Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Record Update First

Inaugural group receives teaching innovation prizes

Five teaching innovations are being honored with the university’s first Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize and a $5,000 award honoring the most original approaches to teaching and creativity in the classroom.

“It was exciting to learn that there were 103 faculty from 17 schools and colleges nominated for this award,’’ says Provost Teresa Sullivan. “It is clear that we have a remarkable number of outstanding teachers at U-M — people who put real creativity into their teaching.’’

The winners were selected by a panel of Arthur F. Thurnau professors.

“Thurnau professorships honor U-M faculty who have been great teachers while this new award is focused on specific pedagogical practices,” says Associate Vice Provost Constance Cook, executive director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.

“Innovation in teaching is every bit as important as it is in research,” says University Librarian Paul Courant, a Thurnau Professor of Economics and Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

John King, vice provost for academic information, adds, “The Teaching Innovation Prize is designed to recognize the best new approaches to teaching, so we want these winners to disseminate their pedagogies so that colleagues can benefit from what they have learned.’’

The five winning teaching innovations are:

Experiential Cross-Disciplinary Learning: Integrated Product Development (IPD) — Shaun Jackson, professor of art and design, School of Art & Design, and professor of architecture, Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning; and William Lovejoy, Raymond T.J. Perring Family Professor of Business Administration and professor of operations management, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and associate professor of art, School of Art & Design.

IPD re-creates the competitive environment that real businesses face every day. In 12 weeks, interdisciplinary teams of students from the schools of Business, Engineering, Architecture and Art and Design develop fully functional, customer-ready products and subject them to assessment by voters in simulated markets.

IPD is the only course in the country to juxtapose these requirements, and it repeatedly has been identified by Business Week magazine as one of the top design courses in the world.

Each team works together on the market research, design, manufacturing, and costing of its product, as well as graphic identity, Web sites, and trade show presentations. Last year brought 1,314 Web-based votes, while the physical trade show boasted 302 attendees who reviewed the products and cast ballots for their favorite.

As in the real world of business and design, student grades reflect the overall profitability that they achieved at the two trade shows.

The Family Centered Experience Program: Patients as Teachers in Fostering Empathy and Patient-Centered Care — Arno Kumagai, course associate professor of internal medicine, and Rachel Perlman, clinical assistant professor of internal medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School.

The Family Centered Experience (FCE) is an innovative two-year program that is part of the required curriculum at the Medical School and involves using the power of patients’ stories to foster empathy and patient-centered care.

In the FCE, pairs of medical students make scheduled visits over two years to the homes of volunteer patients and their families in order to listen to the volunteers’ stories about chronic illness and its care.

These home visits, as well as readings, assignments and small group discussions, serve as a foundation for the students to explore the experience of chronic illness from the patient's perspective.

One of a few pioneering programs at U.S. medical schools, FCE is the most comprehensive — with an extensive conceptual framework, an active research arm, and considerable faculty development. FCE is built on a framework grounded in theories of empathy and moral development, adult learning, and transformative education.

The program’s small-group activities involve student-led discussions and interactions, as well as interpretative projects that capture the students’ understanding of the experience of illness.

Promoting Student Inquiry and Active Learning: Animal Diversity Web (ADW) and Quaardvark —Philip Myers, professor of zoology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, LSA.

The ADW database contains thousands of detailed descriptions of species that have been contributed by students from more than 40 institutions in North America.

A specially designed template allows non-experts to enter data that will be amenable to structured searches. Each section has a place for free text, along with associated keywords and data fields for quantitative summaries. Authors also attach bibliographic citations.

Since 2007 Quaardvark has provided a new way for students to construct queries and download ADW data to explore natural history patterns and test hypotheses. Quaardvark opens up possibilities for active learning in many biological disciplines, including ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation.

An interdisciplinary partnership between the ADW team and Nancy Songer, a professor in the School of Education, brings authentic science experiences to fourth- through sixth-grade students in Detroit Public Schools.

Innovations for Larger Classes: LectureTools and Online Textbooks (XamPREP) — Perry Samson, Thurneau Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, College of Engineering.

LectureTools is designed as an alternative to ‘clickers’ and provides a wider range of question types for instructors. Additionally LectureTools allows students to pose questions during lectures, and GSIs in the room can answer their questions for them in real time. Students also can type notes synchronized to the instructor’s slides and draw on the slides with a Macintosh or PC.

The tool originated from Samson’s desire to expand the use of student discussion in large lecture classes and the realization that clickers could not accommodate the kinds of questions he wished to pose, including free response, lists to reorder and image-based questions.

XamPREP redesigns textbook content (in collaboration with publishers) to promote inquiry and timely reading. Students log in to answer questions posed by the instructor in preparation for each class, and they rate their confidence in each answer. Whether right or wrong, each response takes the student directly to the content germane to the question. At the very least, students are exposed to key concepts before lecture, are able to search the textbook, view animations and quiz themselves on concepts prior to exams.

Virtual Microscopy for Life Sciences Education — Lloyd Stoolman, professor of pathology, Medical School; and Matthew Velkey, lecturer in cell and developmental biology, Medical School.

Revolutionary as light microscopes were for medicine, this means of studying diseased organs and tissues does not scale easily. Assembling, maintaining, and updating sets of glass slides for instructing and testing large cohorts of medical students devoured faculty time, without guaranteeing that students and instructors would actually see the same features, given variation in tissue slices and students' microscope skills.

The project's overriding goal was to preserve the highly interactive laboratory experience by generating high-resolution digital replicas of the best tissue sections, compiling online image repositories, and deploying user-friendly, computer-based “viewers” that recapitulated the operation of a microscope. This combination of technologies retained the cognitively engaging aspects of light microscopy while overcoming the limitations imposed by traditional laboratories.

The Teaching Innovation Prize winners will be recognized at the 12th annual Enriching Scholarship event May 4. For more information, go to