Funded Projects
Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching
Project Title Overview of the Project
The Team, the Team, the Team: Using the Cooperative Board Game Pandemic to Teach Effective Leadership, Communication, and Teamwork in Medical Education
Emily Peoples
Medical School
Lara Zisblatt
Medical School


Teamwork is essential for the practice of medicine, particularly in the perioperative setting. Team training has been shown to improve communication and reduce the incidence of adverse events in the perioperative setting. Teamwork and crisis resource management have been included in anesthesiology training since the development of the first comprehensive anesthesia simulation environments. Although multimodal, longitudinal interventions are more effective to change behavior, significant barriers such as time, human resources, money, and simulator availability limit the ability of programs to provide more simulation-based education. Cooperative games, including online and board games, are being explored to engage learners in new ways while observing and teaching teamwork in another arena for implementation in the clinical setting.

The purpose of this study is to determine if teamwork-related behaviors are demonstrated and can be observed while health professionals are playing the cooperative board game PandemicTM to teach effective cognition, communication, cooperation, and leadership. For this educational program and study, we will have anesthesiology interns play PandemicTM while divided up into teams. The session will start with an explanation of teamwork including discussions about cognition, communication, cooperation, and leadership. The facilitators will discuss important strategies for managing teams and attributes of effective team members while monitoring progress of the games and debriefing at different points during game play to enhance learning. Success of the intervention will be assessed through a combination of learner self-assessment (using the Teamwork Effectiveness Assessment Module), facilitator assessment (using the Anesthesia Nontechnical Skills instrument), and focus groups.
Simulated Cardiac Arrest (Code Blue) Training for University of Michigan School of Nursing Undergraduate and Graduate Students Using a High-Fidelity Patient Simulator and Crash Cart


When a cardiac arrest occurs in the hospital setting a ‘code blue’ emergency response is initiated. The code blue team immediately responds and utilizes a crash cart to resuscitate the patient. University of Michigan 2018 nursing graduates identified they were not prepared to function in the nursing role during a code blue situation. In response, a cardiac arrest simulation is in development using a high fidelity human patient simulator (HPS) and a simulated crash cart equipped with the necessary resuscitation supplies. UMSN currently has a HPS to use in the cardiac arrest simulation, but not a simulated crash cart. This funding would aid in purchasing a training crash cart for use in this ‘Cardiac Arrest Simulation’ with the purpose of increasing confidence and competency of future nurses responding to a cardiac arrest situation, as well as improve patient outcomes.

All senior level undergraduate nursing students and advanced practice nursing students will participate in the ‘Cardiac Arrest Simulation’. A ‘Cardiac Competency Assessment’ tool that will assess the student’s knowledge, skills and attitudes related to cardiac arrest before and after completing the code simulation. Students will be asked to provide feedback about their perceptions of the effectiveness of the simulation experience using the Simulation Effectiveness Tool Modified (SET-M).

This project will augment didactic course content, strengthen competence and confidence in cardiac arrest situations, and positively influence safe practice and patient outcomes. The simulation will be available to roughly 200 undergraduate nursing students and 60 graduate advanced practice nursing students per academic year.
Design-Specific Leadership in Architecture
Irene Hwang
Architecture and Urban Planning
Reetha Raveendran
Architecture and Urban Planning
McLain Clutter
Architecture and Urban Planning


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.
Virtual Anatomy
Glenn Fox
Medical School
B. Kathleen Alsup
Medical School


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


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.
Debriefing Training for Healthcare Learners: Learning to Process Distressing Events Together
Nasuh Malas
Medical School
Kelcey Stratton
Janice Firn
Social Work
Kathleen Robertson
Medical School
Katie Feder
Medical School
Patricia Keefer
Medical School


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.
Good with Words: Speaking and Presenting


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.
Measuring Sense of Belonging in the Engineering Classroom
Laura Hirshfield
Pauline Khan


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.
Healthcare Theatre: Taking Human Simulation to the Next Level


Changing the way graduate nursing education is offered is vital to meet the needs of new generations of students. Distance learning offers options that enable today's students to achieve their education while studying on their own time. The School of Nursing (UMSN) is developing online nurse practitioner programs, admitting the first cohort in fall 2020. Distance learners will be required to be on campus several times throughout their program for assessments and standardized patient (SP) experiences. The quality of the distance cohort program needs to be equal to the traditional, on-campus cohorts, requiring well-trained SPs to provide high-stakes simulation that meet the national Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) Standards of Best Practice.
Project faculty propose to develop a reliable UMSN Standardized Patient Program with the aim of creating robust on-campus clinical immersions and assessments for distance learners that in time can be shared with other health science schools on campus. The project will have three phases. First, clinical faculty will partner with the Clinical Learning Center (CLC) to recruit and train SPs by creating a healthcare theater elective course for undergraduate health science students. Second, SPs will be evaluated for consistency and accuracy in portraying their assigned roles, ability to give quality feedback to students and to complete assessments of students’ performance. Last, the SPs will be utilized in both traditional and online programs to provide formative learning experiences and summative assessments for students, in addition to interprofessional education courses with other health schools like dentistry and social work.
Digifab Process Library
Sophia Brueckner
Art & Design


Stamps’ new Digital Fabrication Studio has incredible machines, but there is so much unrealized potential for both student and faculty work. I propose to create an extensive library of inspiring and informative samples that illustrate the uses of our equipment on all kinds of materials. This library will complement the Materials Collection at the Duderstadt by focusing on demonstrating what our equipment can do and by showcasing what students themselves have produced. Arts & Design students are out-of-the-box thinkers who think through making. Students need to see in things in real life and touch physical samples. They need to know what settings/tools/etc. were used to get those effects with our machines in order to gain expertise and be innovative. It is important that this is driven by students’ work because when new students encounter the library they know whatever they see or touch is achievable...they are accessing things made by fellow students rather than exemplar pieces made by professionals. There is also an equity of access issue at play, with students who are less well off hesitating to buy and experiment with unfamiliar materials. This library would encourage more creative risk taking in all students but especially for those who are financially disadvantaged. This library will demonstrate the potential of new digital fabrication technologies when applied to fine art, design, and traditional crafts, encouraging all Stamps’ faculty and students to push the creative limits of this space as well as serve as a resource for the rest of the University.
A holistic approach to calibrating clinical dental faculty for assessments that support a “growth mind-set”


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


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.