Six teaching projects receive Miller grants
Six faculty teams will split nearly $72,000 in grants next year to develop innovative approaches to undergraduate student learning through Miller Faculty Fellowship grants. Funding came from two sources: the president's office ($50,000) and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching ($22,000).
Nineteen proposals were submitted for review by the CELT advisory board with a total of $240,530 requested. The board made recommendations to senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert, who gave final approval.
Following is a quick summary of the six funded projects that represent principal investigators from five colleges.
Flipped pre-lab discussion and structured inquiry in CHEM 331L
Summary: Redesign the largest organic chemistry lab class -- perceived by students as a huge obstacle -- by replacing pre-lab lectures with video tutorials, other materials and discussion to predict experiment results. Experiments themselves will use structured inquiry and guided inquiry approaches in which the outcome is less certain. The goal is for students to use critical thinking to learn basic concepts, understand why organic chemicals behave as they do and become better interpreters of experiment results.
Faculty team: Teresa Fernando, Joseph Awino, George Kraus, Arthur Winter and Yan Zhao, chemistry
Developing virtual lab software as a new teaching tool for biochemistry lab course
Summary: To aid the introductory biochemistry lab course, software will provide animated visualization of biomolecules to help students simulate and understand experiments outside of actual labs. The team will track if the software helps students better execute and understand complex experiments.
Faculty team: Baoyu Chen and Desiree Gunning, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology; and Simanta Mitra, computer science
Enhancing best practices in microbial sciences in the digital age through experiential learning
Summary: As part of the capstone course (Micro 440) for students in microbial sciences, integrate computational and bioinformatic data into previously purchased laptops (replacing a paper notebook archive) for efficient, secure use of the data and to expand the scope of possible learning exercises.
Faculty team: Larry Halverson and Claudia Lemper plant pathology and microbiology; and Greg Phillips, veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine
Video enhanced mobile observation: Mobile-app supported peer observation and feedback pedagogy
Summary: Develop a video mobile app for use in an elementary science teaching course to enhance students' peer observation and feedback and ultimately develop better teachers.
Faculty team: Evrim Baran and EunJin Bahng, School of Education
Leadership skill awareness development through peer feedback
Summary: Turn a lecture-based course into one where students are the decision-makers on topics, and peers assess each other's leadership skills. It will help ensure students' ideas are heard and leadership behavior is shown in group settings.
Faculty team: Maartje Schouten and John Watt, management
Innovative learning framework for classes involving physical systems: Combining the inductive teaching and learning method and the Make To Innovate program
Summary: Use an inductive learning method (which begins with questions or challenges for students), as well as aerospace engineering's successful "Make To Innovate" program to help students in two AE courses (355 and 531) understand complex concepts in flight dynamics and aircraft performance. Inductive methods are rarely used in engineering courses, mostly due to a lack of evidence they can work in the discipline.
Faculty team: A Ram Kim, Benjamin Ahn and Matthew Nelson, aerospace engineering
The projects must be completed by June 30, 2020. In addition to preparing a final report, Miller fellows share the outcomes of their project during a fall luncheon.
The 2019-20 academic year marks the 23rd year of the program, which now has funded 206 projects and dispersed more than $3.5 million. It is named for and partially funded by the estate of F. Wendell Miller, an attorney and farm manager who died in 1995. His will stipulated that the bulk of his estate be used to create the Miller Endowment Trust, with income from the trust divided equally between Iowa State and the University of Iowa. Former president Martin Jischke established the faculty fellowship program in 1996.