For example, let's say you wanted to go to Washington to visit the Black History Museum… maybe that [$5,000] would be enough to make that happen.”

Rogers said an educational trip like that was part of his motivation to expand the fund.

Rogers said a trip his daughter and son-in-law took to New Zealand gave him the blueprint and inspiration for this award and expansion of the fund. The trip was made possible by an endowment left at Pine Point Elementary School in Mystic, Connecticut for $5,000.

“They had meetings with faculty at their school describing what they saw there and what the implications were,” Rogers said. “However, it didn’t start off with, ‘This has to show improvement in reading scores’ or anything like that. It was free and open ended and that’s kind of what I wanted to do.”

These kind of trips and ideas are what Rogers said he and the committee comprised of three Neag teacher education faculty are looking for when choosing the recipient of the award.

“We are open to virtually anything someone can suggest if you can show how this work improves or enhances the student's education,” Rogers said.

Before the expansion, the fund provided $1,000 annually to an elementary school teacher in Mansfield for the same purpose, according to the Neag School of Education Website.

The fund was started by Rogers and his late wife, Chris. Over the years, they have given out eight separate grants, the website said.

Before becoming a department head in the Neag School of Education at UConn, Rogers held positions as a professor at Syracuse University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Johns Hopkins University where he participated in the American teachers abroad program, the website said.

Rogers was later a professor at the University of Minnesota where he received the Senior Research Fulbright, which he said was used to study primary education in British schools and led to the publication of his book “The Social Education of British Children.”

For more information or to apply for the Rogers Award, visit the Rogers Educational Innovation Fund website at www.rogersfund.uconn.edu.


John Lavenburg is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at john.lavenburg@uconn.edu