U-M funds another round of engaged-learning projects


The university has awarded funding for another 18 projects under the Transforming Learning for a Third Century portion of the Third Century Initiative.

The latest Quick Wins and Discovery grants will be among the last, as the university plans only one more round of funding at this level.

To date, U-M has funded more than 90 small projects, for up to $50,000 each, that leaders said had “transformative potential for curriculum, pedagogy, and student learning and/or projects that embrace risk, discovery, and experimentation, empowering faculty members and staff to explore opportunities beyond the traditional.”

The total funding distributed for this round is about $670, 000, and to date the university has funded $7.7 million under the three grant programs — Quick Wins, Discovery and Transformation — out of the $25 million dedicated to teaching initiatives.

In the fall, the university also announced the first three Transformation grants, which are up to $3 million, awarded to projects that offer sustainable and replicable large-scale approaches to instruction or infrastructure. These larger grants are where the program will focus after the next round.

“We are halfway through the five-year Third Century Initiative, and have been very successful with some of these smaller projects intended to get us critically rethinking and — where we should — changing the way we teach. As we approach the U-M’s bicentennial in 2017, we are ready to pursue larger projects that will transform the educational environment at the university,” said James Holloway, vice provost for global and engaged education.

“We are hoping for engaged-learning projects that produce students who are creative, intercultural, responsible, collaborative and innovative.”

The final call for the “mini-grant” Quick Wins/Discovery program will be this spring, with proposals due June 1.

Included in this latest round of grants are:

• A Great Lakes Living History project, which will use the storytelling tradition to document histories and practices within Sault Ste. Marie, in cooperation with the Chippewa Tribe and others in the community, ultimately leading to a drama performance.

• The Flipped Engineering Laboratory that will provide for development of inexpensive, miniature sensors allowing students to practice mechanical and biomedical engineering “kitchen table experiments” outside of the traditional lab setting.

• The Using Hybrid Modular Courses to Scale Up Engaged Learning project that will meet the challenge of growing enrollment in the School of Kinesiology by developing five courses, which will include both an online component and engaged, active learning sessions.

• An Inside/Outside educational exchange program that will teach undergraduates literature alongside incarcerated people.


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