The ILLUMINATE Grant for the Improvement of Teaching provides faculty with funding to increase active learning and authentic hands-on, engaging experiences for students. These projects positively reflect the following National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice:
Congratulations to the exemplary faculty who recently received an ILLUMINATE Grant!
Kyle Harris was awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to purchase supplies to assist his students in researching the symbiotic relationship between crayfish and brachiodbellids. The project intended to further the scholarship and symbiotic knowledge base while enhancing the students' research and communication skills. The process utilized classroom aspects as well as as a field aspects. Students traveled to a stream to observe and gather data and specimen. The lab based component involved a series of tanks which further extended the observation beyond what can be easily be realized in the field.
One of the early results of the grant was several of Mr. Harris's students did a poster presentation at the Virginia Academy of Science. It was the first time the three students presented at a science conference and was a direct result of the grant provided to Mr. Harris for his research.
Orienteering and fire-started skills, essential to missionary work, were used as the learnig vehicle for professors Gunzelman, M. Hicks, S. Hicks, Hendricksen, and Young in the effort to teach experiential leadership skills in a team relay on Liberty Mountain. The group were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies to complete the collaborative outdoor active learning experience. The exercise brought the textbook lectures and case studies in BUSI 690 Business Strategy and Policy to life and built cohesion between classmates. The project proved a success as students demonstrated quick thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, and teamwork.
Drs. Michael Korn, Alan Fulp, and Todd Allen were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to purchase supplies to build an apparatus that replicates a machine built in 1953 by Urey and Miller. This apparatus “simulated” the imagined pre-biotic conditions on earth and allowed students to experience first-hand the truth and complexity of the experiments and that those results were unsuited to explain the origins of life. This also allowed students to be better equipped to defend their Biblical faith by experimental knowledge.
Professors Cox, Buzzy, and Milnor were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to purchase supplies to re-create a crime scene with the effort to teach students crime scene investigation techniques. Students became a "homicide unit" on the first day of class and were treated as police investigators for the rest of the semester. They took witness statements and kept evidence logs. They even had access to a "cadaver" of a pig that allowed them to better understand a crime scene. The class was tranformed into an active learning classroom experience where the books were put away and knowledge was gleaned from hands-on activities.
Kathryn Reinsma was awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to obtain organically-grown and conventional fruit in order to conduct an actual research experiment. The class studied knowledge, attitudes, and taste preferences of college students regarding conventional and organic fruit. Students developed a survey that would provide the data set, gathered responses, and analyzed the data to gain a better sense of the attitudes of college students regarding the topic. At the end of the semester, students created visual elements that effectively illustrated their results.
Kristina DeWitt, Glen DeWitt, and Ruth Beveridge were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to travel to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia along with ten students. The Academy is known for its active learning environments and the professors and students traveled to the academy to learn active learning strategies that have been implemented successfully at the Academy. After returning to Lynchburg the group scheduled a time to showcase their new knowledge to the teachers at Dearington Elementary in Lynchburg, Virginia. During the workshop, LU students provided four stations where Dearington teachers and Liberty University Education students learned the active learning strategies that the Ron Clark Academy utilizes. These included the use of music and singing to help the students learn the material presented in a way that causes them to learn it more intently.
James Long and Robert Rich were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to purchase Computer/Electrical Engineering instructional aids that would help turn their classroom into a more active learning environment. These aids were instrumental in allowing the professors to move from a team-based pen and paper environment to one in which postulated problems can be proven trough actual performance and demonstration. This introduction of physical learning aids will help move the classroom the next logical step in achieving maximum effectiveness during class time and help raise the level of understanding in the material being presented.
Nicole Thorn was awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to purchase white noise maskers that allowed her students to experience the physical similarities of being deaf. The maskers (hearing aid-like devices that produce white noise) helped the students better understand the sociocultural aspects of deafness and enlightened them to issues and perceptions affecting those who are hearing impaired.
