Agenda Item No. V. B. 2.

Washburn University Board of Regents



SUBJECT: Washburn Innovation Grant Funding



DESCRIPTION: The Washburn University Innovation Grant is an internal grant program created by the Washburn University Board of Regents and funded by the Washburn Endowment Association. Its purpose is to support projects which will make a significant impact on the future of Washburn University.

In mid-October, 2002, a Call for Proposals for the Innovation Grant program was sent to the University community. In early December, the 15 preliminary grant proposals submitted were reviewed by the Innovation Grant Committee. Four of the 15 grants were selected for further consideration, and the proposers were asked to submit a detailed grant proposal by mid-February, 2003. These grants were reviewed by the committee, which recommended the grants to be funded (in full or in part).

The membership on the Innovation Grant Committee was: one member of the Washburn University Board of Regents (Charles Engel), one member of the Washburn Alumni Association (Richard Thornburg), one member of the Washburn Endowment Association Board of Trustees (Beth Fager), three faculty not associated with submitted grant proposals (Russ Jacobs, Meredith Moore, Kay Rute), the President (or designee) of the Washburn Student Government Association (Jonathan Schmucker), the Vice President for Student Life (Denise Ottinger), and the Vice President for Academic Affairs (Ron Wasserstein), who served as chair.



(1) Digitally Accessible Resources for Teaching (DART), submitted by Sara Tucker, Professor of History, and Tim Peterson, Dean of Continuing Education. The primary purposes of this project are to: (a) create broad-use digitally accessible resources for faculty to incorporate easily into their daily teaching, whether on-line or in the classroom (e.g., digital versions of texts, images, audio and video recordings); (b) provide significantly expanded consultation and assistance to faculty (from beginners to "super users") to enhance teaching and learning through instructional technology; and (c) pilot new approaches for supporting the campus-wide education used of computers and digital resources. A team of students, faculty and staff will be developed to accomplish these project goals.

As noted by many faculty, most recently at the faculty planning dinners, the time and resources required to incorporate electronic materials to enhance teaching and improve learning has not kept pace with the faculty's desire to do so, and with student needs and demands for such materials. There simply isn't time for every faculty member to become an expert at acquiring and formatting digital materials for classroom use, and it is questionable whether this is the best use of faculty time. The role of the faculty member is to identify the instructional materials which will be most helpful. The DART project will provide tools and assistance to help faculty who have identified such materials to incorporate them into "classroom" use, whether that classroom is physical, virtual or both.

Improving undergraduate instruction is at the top of the University's academic priorities. It is hoped that the DART project will be so successful in accomplishing its goals that it will become integrated into the University's budget after the completion of the grant. To that end, the grant proposers will report progress at the end of each semester, and will assess project success based on the number of new digital resources created, the number of participants in the project, and by the evaluation of both faculty and students of the impact of these digital resources on teaching and learning.

The grant budget of $295,980, allocated over three years, includes funding for staffing (faculty reassignment to assist in the program, a part time staff assistant, stipends for student assistants, etc.) and software and hardware to develop and refine tools and materials.



(2) Undergraduate Creative and Scholarly Work Program, submitted by Joanne Altman, Professor of Psychology, Michael Russell, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Stephen Angel, Associate Professor of Chemistry, and Bruce MacTavish, Assistant Professor of History.

The program is a university-wide effort to further develop and enhance the culture of student scholarship and creativity which is being developed at Washburn University. The grant funds will provide the materials needed so that students can conduct research or develop creative ideas, make available funding to travel to present their work to professional associations, and will provide summer research opportunities for students.

Engagement in independent creative and scholarly work enriches the student's educational experiences, and is becoming one of the hallmarks of a Washburn University education. Student productivity allows for the application of knowledge that has been gained in the classroom, enhances confidence, promotes student-faculty interaction, provides exploration of the professional side of a discipline, and makes the student more competitive for graduate school and/or post-graduate employment.

A significant number of faculty and students engage in these creative and scholarly activities, as evidenced by participation in the annual research forum, and by student success in presenting papers at state, regional and national conferences. These activities are one of the "transformational experiences" discussed at the Board retreat in September, 2002, and it is hoped that this project will be so successful in further establishing a culture of student scholarly and creative output that it will become integrated into the University's budget after the completion of the grant. To that end, the grant proposers will report progress at the end of each semester, and will assess program success based on the level of participation, information from student focus groups, and results of surveys of students, faculty and the community.

The budget originally proposed was approximately $300,000 over three years. The grant committee believed the major purposes of the grant could be accomplished for $150,000 over three years. All but about $4,000 of this funding goes directly to students either through support for materials, travel support or stipends. The remaining $4,000 will send faculty representatives to the national Council on Undergraduate Research, to make sure Washburn stays abreast of developments and trends in this area.



FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: $445,980 from WEA funds established for this purpose. The current balance in the grant fund is just over $880,000, including the 2002 distribution of approximately $227,000. Funds would be expended over a three-year period, in roughly equal amounts annually.



RECOMMENDATION: We recommend $295,980 to fund the Digitally Accessible Resources for Teaching (DART) Project, and $150,000 for the Undergraduate Creative and Scholarly Work Program, from the WEA grant fund established for this purpose.





(date) Jerry B. Farley, President


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