Sewanee faculty members have received seven awards from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Faculty Advancement Program, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The seven awards will support a cross-institutional, interdisciplinary team led by Celeste Ray to examine the role of springs in the settlement of the Cumberland Plateau; a payment for ecosystem services project in Haiti led by Deborah McGrath; the development of an online portal to accompany Helen Bateman’s ongoing Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds community-engagement research program; a multi-campus, undergraduate research and teaching program in mathematics led by Matthew Rudd; a digital platform for cross-campus pedagogical innovations led by Nathan Stogdill; and two projects, which complement the ACS Teaching and Learning Workshop, both involving Betsy Sandlin. Details of each project are below.
“The Cumberland Plateau’s Healing and Mineral Springs,” led by Anthropology Professor Celeste Ray, will create a model of transdisciplinary cooperation for research, publication and collaborative teaching around the role of springs in the settlement of the Cumberland Plateau and collect placelore associated with medicinal and mineral springs and domestic-use springs. Faculty in classical languages/ interdisciplinary humanities program, anthropology, history, geology, environmental studies, and religion at three ACS institutions will engage students by drawing links between disparate classes and round the edges of their liberal arts education.
“Education and Offsets: Engaged Learning through Community-Based Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) for Carbon Sequestration in Haiti,” led by Associate Professor of Biology Deborah McGrath, will explore and develop a mechanism for ACS schools to offset their carbon footprints. This project will initially offer Sewanee students, and potentially students from across the ACS, the opportunity to study PES in a real world context and acquire a variety of skills and experiences in participatory community development, ecological field methods, household survey techniques and interdisciplinary and cross cultural learning, while helping to advance institutional sustainability initiatives.
“Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds: Connecting Communities of Learners” will create an online portal for the existing community-engagement research program entitled “Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds” (HB&HM). The HB&HM program was developed over the past five years by Associate Professor of Psychology Helen Bateman and her students as a means to apply existing knowledge about child, family, and community development to real-life situations, with a strong focus on childhood obesity. Online and interactive curricular materials will be developed for middle school teachers and students. This project promises to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between Sewanee and school districts, as well as collaborative opportunities among ACS colleges, by enabling access to tools and information via the HB&HM website.
“New Paradigms for Collaborative Research in Mathematics across the ACS,” led by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Matthew Rudd, proposes a multi-campus undergraduate research program that will build on the past successes of the Hendrix-Rhodes-Sewanee Undergraduate Mathematics Symposium. Teams of faculty and students from four ACS institutions will spend the summer of 2013 working together on open research questions, and students from each team will present their results at local and national professional meetings. In addition to providing valuable research opportunities for students, these interactions will promote collaborations on deeper research questions and development of new methods for teaching courses, which will be shared across the ACS.
“Collaborative Learning Across Symposium Schools (CLASS),” led by Visiting Assistant Professor of English Nathaniel Stogdill, will coordinate the computer-aided instruction and interpersonal pedagogy initiatives taking place at ACS schools and their peer institutions in order to facilitate inter-institutional collaborative teaching. Utilizing pre-existing digital resources, such as Iversity and Skype, faculty can share previous course materials and experiences, develop syllabi, and create digital classrooms that complement physical classrooms at each school.
“Extending the Benefits of the ACS Teaching and Learning Workshop to the Home Campus” will initiate a simple support mechanism for ACS Teaching and Learning Workshop alumni to convene on their home campuses. Post-workshop conversations will involve discussions of the workshop experience and how it has influenced participants’ teaching practices. This project, led by Associate Professor of Spanish Betsy Sandlin, will provide a network of support for application of improved teaching practices and coordinate with Teaching and Learning Centers on ACS campuses to enhance cross- and interdisciplinary discussion. Formal assessment and integration of lessons learned will improve workshop quality and stimulate initiatives across the ACS.
Sandlin is also involved in a second project led by Kent Andersen at Birmingham-Southern College, “Enhancing the ACS Teaching and Learning Workshop: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Professional Development.” This project will support teams of workshop staff members to participate in conferences on scholarship on student learning and faculty development. These experiences will result in new plenary sessions and refinement of existing sessions and allow workshop staff members to serve as knowledgeable mentors and models for future workshop participants.
The Faculty Advancement Program gives preference first to collaborative efforts across ACS campus boundaries, and second to initiatives on a single campus that could serve as a model and lead to broader inter-campus programs. Grants are available in the five categories of interdisciplinary studies, engaged learning, learning-based pedagogy, undergraduate research (with emphasis on the humanities), and blended learning. At this time, only the deadline for the blended learning initiative has been announced. Pre-proposals are due Feb. 1, and full proposals are due March 20, 2013. For more information, please visit the ACS website, or contact Leigh Lentile, Sponsored Research Office, ext. 1408, or by e-mail.