Funded Projects
Faculty Development Fund (FDF)
Project Title Overview of the Project
Designing and Implementing a Structured Process and Task Trainer for Teaching Digital Vaginal Examination in Labor
John DeLancey
Medical School
Joanne Bailey
Medical School
Helen Morgan
Medical School


In maternity care, it is essential that nurses, midwives and physicians have the skills needed to evaluate progress during labor. Digital vaginal examination (VE) during labor is an essential skill for students to master, but one that is challenging to teach and practice in the simulated clinical setting. Affordable, realistic simulators are not currently available and standardized patients cannot be utilized to simulate labor and birth. Because VE during labor can be uncomfortable and intrusive, it is imperative that students are prepared prior to clinical so they can perform VE in a way that causes the least discomfort while at the same time correctly assessing for labor progress. In a collaborative effort between midwifery faculty, obstetrics/gynecology, and engineering, we propose to: (a) develop and evaluate a structured step-wise process for teaching VE (b) design, build, and evaluate a realistic vaginal examination task trainer that can be utilized for nursing, midwifery and medical education and (c) evaluate the effectiveness of both the educational approach and the task trainer using a three armed, pretest-posttest design with midwifery and medical students as participants.
Development of an Interprofessional Education Curriculum to Prepare Medical Students for Residency
Anita Malone
Medical School
Brittany Allen
Medical School


Interprofessional education (IPE) is an important aspect of medical education, teaching learners how to collaborate in multidisciplinary teams and more effectively provide care in our complex medical environment. In medical school, students are taught the intricacies of pathophysiology, medical decision making, and patient care, but less focus is placed on how to best work in the interdisciplinary team as they advance through clinical education. Students who do not understand the importance of and utilize interprofessional collaboration may struggle when they transition to residency, as this is a time when relying on the entire team of healthcare professionals becomes of utmost importance in order to provide safe, efficient, and effective patient care. This project aims to formally assess the needs for interprofessional education and develop an IPE curriculum for senior medical students as they prepare for the transition from student to resident physician. Innovative curricular changes such as simulated patient care experiences, team-based problem solving, and education on interdisciplinary communication incorporating students and providers from different professions will be implemented, guided by the information gained from a formal needs assessment. This needs assessment will be done by conducting focus groups of healthcare professionals, interviewing recent medical school graduates, and interviewing residency program directors to delineate needs for IPE within specific areas of medicine. Once this assessment is completed, this IPE curriculum will be implemented within the 8-week long senior medical student residency preparatory courses in which all University of Michigan medical students will participate.
Engaged Mathematics Teaching: Building A Video Library for Instructor Training Across Programs


Three programs within the Department of Mathematics wish to collaborate to create a library of video clips of classroom teaching for training Department instructors. The Introductory Math Program (Pre-Calculus, Calculus I, and Calculus II), Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) program (, and Teacher Education program teach courses to different populations and with different goals, but all aim to engage students in collaborative, interactive work during class on novel, deep mathematical problems. Learning to teach effectively in this way requires robust instructor training. One piece of this training that could traverse these diverse classroom settings and benefit instructors from all three programs is a library of curated video clips of classroom teaching.

Faculty members Nina White (IBL and teacher education) and Fernando Carreón (Introductory Math Program) propose to (1) film a diverse array of classroom settings within the IBL, teacher education, and intro programs during the Winter 2018 semester, and (2) carefully edit and curate them to be used in instructor training in all three programs.

The primary costs of the grant will be hiring student assistants for filming and editing assistance, and paying summer salary to the co-PIs for the time-intensive work of selecting and curating the clips.
Designing a Curriculum for Discipline-Based Student-Faculty Mentoring Programs in Engineering
Joi-Lynn Mondisa


