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Engineering faculty demonstrate their active learning equipment.

Grants & Awards

CETL offers grant funding to faculty and departments to support academic and pedagogical innovation that enhances student learning.  Currently, we offer three types of grants - Dow Professor, Department Innovation, and Open Education Resources. 


 Click on each title below to learn more about upcoming opportunities:

Dow Professor Award

The purpose of the award is to support the work of individual tenure-track faculty or teams of faculty for year-long pedagogical innovation projects that enhance student learning.  Funded by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, these projects will demonstrate the use of evidence-based practices and innovative pedagogy to address a learning need.  Every year we offer 5-6 teaching innovation grants. The grants are submitted through the Office of Sponsored Programs and are evaluated by a committee of faculty members.

Due date: 4:30 P.M. March 15th yearly or the next business day if the due date falls on the weekend.

For more details, see the Grant guidelines and application on InfoReady.  The guidelines are open from late in the fall semester until the due date.

Department Innovation Grants

Every year the Provost provides funding for up to three Department grants that support innovative department projects that will improve teaching or other department practices related to student learning and success.  The project should be tied to an area of need identified in a recent 5-year review, accreditation report, or annual departmental planning report.  Selected departments implement a two-year project that is focused on implementing and assessing creative student learning experiences at the department level.

 Due date: 4:30 P.M. March 15th yearly or the next business day if the due date falls on the weekend.

For more details, see the Grant guidelines and application on InfoReady.  The guidelines are open from late in the fall semester until the due date.

Pathways for Rural Student Success at SVSU Faculty Learning Community Grant

The purpose of the grant is to support the success of rural students at SVSU.

Faculty learning communities (FLC) have been shown to be an effective way to address faculty professional development, particularly in addressing students’ learning needs. They have also improved teaching effectiveness and provided professional benefits to the faculty involved. FLCs are in alignment with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) goals to promote the understanding and implementation of high-impact, evidenced-based pedagogical practices; and to build a community of faculty who are engaged in discussion on the topics of teaching and learning.

This FLC grant will support department-based faculty learning communities in the development and implementation of best practices related to a course revision that will enhance rural student access, retention, and success. Student Success is defined as existing across six domains: Academic Progress; Engagement and Belonging; Career Preparation; Student Satisfaction and Well-Being; Academic Optimism (self-efficacy and personal goal attainment); DEI, Global Views, Citizenship

Pedagogical changes could include, but are not limited to:

  • adopting early and frequent low-stakes assessments across all sections,
  • standardizing assessments,
  • revising grading practices,
  • developing active learning teaching methods,
  • leveraging supplemental instruction,
  • building experiential learning activities for existing courses,
  • developing online sections of important courses,
  • supporting career preparation,
  • tailoring learning activities to rural students interests or experiences,
  • developing courses that could be taught out of rural high schools, or
  • making courses more affordable through the incorporation of Open Education Resource (OERs).

To support student success and facilitate the tracking of grant impacts, a system of digital badging will be developed for all supported classes. Priority will be given to departments seeking to make changes to the classroom experience in a high-enrollment first-year course (or sequenced courses). Any changes made will be sustained after the grant period ends.

Ideally, each FLC should include several faculty from the department who teach the course or sequence of courses being improved.

Due date: 4:30 pm April 15, 2024

Grant guidelines and application

 Faculty Learning Communities

Faculty learning communities (FLC) have been shown to be an effective way to address faculty professional development, particularly in addressing the learning needs of students. They have also improved teaching effectiveness and provided professional benefits to the faculty involved. FLCs are in alignment with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) goals to promote the understanding and implementation of high-impact, evidence-based pedagogical practices; and to build a community of faculty who are engaged in discussion on the topics of teaching and learning.

Due date: 4:30 P.M. April 15th yearly or the next business day if the due date falls on the weekend.

Please review the guidelines and application for details of each community.  The guidelines are available from early in the winter semester until the due date.

Teaching Awards

Online Teaching Award

This award recognizes a full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in online teaching by creatively and effectively using appropriate technologies and best practices to design and teach online and/or hybrid courses at SVSU. The recipient must have designed and taught one or more online or hybrid courses using innovative instructional approaches and appropriate technologies with a demonstrated impact on student learning. Alumni, students, faculty, and staff may nominate candidates.

Mary H. Anderson Adjunct Faculty Award

Mary H. Anderson, was an adjunct faculty member at both Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University, where she taught private lessons and chamber music. She was the founder and director of the Delta Flute Choir formed in 1975.  To recognize Mary Anderson’s commitment to her professional area, to the betterment of the community in which she lived, and to the instruction of those who are interested in achieving their full potential, an award is has been established in her name to recognize outstanding adjunct faculty at Saginaw Valley State University.

