Faculty Grant Opportunities: Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement

Whitney Scott

Whitney Scott, director of Faculty Development talking with new faculty and others during a New Faculty Orientation. Photo by Lee Choo.

Topics ranging from student smoking to privacy laws will be explored by California State University, Northridge’s Judge Julian Beck Learning-Centered Instructional Project grant award winners during the 2015–16 academic year — in an effort to enhance student learning and engagement.

These topics and others will be researched by 20 recipients of the grant. The Beck grant selection committee, which consists of CSUN faculty, chose 12 projects that seek to provide students with opportunities to actively engage in — and ultimately become responsible for — their own learning.

“The Beck grant uniquely integrates the top two campus priorities: student success and employee success,” said Whitney Scott, director of faculty development. “Inviting faculty to carefully investigate how their students learn can result [in] positive changes in faculty pedagogical decisions and philosophy. This is a double win.”

The Beck grant was first established in 1976 with funds from the Judge Julian Beck Endowment. Beck was a San Fernando Valley legislator who helped found what was established as San Fernando Valley State College. The grants range from $3,000 per person to $6,000 per project. The awardees also receive up to three units in reassigned time, outside the classroom.

The Beck grant is just one of three available to faculty through the Office of Faculty Development.

This fall, full- and part-time faculty can also apply for the Faculty Development Competition for Attending Teaching Conferences grant. Between $100 and $500 will be awarded to offset the cost of registration and travel to teaching conferences, aimed at bringing back to CSUN pedagogical lessons learned. The deadline to apply this year is Sept. 14.

The Probationary Faculty Support Program Grant, which is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, is offered each spring semester. The goal is to provide protected time for probationary, full-time, tenure-track faculty in their first through fifth years to work on research and other projects that will aid in meeting the qualifications for retention, tenure or promotion. The Office of Faculty Development grants up to 17 awards for three units of reassigned time for spring 2016. The deadline to apply this year is Oct. 1.

“The gift of time is a coveted faculty commodity,” Scott said. “All of these grants provide time for faculty to be reflective and to work on special programs or projects.”

The selected recipients of the Beck grant and their respective projects are:

·      Leigh Bradberry (Political Science): The new Privacy and the Law Course: Creating In-depth Student Exploration of Cutting-edge Privacy Issues.

·      Jennifer De Maio (Political Science): Moot Court & Expanding Experiential Learning Opportunities.

·      Cynthia Desrochers, Matthew d’Alessio (Elementary Education and Geology): Five Gears Campus-Wide Faculty Learning Community.

·      Wen-Chin Hsu (Computer Science): Scratch Out Traditional Java-Learning Class for Scratch: Applying a More Efficient and Interesting Teaching Method Involving Scratch.

·      Sharlene Katz, James Flynn (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Video Reference Library of Electronic Test and Measurement Techniques.

·      John Kephart (Communication Studies): Professional Development: Providing Opportunities for Graduate Student Success.

·      Sheba Lo (Africana Studies): Re-Imagining Stretch Writing: An eText Guide for Engaging 113A Students.

·      Lauren Magnuson, Elizabeth Altman, Charissa Jefferson (Oviatt Library): Teaching Data and Spatial Literacy Skills through Open Data.

·      Vidya Nandikolla, Jia Ruting, Vibhav Durgesh (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering): Innovative STEM Experience in Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum.

·      Joshua Schwartz, Elena Miranda (Geology): Bringing the Undergraduate Geoscience Curriculum Into the 21st Century.

·      Suzanne Spear, Bethany Rainisch (Health Sciences): The MPH Community Health Project: Creating Experiential Learning Opportunities.

·      Paul Wilson (Biology): Hands-On Science with Campus Organisms in BIOL 106L.

Recipients will share their findings upon completion of their projects. For more information about faculty grants, visit the Office of Faculty Development webpage.