In this research project, two URM engineering faculty members will: (1) document how they created two engineering student-faculty mentoring programs for URM students at Michigan; (2) document and examine the mentoring practices and approaches they use with students; (3) create an outline of a mentoring curriculum that features insights and tips about what a URM student-faculty mentoring program might consist of in terms of program design and mentoring practices; and (4) develop and instruct a half-day faculty workshop on mentoring in student-faculty partnership programs. The study’s research questions are: (1) what are some best practices in creating a discipline-based student-faculty mentoring program in Engineering? (2) what are the experiences of students and faculty who participate in a discipline-based student-faculty mentoring program in Engineering? and (3) what types of practices and approaches can be used to assist faculty and students in discipline-based student-faculty mentoring programs in Engineering? In this social constructivist inquiry, the Project Director will use an explanatory mixed methods research design using quantitative (e.g., surveys) and qualitative (e.g., interviews, focus groups, notes) methods. From this research, we will produce: (1) evidence about the mentoring experiences and outcomes for approximately 60 URM undergraduates, 12 URM graduate students, and 3 URM faculty at Michigan; (2) a curriculum for informal student-faculty mentoring programs; and (3) a half-day Faculty Mentoring Workshop for Michigan engineering faculty led by the Project Director and co-Project Director.
School of Public Health Community of Learning for Undergraduate Education
Gary Harper
Public Health
Jane Banaszak-Holl
Public Health
Dina Kurz
Jillian McConville
Public Health


The addition of a formalized undergraduate degree program to the University of Michigan, School of Public Health (SPH) will engender a pedagogical culture shift in order to fulfill the mission of Undergraduate Education at SPH. The School of Public Health Community of Learning project will create a community of faculty members who will engage in a range of activities focused on innovations in undergraduate teaching methods and innovations in the undergraduate curriculum.

The proposed project is based on the concept of Communities of Practice (CoP). The three core CoP elements are as follows: a) domain (topic which creates common ground for knowledge and guides learning—identity and focus), b) community (membership, relationships, and interactions—sharing ideas and asking questions), and c) practice (methods, knowledge, and expertise developed—frameworks, ideas, and tools are shared).

Based on the CoP core elements, we will be enacting 5 different CoP-related activities with varying degrees of frequency in order to build a stronger Community of Learning related to undergraduate education. These activities include: 1) interactive web-based resources, 2) formal skills-building workshops, 3) informal interactive discussions, 4) mentoring, and 5) individual consultations. Project activities will occur between April 2016 and April 2018, and focus on improving expertise in two general areas: a) teaching methods related to undergraduate education, and b) curriculum development related to undergraduate education.

The expected outcomes from this CoP project will be assessed through a range of assessment strategies including course evaluations, pre/post-surveys, syllabus reviews, and counts of web-related activities.
Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching
Project Title Overview of the Project
Non-Abusive Psychological and Physical Intervention (NAPPI) Training for Undergraduate Nursing Students
Paul Edick


Violence towards nurses is a growing concern. Contributing factors can include: working with individuals with a history of violence, changes in mental status (i.e. delirium, psychosis) and/or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the current undergraduate nursing curriculum there are no teaching activities that cover the specific topic of workplace violence towards nurses. More specifically, there is no current training for nursing students on how to identify potential escalating agitation and aggression in patients.
In this project, we will be using the Non-Abusive Psychological and Physical Intervention (NAPPI) training program to teach nursing students a proactive approach to de-escalation and safe management of aggression, as part of their undergraduate clinical education. Using evidenced based, effective strategies, students would be taught: verbal de-escalation, restraint avoidance, and personal safety.
During the 2020-2021 academic school year and the fall semester of 2021, junior level undergraduate nursing students (n=96) would be provided with 12 hour NAPPI training and certification as part of their 112 mental health clinical hour requirement. If the program is proven successful, the long term plan would be to provide this valuable training/certification to all undergraduate nursing students before graduation. In terms of sustainability, having faculty at the school of nursing with current certification to teach this course would mean this training and certification can be provided to future students at only the cost of books/materials ($12/student). If provided to all undergraduate nursing students, this education would reach approximately 160 students annually.
Putting Physics Under the Microscope


The University of Michigan graduates one of the largest medical school bound cohorts in the U.S. Most of these students will take the foundational course Physics 135-235, “Physics for the Life Sciences. ” We propose here to begin revising the associated laboratory course Physics 136-236 to employ more directly the physics methods for the life sciences in the 21st century. Approximately 800 students will be affected per semester.