Nomination forms for both awards can be found on the All University Awards page.



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Click on the arrows to read more about our current projects and the various expanding tabs below to learn more about our past funded projects.

Past Projects 

Click on each title below to expand it for more information on the past projects for that year

Dow Professor Grant Recipients

Rajani Muraleedharan Sreekumarid, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Title: Advancing Engineering Ethics Education Using Active Learning 

Ethics is a crucial topic in any engineering program as today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders and innovators who are expected to behave in an ethical manner.  Unlike technical skills, teaching engineering students to develop ethical decision-making skill is a challenge and require non-conventional teaching methods.  In this project, active learning strategies (role-playing) are used to teach ethics for electrical engineering students, so they understand ethics violation and the moral responsibilities to seek justice.  In this project, engineering students will research on current engineering ethics case studies, review the ethics code by National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) code of ethics and bring it to life by collaborating with theatre students to learn cross-disciplinary skills such as skit development, performance, and filming.  The project aims at empowering students in any program to positively contribute to ethical responsibility by reevaluating their individual perceptions and embracing new perspectives to make moral judgements.

AKM Monayem Mazumder, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Title: Enhancement of Student Learning in ME 252 Engineering Dynamics Course by Active Learning Pedagogical Demonstration

This project enhances student learning in a gateway engineering dynamics course by modifying the instructional design to incorporate hands-on learning activities.  The project targets Mechanical Engineering (ME) undergraduate students, for whom ME 252 Engineering Dynamics is a required foundational course.  The project’s goal is to improve students’ understanding of engineering dynamics principles, increase the pass rate in ME252, and better prepare students for higher-level courses.  The funds will be used to purchase and make/assemble pedagogical demonstration materials which students will manipulate in the classroom to solve problems and learn fundamental concepts.  In addition, the Socrative app will be used to engage students in post-activity reflection and to analyze the impact of those activities on the students’ understanding level.  It is anticipated that the use of these pedagogical demonstration materials will improve student success.  An analysis of student success data will be shared with the SVSU community and presented at a professional conference.

Michael Coote, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Adam Warhausen, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Title: Worked Examples Video Library to Impact Student Skills in the General Chemistry Sequence

A video library of short, specifically focused walk-throughs of frequently used skills and calculations in general chemistry will be created to assist students in a step-by-step fashion. Because the videos are specific to a single problem type or skill and short in duration (less than 5 minutes) they are more likely to be useful to a student who has become stuck and just needs a gentle nudge to continue. With a voice-over accompanying the walk-through, the students will be able to see in real-time as the example is worked and what the thinking is behind each step in the process. 

Kimberly Lacey, Associate Professor of English

Title: 2021 Digital Media and Composition Institute 

Funding to support attendance at the 2021 Digital Media and Composition Institute (DMAC). Attending DMAC supports my pedagogical and research goals of interdisciplinary studies in the areas of digital media and composition. Rather than writing towards an imagined audience, as students often do in typical composition classrooms, developing digital texts with various tools speaks directly to the emphasis on multimodal texts in the field of composition. Based on what I learn at DMAC, I will create and implement new assignments in ENGL 111 and 212 and assist my colleagues, in and beyond my department, do the same by creating workshops.

Ashraf Khan, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Yu Zou, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Title: Supporting Student Success and Retention in ECE 235 Circuit Theory by Creating an Archive of Videotaped Problem Solving Demonstrations

ECE 235 Circuit Theory is a required freshman gate-keeper course in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department and is a cross-listed course for the Mechanical Engineering and the Engineering and Technology Management programs.  An understanding of circuit theory is crucial for the future success of Electrical Engineering students, and it is important for ME and ETM students too. However, the students from all the programs face various degrees of challenges mastering Circuit Theory, as both our experiences and research show.  Ideally, students learn various techniques to solve circuital problems; it is especially important that they develop the capability to decide which technique will be more efficient or appropriate for a given circuital problem.  The goal of this project is to support student success and retention in ECE 235 by creating an archive of videotaped problem-solving demonstrations.  Since the instructors usually present and explain the problem solutions in the lectures, a student will be hired in this project to develop the proposed demonstration videos to provide future students with students’ angles of understandings.  The expected outcome is that this resource will, in the long run, help students learn multiple ways to understand, explain and solve problems, thus fostering their success and improve the ECE program retention rate.

