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Lebanon Valley College Awards Inaugural President’s Innovation Fund Grants
04.02.13 |
Lebanon Valley College announced today the first-ever grants awarded by the College’s newly created President’s Innovation Fund. A total of 13 grants were awarded to faculty and administrators from 11 academic departments and eight administrative offices of the College. The grants, which are effective immediately, will fund projects ranging from new course design to a service learning project in Peru, and collaborative diversity initiatives to the College’s first faculty-led study abroad program for incoming students.

“The faculty of Lebanon Valley College are continually innovating, trying new interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches, and building student research into their work,” Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, LVC president, said. “The idea for these Innovation Fund grants is to put additional resources behind our very entrepreneurial faculty and staff.”

The fund’s guidelines, created by a faculty committee, set three purposes for each proposal: support innovation in the development of new courses and program ideas; encourage collaboration among existing courses and programs; and, support efforts by departments or programs to achieve standards of excellence in assessing student learning outcomes. The guidelines were reviewed and revised by Greg Krikorian, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, and his team to insure that there was a co-curricular approach to student learning and program development.

“The level of innovative academic programming at LVC has escalated during the past five years,” noted Dr. Michael Green, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “Inspired first by the Pleet Initiative and Arnold Experiential Grants, and now the President’s Innovation Fund, the level of innovative and cooperative programming by our faculty is quite impressive. The numerous opportunities for student-faculty research across the curriculum—and especially in the humanities—are something that is quite distinctive about our academic programming.”

Annual grants for the inaugural President’s Innovation Fund were open to all members of the campus community, including administrators, with 13 of 20 proposals funded this year. The grants are as follows:

“Doorways to Diversity: Phase II”

Dr. Matt Sayers, Assistant Professor of Religion
Mat Samuel, Assistant Professor of Digital Communications
Meghan Johnson, Publications and Web Assistant

Sayers will expand the newly developed Doorways to Diversity project, which is currently in the pilot stage and was inspired by a previous diversity door project on campus (pictured at right). This project was conceived out of a desire to expand on the College’s commitment to promoting diversity on campus. Its aim is to find space at the junction of pedagogy, campus culture, and public art to foster a community more comfortable engaging diversity.

LVC students will assist self-selected faculty and administrators in producing door covers throughout campus. “The door covers will express some aspect of each volunteer’s identity in order to celebrate the diversity of our community, bridge gaps between the various constituencies across campus, and break down boundaries between curricular and co-curricular opportunities for learning,” said Sayers.

In Phase I, students enrolled in Samuel’s “Digital Graphic Design” class engaged members of the LVC community—faculty, administration, staff, and board members—as clients in projects meant to simulate a contractor-client relationship. “As ‘contractor,’ the student will ask the ‘client’ to complete a consult form outlining ideas, themes, colors, and other ideas for the creation of a ‘door,’ a poster designed to fit the client’s office, or other, door,” said Samuel.

“Theme Parks, Museums, and Apple Stores: Designing for Experience”
Dr. Barry Hill, Professor of Music; Director of Music Recording Technology Program
Dr. Jeff Ritchie, Chair and Associate Professor of Digital Communications

This collaborative course to be offered by the departments of digital communications and music recording technology will explore how theme parks, museums, and even retail stores engage visitors with themed, immersive environments. A wide range of expertise is required to design these types of user experiences, so the course will thrive with the participation of students from all over campus—writers, artists, composers, software programmers, business managers, engineers, etc. Case analysis and project design will be the primary focus with students working from a variety of perspectives and experiences to tackle problems and design solutions.

“This course will be distinctive because few schools offer programs such as music recording technology and digital communications,” said Ritchie. “Fewer still have any involvement in user experience design for themed/immersive applications. This is a very active industry with potential for our students; we can open up a new world of opportunity that many do not even realize exists.”

Hill added that “The College enjoys a great advantage due to its proximity to a number of sites that provide real-world case studies: HersheyPark, Chocolate World, The Hershey Story, The National Civil War Museum, the Gettysburg Visitors Center and Museum, Dutch Wonderland, and many others.”

“Establish a Pre-First Year Study Abroad Program in Quebec for Incoming Freshmen”
Dr. Kathleen Tacelosky, Chair of Languages and Associate Professor of Spanish
Dr. Jean-Marc Braem, Assistant Professor of French
Dr. Rick Chamberlin, Associate Professor of German and French
Jill Russell, Director of Study Abroad

Through this proposal from the Languages Department and the Office of Study Abroad, Tacelosky will return to the classroom as a learner, this time in Quebec, Canada. She will experience first-hand the summer program offered by the Universitié Laval. She will seek to establish a formal relationship with the university in order to facilitate future faculty-led study abroad trips for incoming students, a College first.