We envision replacing the standard studies of billiard-ball motion with an exploration of transport processes in fluids, on the microscopic scale. Life science students need to know this, and it is, for them, the natural place to introduce the study of motion. It requires that we develop the microscope instrumentation in the context of the introductory physics laboratory. The program has the advantage of using one apparatus as a platform for several experiments and is a cost/effort efficient way to establish a longer-term program of revision.

We propose a concentrated program of work over summer 2020 to kickstart the process, followed by pursuit of equipment funding so that we could roll out at least one microscope-based experiment by Winter 2021. To support the initiation of the project we request $9855, which will allow us to acquire the apparatus ($2777) and support a graduate student to assist in the laboratory (2 months at $3539/mo). The success of this project could be measured by directed questions on student evaluations.
Christianne Myers
Music, Theatre & Dance
Rob Murphy
Music, Theatre & Dance
Nancy Uffner-Elliott
Music, Theatre & Dance


This Gilbert Whitaker Grant will facilitate the means to engage an external reviewer, develop surveys for recent alumni, and provide a small stipend to each of the participating faculty members so we can dedicate ourselves to revamp, and to learn ourselves, best practices moving forward. No such holistic review has been conducted, and we want to ensure certain content is covered over a four year period as well as identify and eliminate any redundancies. A series of retreats with current faculty, reviewers, and a student rep would work to identify short and long term goals, to articulate the mission of our academic area, brainstorm new courses and sequencing, and develop job descriptions for open faculty lines. The second phase of this grant period would then loop in new faculty members as we take a deeper dive into our actual teaching spaces. We wish to examine our own teaching practices and think critically about how we can best serve the students and the department as a whole- all with the overarching goal of fostering a rigorous and inclusive learning environment for our undergraduate students.
Improving Directed Self-Placement


DSP has been evaluated and revised twice (most recently in 2008). At this point in time, evaluation is again needed in order 1) to advance equity and inclusiveness in the placement process; 2) to enhance learning outcomes for students in courses that fulfill the first-year writing requirement (FYWR) and upper-level writing requirement (ULWR); 3) to improve the placement guidance given to academic advisors and incoming first-year students; and 4) to enhance pedagogy in FYWR courses.
ELI Graduate Writing Curriculum Review


The English Language Institute began providing English for Academic Purposes support for University of Michigan graduate students in the late 1980s, but now seeks to renew its course offering to reflect changes in graduate enrollment patterns, student requirements, the availability of technology to support teaching, and concerns for student well-being. This renewal is most acute for our genre-based writing curriculum, which consists of four credit-bearing courses. These courses were developed decades ago and targeted to doctoral students with an interest in traditional research genres (journal articles, theses, and dissertations). Our writing curriculum has changed little, despite changes at U-M. Our research genre focus needs to be expanded to include new writing genres, such as professional philosophies, research writing for lay readers, and policy memos. Importantly, we want our writing courses to better align with the needs of master’s students, who now constitute the majority of graduate students. In addition to matters of content, our writing curriculum needs to more systematically consider student well-being, including the effects of stress on writing, and more directly attend to issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion, two important issues not addressed when our courses were first developed. Thus, in our curriculum renewal we aim to expand course offerings to help all graduate students develop a genre mindset with which to approach their current and future writing (Swales & Feak, 2012) while prioritizing inclusive pedagogies and student wellness.
Arts-based Social Justice Practice: Course Development
Rogerio Pinto
Social Work


This proposal responds to the Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the improvement of Teaching by focusing on the discovery and testing of innovative arts-based teaching methods and approaches, in order to develop a course in Arts-based Social Justice Practice. Our proposal goes beyond the traditional “art therapy” for social work clients to explore more expansive principles of artistic creation and experience and their usefulness in the realm of social justice. Ultimately, students who choose to take the course will learn art theories and techniques vis-à-vis social work practices, which will prepare them to teach social work clients the skills they need to engage with art as a means of self-reflection and advocacy toward myriad social problems. This course will complement other developments (e.g., areas of specializations, such as advocacy) currently taking place in the School of Social Work, and will be benefit students in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, and to students from across campus interested in the taking the course.