Department Grant Recipients

Department of Physics

Chris Nakamura, Marian Shih, Kavi Senanayake, Matthew Vannette

Title: Physics Lab Curriculum Reform for Flexible Instruction Targeting Skills 

The department has long agreed that our introductory laboratory curriculum needs revision to meet our pedagogical goals.  Recently, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) recommended labs focus on development of experimental and critical thinking skills over physics content.  This emphasis is in line with our goals.  Our innovative COVID-19 response, achieved without additional funds, produced labs amenable to fully remote instruction.  Our flexible, kit-based labs allow students to work on-campus or at home, or a blend of both.They also present a shift towards emphasis on skills over content.  This achievement is just the beginning of what we can and should do.  The requested funds will support our introductory lab curriculum redesign across the 3 introductory physics levels. Our goal is three sets of flexible experiments, written instructional materials, video support and course designs that we can use on-campus or online to provide the best possible introductory physics laboratory instruction.

 Department of Sociology

Warren Fincher, Rosina Hassoun

Title: Experiential Learning with Community Service: Creating a Community Research lab

Prompted by an external review, the department wishes to establish an ongoing research forum – a “community research lab” — that will link local nonprofits in need of research assistance with faculty and students in the Sociology Department.  We believe that this will be beneficial both to the community partners by providing them with needed research resources and to mid-program and advanced sociology students, who stand to gain practical research skills and consequently bolster their graduate school and employment prospects.  As this program is only getting started, awarded funds will help establish the research lab as a community resource. The goals for the first year include completing a research project for a local community group (qualitative and/or quantitative in nature), involving at least five sociology majors or minors, from the early stages of the project formation through to delivery of final research results.

Open Education Resource (OER) Grant Recipients

Emily Beard-Bohn, Associate Professor of English

Adapt Grant, FLC Member

I will expand the use of OER in my course by incorporating additional supplemental materials with class discussion on the issues/themes in current times.

Katherine Cottrell-Donahue, Lecturer, Department of Biology

Adopt, Create, and Share Grant

This project incorporates Open Educational Resources into 2 classes: Biol 105 A & 105 C.  Biol 105A has traditional topic coverage and large enrollment making it ideal to implement an existing OER text to provide financial relief to students.  In 105C, materials will be created and/or curated to provide the necessary science in an engaging, level appropriate way which helps students realize the importance of science in their everyday life.  These changes complement previous efforts to create Open Education Resources labs to reduce the cost of material to students while aligning instruction more closely to course objectives.

Monika Dix, Professor of Modern Foreign Languages

Adopt Grant

This project will support adopting and curating existing OER materials across 3 classes: MFL 205, GER 111, and GER 112.  These efforts will allow the courses to be updated, while decreasing the cost to students and potentially boosting enrollments.  Because open materials are fully revisable and remixable, they can be customized to fit the way an instructor wants to teach a course.

James Hitt, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Create and Share Grant, FLC Member

The goal of this project is to create materials in the language and framework of the profession which address applied health care ethics.  This will allow for new formative and summative assessments which go beyond the traditional Canvas quiz and promote critical thinking in students.

Julie Keil, Associate Professor of Political Science

FLC Member

Kellie Konsor, Associate Professor of Economics

Adapt Grant, FLC Member

My goal for this project is to reduce the financial strain for students, enhance student engagement while increasing instructional flexibility.  By incorporating OER I am able to reduce student cost and further explore experiential learning specific to my course objectives.

Bob Lane, Professor of Political Science

Adopt Grant

Updating the course I have taught for 30 years to incorporate OER allows me to precisely tailor the course content to what is best suited for my students while reducing the cost.  I will utilize OER textbooks along with current film and news stories to engage my students in active learning.

Grace McClurkin, Assistant Professor of Mathematical Sciences

Extend Grant, FLC Member

Her work with CETL focuses on creating OER for General Education Statistics courses, specifically a collection of note-taking guides, videos, and associated quizzes.  More broadly, she is interested in using active learning and alternative assessment to foster students’ mathematical identity.

This project focuses on extending the work done in a previous OER grant, by creating OER associated with several topics that were not addressed in the original course design, specifically topics surrounding scatterplots and paired data analysis.  The OER will be compiled and added to the shared course on Canvas Commons course, which is shared with the university for other instructors to use and incorporate into their courses at their discretion.  The topics addressed in the new sections created with the support of the extension grant will allow more faculty to utilize the OER by providing broader content coverage, thus allowing them to more fully adapt the materials to their course objectives.

Joshua Mike, Assistant Professor of Mathematical Sciences

FLC Member

This project is to create an OER-based, active-learning centered discrete mathematics course which emphasizes the relationships between formal logic, set theory, and proof.