“Working with some of my colleagues in the Languages Department and with those in the offices of admission and study abroad, we will design a program for students who have recently graduated from high school and are entering their first year of full-time study at LVC,” Tacelosky noted. “The three- to four-week program will hopefully be the first of many pre-college study abroad seminars that the College will offer in the future.”

“Day of the Dead in Mexico”
Dr. Barbara McNulty, Director of the Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery
Dr. Kathleen Tacelosky, Chair of Languages and Associate Professor of Spanish
Jill Russell, Director of Study Abroad

A total immersion project for the gallery director and a student intern, this experience will support their real-life experience with the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico. The journey will precede a Gallery exhibit, “Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos),” which will run from Oct. 31 through Dec. 14, 2014. The visit to Mexico will enable McNulty and her intern to gain valuable background information for the preparation of the exhibition. They will also look for ways to create interdisciplinary links for this exhibition to impact curricular and co-curricular programs on campus.

“The first-hand knowledge we gain by actually observing and participating in this religious and cultural tradition will help us produce a more thought-provoking exhibition,” McNulty said. “We will be looking for ways to create interdisciplinary links for this exhibition to impact curricular and co-curricular campus programs. There will also be several special events for the LVC and regional communities that will also coincide with the Gallery’s 20th anniversary in 2014.”

“E.A.T. (Engage, Analyze, Transform)”
Dr. Bob Valgenti, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Metz Culinary Management

What would it mean to transform the College cafeteria into a shared, intellectual environment for learning, experimentation, and the exchange of ideas? The E.A.T. program aims to combine the resources of academic programs, student affairs, and dining services in order to rethink the educational space beyond the walls of traditional classrooms. The purpose of this collaboration will be to further the institutional goals of critical thinking, ethical reasoning, respect for diversity, and commitment to sustainability. This program strives to make students thoughtful eaters who view the cafeteria not as a break from their intellectual development, but as a place where the intellect is engaged, challenged, developed, and brought into contact with the pleasures of the senses.

“E.A.T. programming will be flexible, student-driven, and adaptable to the needs and interests of the campus,” Valgenti said. “E.A.T. will engage campus constituents to promote and expand the many food-related initiatives already started by the Sustainability Advisory Committee, departmental programs, multicultural affairs, the Chaplain’s office, and others.

“Further, E.A.T. programming will connect with the Colloquium Series theme, encouraging points of connection among speakers, films, and courses,” Valgenti added. “It will support the content and goals of specific courses and programs. E.A.T. will partner with Metz initiatives to celebrate and promote local food culture, agriculture, and business, and strengthen the ties between the College community and the foodscape of central Pennsylvania.”

“Intergroup Dialogue Course: Race”

Dr. Cathy Romagnolo, Associate Professor of English
Venus L. Ricks, Director of Multicultural Affairs

An academic-administrative partnership, this Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) course will be piloted this fall. IGD is a practice used to engage students across cultural and social divides, promote learning about social diversity and inequalities, and encourage an attitude of social responsibility.

LVC’s first-ever IGD course will “bring students together from two or more social identity groups to understand commonalities as well as differences,” explained Romagnolo, who will co-teach the course with Ricks. “We will examine the impact of social inequalities, and explore ways to work together for equality and social justice.”

“We are limiting course enrollment to 10 students and will ensure participants represent two or more racial identities, which is integral for the inclusion of differing viewpoints and perspectives,” said Ricks. “Class meetings will consist of discussions about historical, theoretical, and literary readings, reflective writings, and a collaborative action project.”

“Develop a ‘Flipped Classroom’ for Mathematics Classes”
Dr. David Lyons, Professor of Mathematical Sciences

Lyons will produce the program’s first instructional videos on topics from the calculus course sequence to be employed in a ‘flipped classroom’ model course. By making mini-lectures available online, more class time will be available for discussion and problem solving. The goal of this project is to produce proof-of-concept videos that will form the basis for seeking external funding to produce a complete set of videos for one or more courses.

“A potential source of relief from the pressures of the very full course syllabus is promised by the ‘flipped classroom’ model, where some of the traditional in-class demonstration time is shifted outside of class,” Lyons said. “In addition to regular homework reading and problem solving, the flipped classroom utilizes a combination of supplemental reading, instructional videos, and online problem sets between classes. Class time that was formerly used for instructor demonstrations becomes available for additional student problem solving and discussion.”

Dr. Michael Lehr, Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
Rick Beard ’90, M’92, Director of Athletics
Erin Ulrich, Head Athletic Trainer

A collaborative effort between the departments of athletics, physical therapy, and athletic training, BodyARMOR embodies innovation and collaboration between key departments. It also provides high-impact learning to doctor of physical therapy students and student-athletes.

