Grants

Funded Projects
Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching
Project Title Overview of the Project
A holistic approach to calibrating clinical dental faculty for assessments that support a “growth mind-set”

$9960.00

Standardization of faculty, which occurs as a result of calibration activities, is a particular challenge across all of dental education. Dental students must learn and be assessed on literally hundreds of procedures, techniques and clinical activities. At the UMSD as in other dental schools, dental faculty are diverse, graduating from clinical training programs around the world, with variations in clinical philosophies of care. The UMSD employs hundreds of full-time and adjunct-faculty often teaching in different clinical disciplines and in multiple locations, who must be calibrated on teaching and assessment; these factors create barriers to successful and sustainable calibration programs using traditional approaches. Calibration activities seek to achieve “consistent application of protocols, techniques, and philosophies, so the student experience is as consistent as possible.” (McAndrew, 2016). In this proposal, we present a much broader approach to calibration that supports and broadens faculty members’ knowledge of educational principles and their ability to facilitate a growth mind-set culture and humanistic learning environment within the UMSD learning environment. This program will utilize a variety of technology-based solutions to make learning opportunities more accessible to faculty and provide innovative ways to track and communicate the outcomes of calibration activities. Program goals will include increasing faculty intra and inter-rater reliability for selected student assessments and increasing faculty participation and collaboration in calibration activities. Study design and analysis will include a needs assessment, preliminary assessment of current systems using mixed methods, a calibration training intervention and a program outcomes assessment.
Transformation of Health Sciences Scholars Program Core Curriculum toward Team- and Problem-Based Learning, Interprofessional Education, and Humanism

$6000.00

The Health Sciences Scholars Program is a living-learning community that supports 120 first-year pre-health undergraduates each year through academics, leadership development, and community building. Students in HSSP are required to take ALA 106 and 109 (Perspectives on Health and Healthcare I and II) during their first year. These courses focus on aspects of health and health care that students often do not learn about until late in undergraduate studies or graduate school. Topics covered include: health policy, health care reform, international health, health disparities, social determinants of health, ethics, and more. Each course is currently 2 credits, and taught as a 1.5-hour lecture and 1-hour discussion section each week. Through the Gilbert Whitaker Fund support, I propose to develop a core team as well as faculty/staff advisory members to fundamentally change HSSP’s membership courses and subsequently evaluate these changes. We will adopt a problem- and team-based learning approach, further integrate interprofessional education, and deepen the humanistic components of these courses. These changes will allow us to provide a more holistic experience for our students as well as better prepare them for the rest of their pre-health studies.
Improving Chemistry Teaching Through Instructional Coaching

$10000.00

Science faculty typically begin teaching with minimal experience and limited opportunity for professional development, while at the same time meeting high expectations for research excellence. This tension makes learning to teach challenging for all faculty, but in particular women and people of color who are additionally challenged with developing teaching identities in classrooms where their authority is more likely to be questioned. The proposed project will address these challenges by initiating an instructional coaching community that empowers new chemistry graduate students, postdoctoral teaching fellows, and faculty to reflect and improve on their teaching practice while honoring their individual beliefs about teaching.
Design-Specific Leadership in Architecture
Irene Hwang
Architecture and Urban Planning
Reetha Raveendran
Architecture and Urban Planning
McLain Clutter
Architecture and Urban Planning

$10000.00

Our team’s objective is to develop and introduce design-specific leadership models and concepts to the architecture curriculum (graduate and undergraduate) and pedagogy at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. The goal is to shift the culture of architectural education and practice from one that is more individualistic and authoritarian, to one more collaborative and inclusive.

We plan to begin this project on design-specific leadership through the continued evolution of the required, graduate-level course, Arch 583 Professional Practice. Arch 583 is considered the primary academic course where students learn about the profession of architecture. In spite of this course’s core position in the design curriculum, its format, concepts, and pedagogy have not changed in many decades. Evolving demands placed on the discipline of architecture, where projects are far more complex and require a higher level of collaboration and communication across diverse perspectives and concerns, require that our graduates possess an understanding of updated leadership principles and frameworks. Working with experts from our field and other fields, with our students and our faculty, our project team will learn how leadership impacts our design profession. To improve the effectiveness of Arch 583, as well as to evolve the entirety of the architecture curriculum, this project aims to first understand and discern those concerns and priorities of leadership in architecture and then to create a path to make the teaching of leadership concepts a standard component of architectural education.
Acquisition of remote access technologies to advance student learning in Wildlife Ecology
Johannes Foufopoulos
Environment and Sustainability