Travis Pashak, Associate Professor of Psychology

Adopt Grant

In this project I will do an overhaul of my PSYC-100 General Psychology course to use OER materials rather than relying on a traditional textbook.  I anticipate teaching 2 sections of General Psychology per year with the potential to impact 100-120 students.  This will allow me to reduce costs to students and also revise my instruction away from a traditional textbook.

Helen Raica-Klotz, Lecturer, Department of English

Adapt Grant

I will be incorporating free and open educational resources into my ENG 212 course on the immigrant experience.  These resources will allow my students to access a more robust selection of materials.

Kavi Senanayake, Assistant Professor of Physics

Adopt Grant, FLC Member

In this project I will design and develop interactive group and individual activities that align with the topics covered in the General Physics 1 course using PHET simulations.

Tommy Wedge, Assistant Professor of Theatre

FLC Member


Dow Professor Grant Recipients:

Jennifer Chaytor, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Title: Evaluating the Accuracy and Effectiveness of Transcribed Biochemistry Videos 

The hybrid Survey of Biochemistry course utilizes Echo360 videos to distribute lecture content. This project will evaluate the switch to transcribed videos to provide students with a written transcript of the lecture material. The first part of the project will determine the accuracy of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) for Biochemistry, a highly technical science course. The second part of this project will examine whether there are additional benefits to transcribed videos beyond addressing student accessibility requirements.


Mark Giesler, Professor of Social Work Shaun Bangert, Professor of Art

Title: Bringing Photovoice to SVSU: A Social Work-Art Department Collaborative

This project brings together SVSU's Social Work and Art Departments for the creation and implementation of two identical elective courses in the Master of Social Work curriculum. Mark Giesler, Professor of Social Work, will collaborate with Shaun Bangert, Professor of Art, and Sara Clark, Art Studio Technician, to introduce students to Photovoice, a form of qualitative research in which subjects who are part of a vulnerable or marginalized population are asked to take photos and write narratives that represent their lived experiences. Twenty Master-level social work students and 8 art students between the two semesters will be involved in this project. The social work students will be representatives of a vulnerable population. The art students will be "guest lecturers," teaching the social work students the essentials of photography, and serving as resources for organizing, displaying, and marketing the exhibition of photos.


Jean Prast, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy; Ellen Herlache-Pretzer, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy; Sally Decker, Professor of Nursing; Andrea Frederick, Associate Professor of Nursing & Catherine Macomber, Associate Professor of Social Work,

Title: Healthcare Escape Room

The creation of a Healthcare Escape Room is proposed by an interprofessional group of faculty members (Jean Prast, Ellen Herlache-Pretzer, Sally Decker, Andrea Frederick, and Cathy Macomber) from the College of Health and Human Services (HHS), as an innovative strategy to promote student success in interprofessional education. Faculty, staff, and student participants will enhance their skills in the areas of interprofessional teamwork and communication, consultation, and care plan development. The Healthcare Escape Room will involve problem-solving activities based on a provided patient scenario that requires communication and collaboration by an assigned interprofessional group to escape the room. Participation in the Healthcare Escape Room is expected to promote enhanced skill development in key interprofessional competencies to meet the interprofessional education mission of HHS. 


Peggy Jones, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Title: Creating digital and hard copy resources to support instruction and learning for formal fab report writing 

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) faculty teach undergraduates technical writing without training in writing instruction, and the Writing Center lacks resources to coach STEM writing. This project will develop online and hardcopy resources focused on writing a formal lab report in the form of a journal article. These STEM resources can be used by faculty, students, and by Writing Center tutors. The project will be conducted by Prof. Jones in Mechanical Engineering and a Writing Center tutor majoring in Engineering, with support from the Writing Center leadership. The initial deliverables will be piloted in ME250 in the F'20 semester. 

Department Grant Recipients:

J. Blake Johnson, Professor of Art, & Shaun Bangert, Professor of Art

Title: Improving Video with Better Sound and Lighting 

Professors J. Blake Johnson (Art) and Shaun Bangert (Art) are seeking funds to improve the video capabilities of Art Department(AD) students and Cardinal Solutions(CS) (an interdisciplinary team of SVSU students and faculty members). Currently, the AD has poor equipment for capturing sound when making videos. Video is growing in demand for CS, and students taking ART-420. The videos produced become part of student portfolios. It is our goal to make sure these portfolios are outstanding as it represents the quality of education they have received as SVSU. Professional work cannot be achieved when the audio portion of the video contains hiss or muffled sounds. The AD equipment was used by CS students for two recent projects (Discover Great Lakes Bay/ St. Johns Public Schools). Days of extra editing were needed to improve the sound quality. Improvements were made, but not to the level of professionalism expected of our students.