Though already a successful program started in 2009, “…these additional financial resources will elevate the program significantly so we can obtain assessment data, driving further innovation within the program,” noted Lehr, BodyARMOR’s creator and founder.

“BodyARMOR provides a high-impact, extra-curricular service learning opportunity for the physical therapy doctoral student, enhancing the student’s academic preparation prior to entering the physical therapy profession,” Lehr added. “It will also enhance the health and athletic performance of the LVC student-athlete through “injury-risk” assessments and remedial training programs based on the sport-specific needs of the LVC student-athlete.”

“Social Justice Institute”
Venus L. Ricks, Director of Multicultural Affairs

Another long-standing innovative program that will be enhanced through a President’s Innovation Award is the Social Justice Institute (SJI), which began in 2007. SJI is an intensive three-day leadership and civic engagement opportunity offered to students every January.

“The institute’s primary purpose is to explore and understand how systems of oppression impact true equality in our society,” said Ricks. The highlight of the institute is the overnight trip to Washington, D.C., where participants visit area non-profits dedicated to social justice work and conduct service.

Feasibility of a Master’s in Athletic Training Program at LVC
Dr. Stan Dacko, chair and associate professor of physical therapy

Because of the College’s long history of success in the sciences and highly successful Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Dacko will undertake a feasibility of a program granting a master’s degree in athletic training. There is an increasing need for certified athletic trainers to advance to a post professional degree as the profession assumes more clinical and administrative responsibilities.

According to Dacko, “An athletic training program would be an especially good fit with LVC due to the large number of student athletes, excellent facilities, and the possible interaction with the physical therapy and athletic departments.”

Course Redesign: Philosophy 110, Introduction to Philosophy
Dr. Noel Hubler, professor of philosophy

Hubler will model his course, Philosophy 110, Introduction to Philosophy, as an inverted course, as developed by Eric Mazur of Harvard University and others. Hubler will create a dozen podcast lectures to enhance student learning outside the classroom. The goal of an inverted course is to perform the transfer of information outside the classroom and devote class time to problem solving and application.

“An inverted classroom also seeks to make students more active in the learning process by giving them control over the timing and pace of the lecture material,” noted Hubler. “Interactive materials and projects can also be linked to the online lectures.”

Athenian Democracy and the Peloponnesian War; The Trial of Socrates; The Scientific Revolution of the Seventeenth Century; and Marx on Value, Price, and Profit are just a few of the lectures that Hubler will convert. He has previously created podcasts for lectures in his Philosophy 229 course, including The Great Depression and New Deal; Impacts of WWII on American Society; The Cold War, and others.

International Service Learning in Peru
Dr. Paul Fullmer, chaplain and director of service and volunteerism
Dr. Kathleen Tacelosky, chair of languages and associate professor of Spanish
Dr. Gabriela McEvoy, assistant professor of Spanish
Jill Russell, director of study abroad

Faculty in the Languages Department will collaborate with the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism to develop a collaborative teaching and service experience that draws on the best practices of both the academic and the student affairs areas. Service will focus on needs identified at the José Gálvez Barrenechea (JGB) Elementary School located in Callao. The school serves more than 400 students from low-income families. Though part of the public system, the school receives very little support from the government and faces unusual hardships.

“The creation of a school library and the improvement of the environment of the classrooms are two primary projects that our students will undertake,” according to McEvoy. LVC students will collect books within the LVC community and take them to the school. Once in Peru, students will read select English texts to JGB students with the goal of helping them in their English reading comprehension and pronunciation. They will also work to decorate the classrooms to create a more stimulating environment and to increase learning outcomes.

“An international volunteer opportunity of this nature will have many advantages for our students,” said Rev. Fullmer. “It will allow them to see a different way of life and to practice teamwork skills within an international environment.”

Develop and Team-Teaching a New Course, English 126, Elements of Writing
Dr. Gary Grieve-Carlson, professor of English, director of general education

This project involves the development and team-teaching of a new course, English 126, “Elements of Writing.” This course will be innovative in two major respects according to Grieve-Carlson. “First, it will be the only course at LVC that focuses strictly on the teaching of writing at the sentence level. Our first-year writing and writing-process courses focus primarily on teaching writing at the essay level.

“The second innovative aspect of this course will be the use of two student ‘teaching assistants,’ who will help design the course, including textbook, exercise, and assignment selection” added Grieve-Carlson. “During the class, these students will lead small-group activities, conduct tutoring sessions, and occasionally teach a lesson.”

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