$6000.00

One of the key challenges that faculty in the field of environmental studies face today, is a fundamental lack of real-life experience and practical training among the incoming cohorts of ecology students. Substantial first-hand experience with natural organisms is the well-spring of understanding for anyone hoping to be a successful ecologist or natural resource manager. However, students today hail increasingly from urban settings and often have had very little exposure to nature. This lack of previous exposure to nature has strong repercussions on the knowledge, abilities and training of professional ecologists at the University of Michigan. Increasingly classes are taught without student exposure to the outdoors. However, the gold standard for the discipline is direct interaction and training on live wild animals and plants, and this standard is becoming increasingly hard to maintain.
The University of Michigan lags sorely behind peer institutions when it comes to the introduction and adoption of new wildlife technologies (radiotelemetry and remote observation) in teaching and in training our students. To my knowledge no course on campus utilizes or teaches about the use of these technologies, creating a significant disadvantage for our students. What is urgently needed is an initial investment into the purchase of wildlife radiotelemetry equipment, which can then be used long-term within the framework of existing courses. I would therefore like to request funds that will be used to purchase radiotelemetry, remote monitoring and related field equipment for wildlife study.
Virtual Anatomy
Glenn Fox
Medical School
B. Kathleen Alsup
Medical School

$5997.00

The goal of this project is to create and integrate 3-dimensional (3-D) anatomical images into curated, curriculum-specific virtual reality (VR) experiences for students in Anatomy curricula. These VR experiences will be curricularly-incorporated into existing U-M Anatomy courses and publicly available as free resources by incorporation into our existing web resources.
Anatomy of Sound: Optimal airflow dynamics for producing a high quality woodwind tone
Amy Porter
Music, Theatre & Dance

$9050.00

The Anatomy of Sound project joins three U-M Professors, one in Music, Medicine and Engineering, with one alumna from U-M SMTD, responding to develop a modern and realistic vocabulary in the curriculum for flute players. Since we, as woodwind teachers, are describing actions that can’t be seen, I am dedicated to understanding and teaching the “real anatomy of sound,” or, what the body physically does or doesn’t do to produce consistent high quality sound while playing the flute. It’s an instrument without the resistance of a reed and one that requires more wind power of any wind instrument. I seek funding to be able to show each flute student small 3-D models of the tongue, throat, vocal folds, as reminders of how the body is producing their sound from the diaphragm and lungs, through the vocal folds and oral cavity to the tongue, and finally through the lips, thereby teaching the student the role anatomy plays in tone, phrasing, vibrato and intonation. We, as a team, also seek salaries to host, teach and disseminate our findings at the Anatomy of Sound Workshop in June, 2019. This project will benefit hundreds of U-M flute players, from flute majors and minors (enrolled as Undergrad in course MU-139 Freshmen through Masters- course 540 and also to MU-DMA course 891), hundreds of marching band flutists, and will be a new video resource for non U-M music students for whom the flute improves their quality of learning and life.
Good with Words: Speaking and Presenting

$6000.00

One of the most important skills professionals of all kinds need to develop is also, unfortunately, one of the most undertaught: the ability to speak clearly and compellingly.

Good with Words is designed to address that problem by turning what was a very successful pilot course on public speaking into an innovative suite of digital, print, and in-person resources.
Debriefing Training for Healthcare Learners: Learning to Process Distressing Events Together
Nasuh Malas
Medical School
Kelcey Stratton
Administration
Janice Firn
Social Work
Kathleen Robertson
Medical School
Katie Feder
Medical School
Patricia Keefer
Medical School

$10000.00

Healthcare professionals are likely to be exposed to traumatic events and emotional distress repeatedly during their training and careers. However, many learners report receiving limited or no training in coping with patient deaths and other distressing events, which can contribute to isolation, professional stress, moral or ethical distress, and burnout. The proposed project seeks to fill an important training gap in how distressing events in healthcare settings are identified and discussed. The Departments of Psychiatry, Palliative Care, Clinical Ethics, and the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience propose an innovative, interactive, and multidisciplinary training initiative to teach healthcare learners essential skills for debriefing. The debriefing workshop is a 2-hour training session in which skills are discussed, modeled, and practiced. The workshop provides a unique opportunity for self-reflection and active learning, as well as an inclusive forum that recognizes the diverse roles, responses, and experiences of healthcare team members and learners. Debriefing sessions are effective in addressing the emotional impact of distressing events, and can improve concentration, morale, work engagement, and individual and team performance, which are critical components of learning. Funding will allow for the refinement of training materials, assessment of the implementation strategy, and partnership with academic divisions and educators to create multidisciplinary learning opportunities. The project will also contribute to Michigan Medicine and GME priorities regarding learner, faculty, and staff well-being and resilience.
Measuring Sense of Belonging in the Engineering Classroom
Laura Hirshfield
Engineering
Pauline Khan
Engineering

$5225.00

Sense of belonging refers to how a student feels that they fit in to a community. If a student does not feel that they belong to a certain community, they are likely to be demotivated, have less confidence, and be more likely to disengage or even drop out of the community (Smith et al. 2012). If students develop a sense of belonging in their specific courses, they may be able to find a peer community within their course, seek the proper support, improve learning, and, more importantly, persist in their field of study. There has been a considerable amount of research conducted to investigate how engineering students think that they belong as engineers in general: in the profession, in their engineering college, or in their university at large. However, we propose that more research is necessary to investigate a student’s sense of belonging, specifically in their engineering classrooms. The primary focus of the proposed project is to create and pilot an assessment instrument that can measure a student’s’ sense of belonging in the classroom. Furthermore, the researchers would like to determine the specific factors, such as team dynamics in project work, instructor feedback, interactions from classmates, and course material, that may impact students’ sense of belonging.