Aneesha Gogineni, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering; John Herman, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Peggy Jones, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Title: Hands-on Active Learning Approach in Mechanical Engineering Courses

The proposal seeks funding to further develop the active learning approach being practiced in the
mechanical engineering department by Drs. Gogineni, Herman, and Jones. These professors will work with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) to enhance the design of three courses, Statics, Principle of Engineering Materials, and Heat Transfer, by incorporating innovative student participative activities using demonstrative and manipulative props. The purchased material will be used as part of interactive lecture demonstrations to help students further conceptualize key engineering principles. Manipulative props are those that the student directly interacts with vs demonstrative props that the students only observe. Assessments will be done through direct student feedback using student evaluations/surveys and/or open sources tool which can be embedded in Canvas for data analysis. The data from these courses will be presented at a conference with IRB approval.


Dow Professor Grant Recipients:

Brandon Haskett, Associate Professor of Music

Title: Digital/Acoustic Collective

This project is meant to serve both the MUS 306 Music Technology students, the larger music department, and the university community in which the technology collective would perform. This proposal would enable the music department to upgrade our music technology lab in such a way that collaborative composition, editing, sampling, and production could take place in real-world contexts. Additionally, it would allow for new music to be created that would bring varied genres of music into performances at SVSU and in the community. This project would result in our students’ increased exposure to digital music creation and collaboration, allow them to use their previous knowledge of popular music genres to create something new, and give students real-world experiences with hardware, software, and their related processes, which will prepare them more fully for the professional world.


Scott Kowalewski, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing & William Williamson, Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing

Title: Preparing 21st Century Communicators 

Our goal for this project is to better prepare students for the demands of 21stcentury communication that rely on digital video production. This project extends the work we began in 2017, integrating audio production into the Professional and Technical Writing curriculum. We seek funding to purchase digital video recording equipment and supporting peripheral equipment that will augment resources already available to students through the PTW Recording Studio and Center for Experience Research and Design. Implementing digital video projects across several courses, spanning all levels of our curriculum, we will collect artifacts and interview students to learn more about the ways in which digital video production impacts their rhetorical awareness, technological adeptness, and design competencies, as these criteria relate to the core areas of knowledge in the PTW program. This project extends our students’ professional development and career preparedness, meeting the demands of contemporary communicators.


Aneesha Gogineni, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Title: Active Learning in Thermodynamics

This proposal seeks funding to incorporate a hands-on active learning approach in thermodynamics. This approach will be developed by working with Center for Academic Innovation (CAI) to redesign the course so that it incorporates new low-stake and high-stake assessments. Funding will be used to purchase and assemble the many hands-on materials, as well as for the Socrative app, which will be integrated into the class to increase student responses to questions, analyze their understanding level, and engage them in the subject. The data collected from the redesigned course will be presented at a conference. IRB training will be completed in Spring, and an IRB proposal will be submitted by Fall semester.


Department Grant Recipients:

Grace McClurkin, Department of Mathematical Sciences

Title: Active Learning Library

According to the Mathematical Association of America’s Instructional Practices Guide’s Manifesto, mathematics instructors, “must gather the courage to venture down the path of uncertainty and try new evidence-based strategies that actively engage students in the learning experience.” The mathematics department proposes to pursue these goals within the basic statistics (M132A/B) curricula, precisely by the curation and creation of modular active learning lessons, with which any instructor may augment their course.


Emily Beard-Bohn, Sherrin Frances, & Conor Shaw-Draves, Department of English 

Title: Writing About Writing

Initially this proposal will fund the recruitment and training of English faculty to join this pilot and use the Writing about Writing textbook in their sections of English 111. During the course of this pilot, we intend to collect and analyze three years’ worth of quantitative data and qualitative data. We expect piloting the Writing about Writing pedagogy will provide a strong writing foundation for students by teaching them how to write for genre and discipline specific purposes, and we believe this knowledge will transfer to other classes and contexts.


Scott Kowalewski, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing & William Williamson, Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing

Title: Using Makerspace in PTW

The RPW Department seeks to fund a Makerspace within the Center for Experience Research and Design. This space would create tangible design pathways that connect to a wider array of PTW courses and initiatives and programs. It would support design thinking and invention literacy.


