Sewanee faculty members receive ACS grants

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Sewanee faculty members have received two awards from the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Faculty Advancement Program and one award from the ACS Blended Learning Program. These ongoing programs give 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.

Faculty advancement grants are available in the five categories of interdisciplinary studies, engaged learning, learning-based pedagogy, and undergraduate research (with emphasis on the humanities). Blended learning grants support computer-mediated instruction that is combined with interactive, face-to-face instruction.

Professor of History Woody Register has received a grant of $10,000 to expand his collaborative undergraduate research apprenticeship project for students and faculty in the humanities and social sciences. Register was funded along with Kelly Whitmer in History and Jeff Thompson in Art and Art History at Sewanee, and Jessie Fillerup in the music department at the University of Richmond. The project pairs a student “apprentice” for a period of two to four weeks with a scholar who plans summertime work at a major academic archive. The apprentice initially assists the mentor’s work to gain research experience and skills, then gradually transitions to his or her own independent research, while remaining under the guidance of the faculty mentor. The research serves as the basis for the student’s production of independent undergraduate scholarship during the term after the apprenticeship.

This project is an expansion of the work that Register and then-senior Lacy Broemel successfully tested during the summer of 2012, which was also funded by the ACS. This summer two Sewanee students will accompany Whitmer to work at archives in Halle and Berlin, Germany. Thompson will take a Sewanee student to work alongside him at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and Fillerup’s apprentice from Richmond will accompany her to the Harry Ransom Center for the Humanities in Austin, Tex.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Nicole Noffsinger-Frazier has received $4,000 to implement and evaluate Fully Embodied: An Empowering Dialogue (FEED), a newly-developed peer-led psychological prevention and intervention program for college women. Prevention of disordered eating and the development of peer-led community outreach programs to enhance psychological well-being are Noffsinger-Frazier’s primary research interests. The FEED program will provide a training workshop for peer leaders and will ultimately provide peer leaders and participants alike an enhanced sense of community within and outside the university. FEED will be replicated in local high schools and other ACS colleges including the University of Richmond and Rhodes College.

Biology Professor and Assistant Provost for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Jon Evans will co-lead a blended learning project with David Ribble, professor and chair of the biology department at Trinity University. This collaborative inter-institutional project received a grant of $10,000 and is one part of a five-team effort to create, identify, develop, collect, curate and post online a wide variety of original and existing online resources for a proposed ACS digital library whose focus is environmental sustainability. Ribble and Evans will develop digital learning materials addressing biodiversity and ecosystem services.

All of the participating members of this project plan to use these resources in a blended-learning format in their respective courses on ecology, conservation, and management of natural resources. This project takes advantage of a variety of place-based biodiversity expertise across the ACS to contribute to an understanding of environmental sustainability across an important region of the country.

Pre-proposals for the ACS-sponsored blended learning or faculty advancement initiatives are due to ACS by September 11, 2014. Full proposals will be due by November 20, 2014, and decisions will be communicated to faculty within 30 days. For more information, please visit the ACS website, or contact Leigh Lentile in the Office of Sponsored Research Office, BC 201B, ext. 1408.

To date, Sewanee faculty members have received 14 of these grants totaling more than $95,000 and involving faculty collaborations at 10 ACS institutions, as well as the University of Georgia and Lake Forest College. These one-year grant programs aim to enable faculty to explore new possibilities, expand their background and skills, and take advantage of opportunities not otherwise available on their campuses. For both programs individual projects may be funded up to $4,000, while intra-campus group efforts may request up to $7,000. Cross-institutional initiatives may request up to $10,000.

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