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Teaching and Learning Council Grants Announced

Funds from Provost’s Office Support Array of Initiatives

Assoc. Prof. Judy Davidson, one of the recipients of the 2009 Teaching and Learning Council Grants, will use funds to help incoming college students succeed.

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The Provost’s Office has announced the 2009 recipients of the Teaching and Learning Council (TLC) grants, which are designed to support research and scholarship through seed funding.

This year’s recipients were Assoc. Prof. Judy Davidson, Asst. Prof. Cynthia Ferrara, Prof. Sarah Kuhn, Prof. John Duffy, and Assoc. Prof. Doreen Arcus.

Davidson, of the Graduate School of Education, will use a $5,000 award on an effort to help undergraduate students make thoughtful academic choices. Strategies call for development of a package of curricular tools, and creation of a new course.

“Drawing on several emerging approaches in education, including autoethnography (self-study techniques performed by the students themselves,) arts-based research and digital storytelling, we will create a new undergraduate course called Understanding Education,” says Davidson.

Ferrara, of physical therapy, will use a $2,250 grant to develop a new seminar and offer social and learning activities to freshman exercise physiology majors to help them succeed in their first year of college.

“We anticipate that the new program will improve student success and retention,” says Ferrara.

Kuhn, of RESD, will use a grant of $4,500 to create a learning community for faculty dedicated to exploring, developing and testing the benefits of active, multi-sensory and arts-based learning in a wide range of disciplines.

“We’ll use learning communities to develop new approaches to teaching and learning, test our approaches with the best available research, and develop a model of education that can successfully attract outside funding to continue and expand our work,” says Kuhn.

A $5,000 grant awarded to Duffy, of mechanical engineering, will build on the success of the Village Empowerment Program, an effort that has supported nearly 50 Peruvian cities and towns through the installation of renewable energy systems, and programs to improve health care, education, communication, energy, water, food production and housing needs using sustainable strategies.

“Our initial efforts have evolved to include microenterprise development of fish farming, solar lanterns and headlamps, solar irrigation, and solar water bottle purification,” says Duffy. “This grant will take our work to the next level by funding a multi-disciplinary course on global poverty with a specific emphasis on the Peruvian villages.”

Nine faculty members from a wide range of disciplines have volunteered to team-teach the course.

Arcus, associate professor and director of the honors program, will use a $4,700 grant to support development of electronic resources for faculty members interested in teaching honors courses.

“Research indicates that participation in honors courses may have important implications for student retention and success by facilitating active student engagement, collaboration and communication.

“Supporting faculty who may want to teach honors classes, but may not have much preparation time, is important,” says Arcus. “This grant will ensure that materials and information are readily available on the honors website.”

- Sheila_Eppolito

Assoc. Prof. Doreen Arcus will use grant money to support professors teaching honors courses.