Open Education Resources Grant Recipients (2019/2020):

Grace McClurkin, Assistant Professor of Mathmatical Sciences


Tommy Wedge, Assistant Professor of Theater


Julie Keil, Associate Professor of Political Science


Dow Professor Grant Recipients:

Julie Keil, Associate Professor of Political Science

Title: The Effect of Undergraduate Moot Court Participation on Post Graduate Success

Last year over 800 undergraduate students from 70 universities competed in moot court. Competition is often stressed but experiential learning is more critical for universities evaluating the benefits from the program. This project looked at the academic benefits of undergraduate moot court to the students involved in the SVSU program who have graduated, focusing on the academic value to success in law school, graduate school and employment, utilizing interviews of graduated moot court students to assess the benefits the program had to them and effect it had on post-graduate success. The study concluded that the experiential value of moot court included challenging students academically, help increase critical and analytical thinking, and develop a nuanced understanding of the judicial system, as well as to prepare them for future careers. It can also assist student recruiting and retention for universities by providing an academically challenging and rewarding opportunity for students.


Tina Thornton, Assistant Professor of Nursing & David Rzeszutek, Associate Professor of Theatre

Title: Interprofessional Education with Theatre Students as Standardized Patients for Nursing Simulation

Research has found that simulation is educational for theatre and nursing students and beneficial to the students and the University overall. Standardized Patients (SPs) have been shown to be an effective teaching strategy in nursing education. However, recruitment costs, training and wages of live SPs are barriers to their use in nursing programs. Collaboration with theatre students can possibly eliminate some of the barriers of professional SPs. This proposal was for the use of SVSU theatre students, as SPs, for five simulations in the undergraduate nursing program to determine if their use is feasible and will increase the overall learning satisfaction, communication/skills competence, and confidence of nursing and theatre students. The scenarios will be enacted live, followed by debriefing, including a “teachable moments” discussion and evaluation forms determining the perceived value of the course.


Sylvia Fromherz Sharp, Assistant Professor of Biology & Joseph Weaver, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Title: Writing an Experimental Passage: A Project to Improve Research-Critical Skills and Mastery of Core Cell Biology Principles in Diverse Student Populations

Future success in STEM fields is more likely if students have mastered core principles in foundational areas (“core science” skills) and have developed strong reading, critical thinking, problem-solving, data analysis and communication skills (“research-critical” skills). In agreement with this skillset as a predictor of future student success, many pre-professional standardized tests require students to analyze experimental passages. An experimental passage consists of a short narrative and related data figure; accompanying questions require analysis and interpretation of data and/or mastery of core principles. Underserved students often report being underprepared for the rigors of passage-based exams and more broadly, often lack confidence in their core science, research-critical skills. How can we improve mastery of core principles while developing research-critical skills in diverse populations of students? Evidence supports active learning experiences for effective student learning (Freeman et al., 2014). Here we reported the development, implementation and preliminary assessment results of a novel active learning approach: An experimental passage-writing project in cell biology. Our results suggested the passage-writing project may be a powerful approach to enhance student engagement while providing systematic and iterative support to develop key skills. Improved student confidence and success is predicted to have cascading positive effects, including improved academic success, increased retention, and better career preparedness.


Department Grant Recipients:

John Baesler, Professor of History

Title: Oral History of Mid-Michigan

This project is directed at students currently enrolled in the Public History Minor, history majors with an interest in a career in public history, all history majors. The goal is to make oral history projects an integral part of history instruction across the curriculum, with the objective of providing students with opportunities to practice history rather than learning about history, and, in the end, better prepare students for careers in the field of history outside of academia.


Sylvia Fromherz Sharp, Assistant Professor of Biology
Co-PI: Arthur Martin

Title: Infusing Evidence-Based Best Practices for Student Learning in the Biology Curriculum

A team of Biology Department members plans to engage in professional development activities to learn about and incorporate evidence-based best practices pedagogy including active learning in the biology curriculum. The team will collaborate to develop a new, student-learning centered introductory biology lecture series built with a best-practices framework.


Open Education Resources Grant Recipients (2018/2019):

Elson Boles, Professor of Sociology

Incorporated a new online syllabus format, a how-to guide for General Education students, and is in the process of writing an open Sociology text to share with the OER community.


Kimberly Lacey, Associate Professor of English

All primary texts implemented were links to Open Resources, students researched their own primary online texts, and instruction was structured in a highly-structured weekly format.


Kevin Meyer, Assistant Professor of Economics

Adopted a new Open textbook, incorporated the use of an interactive app, and provided new videos and slides to clarify subjects for students.


Erik Trump, Professor of Political Science

Incorporated new text introductory pages for each course section, offered online access to primary texts and moved from using files for sharing information, to providing materials in tabular format.


Joseph Weaver, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Created an interactive textbook in Canvas tailored to his course needs. Also incorporated videos, activities, relevant text, quizzes, discussion boards, and conference tool meetings into his course.