Smith, Tamara Floyd et al. 2012. “Investigation of Belonging for Engineering and Science Undergraduates by Year in School.” Pp. 1–11 in American Society for Engineering Education.
Lessons from the Front Lines: Piloting an Online Platform for Strengthening Community Organization Courses in the School of Social Work Via a Michigan Organizers Video Archive
Barry Checkoway
Social Work
Larry Gant
Social Work
Joseph Galura
Social Work
Shanna Kattari
Social Work
Beth Reed
Social Work
Amber Williams
Social Work

$5970.00

The proposed project aims to create an online platform through which community organizers’ experiences and stories can be captured, taped, and archived in a curated video format and used across multiple classrooms in and outside of the School of Social Work. As an innovative and sustainable teaching model, the project would enhance student learning by integrating Michigan’s community organizers into classrooms using a dynamic digital platform. Lessons from the Front Lines: Community Organizing Archives will feature 15 to 20 organizers in 20-minute videos, sharing their own experiences and their practice, key skills and strategies, lessons from the field, and other information in an interview style setting. These videos will be coupled with short biographies, photos, information about communities/issues, suggested readings, and links to additional resources. For more robust access, the information will be searchable by “type” of practice, and will also have keywords connected to organizers’ profiles. We anticipate partnering with Academic Innovations to create the most user friendly and dynamic online experience while also leveraging the A/V, communications, and technology resources already available to us at the School of Social Work. The videos will be used within multiples community organization social work courses at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels, to supplement and enhance current course content. We intend to reach approximately 100 undergraduates and over 200 graduate students annually. This project supports the School’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals to bring diverse voices and experiences into the classroom in new and meaningful ways.
Integration of a Virtual Reality Curriculum for Medical Students, Pediatric Residents, and Pediatric Cardiology Fellows for Cardiac Anatomy and Congenital Heart Defects
Sonal Owens
Medical School
James Cooke
Medical School

$6000.00

Virtual reality involves the use of headsets containing dual display screens to mimic binocular vision. An immersive 3D environment is then rendered from a host computer, allowing the user to explore and interact with the 3D world. A virtual reality software package called "Stanford Virtual Heart" (SVH), developed by a team at Stanford University utilizes this technology to allow users to place themselves "inside the heart," trace the flow of blood throughout the heart, as well as explore different and nontraditional views of the heart, providing a unique learning experience. The software currently includes the normal heart and several common congenital cardiac defects (atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, aortic stenosis, pulmonic stenosis, coarctation of the aorta, and patent ductus arteriosus). The UM team will also collaborate with the Stanford team to add several complex cardiac lesions that are critical to understanding cardiac physiology and benefit from early identification and intervention. We plan to introduce this novel educational tool to pediatric residents, pediatric cardiology fellows, and medical students at the University of Michigan to improve upon content delivery and provide a more robust assessment of learner understanding of cardiac structure and physiology. Efficacy will be measured using pre- and post-intervention assessments. Our overall goal is to improve content delivery, learner engagement, visuospatial understanding for these complex congenital heart defects, provide a model for other similar visuospatial-intensive subjects, and provide a scalable model for broader dissemination.
Improvement of Teaching: Fostering Graduate and Faculty Development Through an Instructional Incubator and Teaching Apprenticeship Model

$10000.00

Our project proposes to develop an iterative model for graduate and faculty development which engages the entire Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department in sustainably transforming BME education at the University of Michigan. Our model is a 2-semester Incubator/Apprenticeship sequence. During the first semester (Incubator), graduate students and post docs work with BME faculty to research rapidly changing BME workforce trends, while learning about evidence-based best teaching practices, to conceptualize 1-credit undergraduate BME courses. During the second semester (Apprenticeship), graduate students are mentored in executing their 1-credit courses. The 1-credit courses were designed in response to BME student demand for more early stage BME classes that address industry needs while the graduate student engagement was designed in response to increasing demands to expose graduate students to alternative postgraduate opportunities. Immersing faculty and graduate students in creating courses informed by evidence-based teaching practices will transform how BME is taught in higher education. Finally, cross-departmental involvement will address the department-wide call for a more integrated community. Development of the model is informed by social constructivist theory and situated learning theories, instructional beliefs, and organizational change theory. Monitoring of the progress of the course design will be done through qualitative analysis of pre- and post-course surveys, end of course University evaluations, and focus groups conducted at various points in the sequence. Dissemination will focus on academic research and practitioners with plans to report to appropriate academic communities and utilize social media and the laboratory web page (Transforming Engineering Education co-Laboratory) to reach practitioners.