It is crucial for students to factor visual storytelling into the work they create in order to captivate an audience based on a concept rather than just an aesthetic approach. Through the ILLUMINATE Grant, students were able to interact face to face with professional award-winning illustrators, Megan Halsey and Melanie Hall. Both are accomplished in the publishing and design industries for over 25 years and most recently have ventured into art licensing (art utilized commercially on a variety of retail products). Through hands-on workshops, lectures, and a gallery exhibit, students were exposed to the changes of the design, illustration and publishing industries.
John Marselus was awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to obtain the materials needed for his students to design and build their own aircraft. Students spent time designing their gliders using their knowledge of aerodynamics. This project was based on a class taught at the United States Air Force Academy. It allowed the students to put their knowledge into practice as they design their own aircraft and then make them secure the longest glide distance.
Dr. Henderson was awarded the ILLUMINATE grant to facilitate student presentations focusing on the unique nutritional needs in each phase of the life cycle. Approximately 100 students from Human Nutrition (HLTH 330) participated by developing group presentations which covered ten facets of generational health issues. In addition to informational displays, students talked about healthy diet and eating habits during each life phase. Students prepared sample foods and provided recipes for healthy eating options. Projects were prominently galleried in the Jerry Falwell Library making their research highly visible for the Liberty student body, staff and faculty to see.
Drs. Linda Mintle, Carl Hoegerl, and Michael Hueber were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to obtain professional development and resources for faculty design curriculum for Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) students to receive training in motivational interviewing (MI), a collaborative, person-centered, goal-oriented, interview that assesses a patient's motivation and commitment to change. MI is learned through an active teaching process that includes observation and scoring, practice and rehearsal. Most current medical school curricula fail to adequately teach thie necessary skill essential for third year rotations. With assisstance from the ILLUMINATE grant, Liberty is unique in offering this patient-centered training to LUCOM students.
Drs. Heisey and Blosser were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to support a case study involving students in Sports Facilities and Events and Sport Finance classes to plan and promote a U.S. city vying to be the U.S. candidate host city for the 2014 Olympics. Teams prepared a bid video and research related to city proper, facilities, budget, marketing, etc. and present their findings. After several team elimination rounds, the final round was critiqued by Dr. Holger Preuss from Meinz, Germany. Preuss is a noted author and global expert on the Olympic movement, staging large sports events, and measuring their economic impact. Students not only had the opportunity to work in teams across two courses, but also benefitted from having their work previewed by an international expert in the field.
Dr. Amy Xie was awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to share an authentic cultural experience with her students: a Chinese New Year celebration. Her students sang Chinese hymns and Bible verses, created music with clapping instruments, demonstrated Tai Chi wearing traditonal uniforms, and played various Chinese games. To wrap up the cultural experience, students enjoyed some genuine Chinese cuisine.
Drs. Ben Kalu and Kimberly A. Mitchell were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to implement an active learning project designed to (a) assist students in understanding the functions and integration of human body systems; (b) how homeostasis is maintained despite changes in the internal and external environments; (c) and effects of disease states. To make learning real, the grant provided students with medical equipment to record and test EKGs, brain wave patterns, joint angles, and blood flow- all important features in understanding the body's systems in health and disease. Students can now study the physiology of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and muscular systems using populations of human subjects, rather than from a textbook.
Drs. J. Thomas McClintock, Randall Hubbard, and Andrew Fabich were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to help students quickly and accurately identify unknown microorganisms and bacteria with a high degree of specificity. The grant provided students with Entertube II rapid diagnostic kits, which are commonly used in clinical, hospital, or research laboratories. While classical approaches to identifying microorganisms still have merit, they are time-consuming, costly, and impractical. The use and implementation of the modern rapid kits helped make learning active and simulated modern real-world situations and techniques.
Deborah Huff and Bruce Kirk were awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to help train future journalists of faith. Students worked in teams to create news packages which were sent to WTAE TV ABC-Pittsburgh for professional critique and commentary. Three-time regional Emmy Award winning news anchor Michelle Wright then visited campus and delivered a lecture and workshop. Wright then led individual student groups through a personal session on research, content development, writing, and interviewing techniques.