Dow Professor Grant Recipients:

Bill Williamson, Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing & Scott Kowalewski, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing

Title: Preparing 21st-Century Communicators: Audio Production in Professional and Technical Writing

This project better prepared professional and technical writing (PTW) students to be rhetorically-effective, technologically-adept 21st-century communicators.


Chris Giroux, Associate Professor of English & Hideki Kihata, Professor of Art

Title: The Still Life Project

The goal of this project was to create collaborative service-learning opportunities for SVSU students, particularly Art majors and Writing Center tutors, to gain practical experience with writing, editing, and photography.


Rhett Mohler, Assistant Professor of Geography

Title: Acquisition of an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for Curricular and Co-Curricular Use

This project gave interested students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with UAS technology.


Arthur Martin, Associate Professor of Biology

Title: Active Learning and Project-Based Laboratories for the Biological Sciences that Build Critical Thinking and Conceptual-Based Skills

Development of Project-Based Biology was a project proposed by Arthur Martin (Associate professor of Biology) along with Dr, Cal Borden, Ms. Katie Cottrell-Donahue, Dr. Sylvia Fromherz, Dr. James McEvoy, Ms. Kathleen Pelkki, Ms. Amanda Ross, Dr. David Stanton and Dr. Rosalyn Sweeting to develop project-based laboratories for the first-year experience of undergraduate students studying biology as part of their degree requirements.


Gary Lange, Professor of Biology, Holly Little, Lecturer of Biology & Katherine Cottrell-Donahue, Lecturer of Biology

Title: Engaging Students in a Non-Majors Biology Classroom through Increased Active Learning

This project sought to enhance and expand the active learning modalities students and exposed to our non-majors BIOL 104B-Human Biology course.


Sally Decker, Professor of Nursing

Title: Use of Gaming: "Friday Night in the ER" as an Educational Learning Experience

Introduced educational gaming as a strategy that has the potential to provide active learning and stimulate student motivation.

Dow Professor Grant Recipients:

Emily Beard-Bohn, Associate Professor of English & Patricia Cavanaugh, Professor of English

Title: Gamification to Enhance Comprehension, Retention, and Motivation in General Education Courses

Gamification was a project in which two faculty introduced role-playing academic games in one of their courses for both academic insight and motivation. The games were in their second round, so revisions and improvements have been made. The faculty members offered a workshop in March to share with any interested SVSU faculty on the games themselves, some of the current research on gamification, and their insight on the value.


Adam Warhausen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Title: Creation of a Customized Laboratory Safety Video Specific to SVSU's Needs

The goal of this project was to create a new laboratory safety video to be utilized in the lower level chemistry labs. This was done in order to replace the very outdated Starting with Safety (1991) safety video that the American Chemical Society (ACS) created. A group of SVSU students recorded the necessary safety procedures and lab skills that are pertinent to the laboratory experiments that are carried out here at SVSU. The ACS’s video, which has been a staple at the majority of academic institutions, does not capture the attention of today’s students. It is envisioned that the new video will be made available to the students online via Canvas in order to free up valuable teaching time during the lab meeting. In order to verify that the students are watching the video, an online quiz or possible “lab safety scavenger hunt”¹ will be utilized in order to evaluate the students’ competency of laboratory safety. Anticipated outcomes of the students in these lab sections were to improve their retention of safety information, familiarize them with the actual lab space that they will be utilizing, and have them all using proper laboratory techniques.


Jan Hlavacek, Assistant Professor of Mathematical Sciences

Title: Use of R-Studio and WeBWorK in an Introductory Statistics Course

Statistics courses using simulation-based inference face two challenges: such courses require much heavier use of computational resources, and there is only a small number of well-developed homework exercises. This project used an online R-studio server to provide computational resources, and a WeBWorK homework server to provide a way to develop custom homework exercises.


Anthony Crachiola, Associate Dean of the College of Science Engineering & Technology

Title: Development of a Multi-Purpose Micro-Teaching Math Video Library

This project created an online library of math micro-videos to be available for all SVSU faculty and students and for use in multiple math and math-based courses across multiple departments. As many students have different, isolated gaps in their algebra skills, faculty can customize their usage of these videos to individual students. The videos will also support the goals of other university functions such as math tutoring and teacher certification test preparations. The anticipated outcomes are an improvement in student learning, reduction of class time spent on review topics only needed for select students, and more targeted individualized feedback and instruction.

