The University Record, January 7, 1997

Three faculty awarded $25,000 for further development in Whitaker Fund competition; 10 proposals get $5,000

Provost J. Bernard Machen recently has announced the faculty recipients of three grants of $25,000 each and 10 grants of $5,000 each from the Gilbert R. Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching. Awards were given for proposals that will best "develop and deepen the commitment to good teaching among the faculty colleagues" in each department, according to Machen.

The $25,000 awards were given to three faculty members to further develop the projects they began last year when they received $5,000 awards in the first round of the Whitaker Fund competition.

Monika R. Dressler, lecturer in German language and literature, used her first grant to evaluate and restructure the elementary review course in German (German 103). As she completed her work in this area, she "found that our department shared many of the same needs, similar problems and common goals with the French section of the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, and invited them to join us in Phase II." Dressler will use the larger grant to "address on a larger scale improvements in the preparation students receive before coming to Michigan" in French and German by redesigning elementary French courses and hosting workshops for high school French and German teachers.

A two-day institute focusing on including multicultural content in the classroom was the product of Patricia Y. Gurin's first Whitaker Fund grant. With the second grant, Gurin, chair of the Department of Psychology, will hire consultants to meet with graduate students and faculty to "alter course material, pedagogy and classroom climate" to be more inclusive to students of different backgrounds.

Martha Vicinus, chair of the Department of English, implemented a program using her first Whitaker grant to train faculty to use the computer for teaching composition and literature courses. She intends to use the second grant to purchase four computers for a "center dedicated to out-of-classroom instructional use," she says, "where students meet together to write, search the WorldWide Web, and work on collaborative research and writing projects."

The second round of $5,000 Whitaker grants were awarded to the following 10 projects:

Nicholas Steneck, professor of history and director of Inteflex, has proposed using the WorldWide Web and CD-ROM technologies as a means of "providing students with meaningful opportunities to explore and to discuss ethical issues relating to engineering."

Assistant Professor of Music Mary Simoni has proposed creating a course using multimedia tools that will team up students from various disciplines to "examine issues of aesthetics" and human expression. Simoni suggests offering the course in Bursley Residence Hall because of the interdisciplinary nature of the hall's student population.

"Reshaping the Art History Curriculum for the Next Century" is the proposal of Pat Simons, assistant professor of history of art. Simons will offer a multi-day series of workshops for history of art faculty and graduate students to "explore revising the curriculum so that it better reflects the caliber of faculty interests and the changes in the discipline of art history."

Michael Rodemer and Loretta Staples, assistant professors of art, will develop a "model curriculum for computing in art and design" so students will have a better grasp of what computers can do for designers.

A retreat and workshops about redesigning the Introduction to Women's Studies for Women's Studies faculty and graduate students is proposed by Sidonie Smith, director of the Women's Studies Program. The workshops will focus on classroom technologies and developing the writing component in the introductory level course which, Smith says, can lead to "greater coherence and effectiveness" in the course syllabus.

Fatma Müge Göcek, associate professor of sociology, aims to "reinvigorate faculty teaching by exposing sociology to new approaches and materials" through two workshops. Göcek also proposes preparing a faculty article reference pack on teaching and a library of books on faculty teaching issues.

An evaluation of the Keller Plan teaching method is the subject of Marcy Osgood and Karen Ocorr's proposal. The biology lecturers will compare the effectiveness of the Keller Plan, under which biological chemistry students teach themselves, with the standard lecture-based biochemistry course. They also will try to determine whether computer-aided instruction would help students in the Keller Plan.

Mathematics Prof. Peter Hinman has proposed "Restructuring the Sophomore Mathematics Courses." Hinman will examine revising sophomore mathematics courses to "better serve the needs of engineering students" because, he believes, Math 215 and Math 216 currently "do not mesh well with many of the engineering programs."

Bobbi Low, professor of natural resources, and Bob Grese, associate professor of natural resources, hope to "foster innovations in the curriculum of the School of Natural Resources and Environment" through teaching forums, theme semesters, course restructuring and technology training workshops.

Anne Ruggles Gere, professor of English and of education, proposed "Implementing Interactive Video in Teacher Education." Gere will expand current interactive video exchanges between a U-M teacher education class and local middle schools. U-M students can observe by interactive video a middle school classroom, then discuss teaching methods with the middle school teacher.