Dow Professor Grant Recipients:

James Bowers, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Title: Use of iPads to Support Group Work in the Classroom

iPads and other electronic devices are increasingly utilized in college classrooms, but most students who own iPads do not use them for educational purposes (Lindsay, 2011). This study was an exploratory study examining student perceptions about iPad use in the classrooms with group work and the possible impact on student grades. Two sections of an upper-level course (CJ 401 Issues and Policies) were used as the experimental (used the iPads for group work) and the control group (paper and pencil group work). Preliminary results show that students have positive feedback regarding the iPad use and the iPad group has had the same or better test scores as the pen and paper group.


Jennifer Chaytor, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Title: Development of Online Pre-Laboratory Activities in Organic Chemistry

The goals of this project were to develop online pre-laboratory activities for CHEM 231 (Organic Chemistry I laboratory). The pre-lab lecture, currently presented by the instructor at the beginning of the laboratory session, will be recorded using lecture capture software and posted online for the students to view prior to attending the lab session. Videos describing the equipment to be used, common laboratory techniques, and safety concerns will also be developed. Additionally, pre-lab quizzes will be written and posted online on Canvas to be answered by students prior to the lab session. Anticipated outcomes are to improve the students’ understanding of the theory and techniques undertaken in the lab, decrease their anxiety regarding complex lab procedures, improve their work efficiency during the lab period, and increase consistency of pre-lab lectures across all instructors including adjunct instructors.


Averetta Lewis, Professor of Nursing, Kathleen Schachman, Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing, & Dustin Spencer, Assistant Professor of Nursing

Title: Using Digital Standardized Patients

Diagnostic errors are consistently identified as a prominent cause of preventable morbidity and mortality and have been targeted by the Institutes of Medicine as “the next frontier for patient safety” (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2015). This project facilitated the development and refinement of diagnostic reasoning skills in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) students through innovative, technology-rich strategies. The project used digital standardized patients to teach and reinforce the collection and analysis of patient data to arrive at accurate medical diagnoses. Through the creation of an online “virtual clinic,” FNP students will interact with digital patients to develop and hone interview and examinations skills, judiciously order cost-effective diagnostic testing, and refine cognitive skills that enhance diagnostic reasoning. Outcomes include diagnostic accuracy, relevance, time on task, self-confidence, adherence to standards of care, cost-effectiveness, and satisfaction.


Dustin Spencer, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Suzanne Savoy, Assistant Professor of Nursing, & Cynthia Hupert, Assistant Professor of Nursing

Title: Flipped Classroom Implementation in a BSN Curriculum

The “flipped classroom” model is an innovative teaching strategy that has been shown in literature to promote educational excellence in nursing through increased knowledge retention, critical thinking, and clinical judgment. The flipped classroom model has been implemented in the bachelorette nursing program by Dustin Spencer DNP, Suzanne Savoy Ph.D., and Cynthia Hupert, MSN. This innovative model utilized the evidence-based delivery of instructional materials prior to class, with active participation from students in class through problem and team-based learning activities. These activities were designed to promote enhanced learning. Undergraduate nursing students in the first and second semesters were the target population with the anticipated goals of increasing long-term retention of key concepts and fostering lifelong learning skills and sound clinical judgment. The results have been promising in regards to student learning outcomes, though mixed in regards to student engagement and satisfaction.


Chris Nakamura, Associate Professor of Physics

Title: Laboratory Activities for Enhancing an Upper-division Lasers Course

This project investigated the use of short, demonstrative laboratory activities for aiding students in understanding upper-division physics ideas from both theoretical and experimental perspectives. Developing this integrated understanding is a central goal of physics, but most traditional physics curricula separate theory and experiment. Increased effort to explicitly connect theory and experiment may be a useful goal in physics, and other disciplines. The project developed, or adapted, 6 laboratory exercises for an upper-division physics course to help make these connections in a natural context: Lasers and Optoelectronics. The experiences developing the experiments highlight challenges inherent to the approach that must be overcome to justify the approach. In particular the nature of experimental work, the time required conducting experiments, and the larger impact on the course requires significant consideration. Further work is warranted, but real solutions to these challenges are critical to continued implementation. 


George Corser, Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Information Systems 

Title: Collaborative Computer Science Education (CCSE)

The Collaborative Computer Science Education (CCSE) project created lesson incubators, which are close-knit groups of computer science teachers and students. These teaching and learning communities have access to an online system ( which helps them build up-to-date and peer-reviewed lesson materials, including videos, lab instructions and quizzes that enable measurable results. Computer science course materials change rapidly, with new programming languages, software upgrades and professional best practices changing almost as fast as curricula can be developed. Computer science teachers can now work together to keep their materials up-to-date. CCSE builds computer science education materials, not only for students in the classroom but also materials for teachers to continuously improve their domain-specific skills in both technology and pedagogy.