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ILLUMINATE Grants recipients for 2020-21 announced, will allow faculty to explore new classroom experiences

Recipients of Liberty University’s 2020-21 ILLUMINATE Grants for the Improvement of Teaching were announced on Aug. 25, marking another year of providing Liberty faculty with funds to explore more creative and innovative learning concepts.

The grants are designed to encourage faculty to reflect on teaching practices and develop plans to enhance instruction through the introduction of new pedagogical and active learning techniques, activities, class trips, and/or learner-centered experiences. Individuals apply for up to $1,500, teams of two up to $3,000, and teams of three up to $4,500.

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Confidential scoring committees evaluate applicants on the grant’s purpose, student engagement, higher-order thinking, and potential to impact student learning. Dr. Shawn M. Bielicki, Director of Teaching Excellence, oversees the awards process through Liberty’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE).

“This year’s ILLUMINATE Grants winners stood out because they showcased innovative hands-on and experiential learning,” Bielicki said. “I believe that if you make learning real, real learning will take place.”

In order to learn, students have to do more than just listen; they need to read, write, discuss, or be engaged in solving problems. The Center for Teaching Excellence believes — students must engage in such higher-order thinking tasks as research, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, and that active learning engages students in two aspects doing things and thinking about the things they are doing.

“We have such great programs here at Liberty University and our faculty members are consistently finding innovative ways to enhance student learning and advance their research with each new year,” said Dr. Scott Hicks, Liberty’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer. “We support them in these pursuits as they train the next generation of Champions for Christ and represent both Christ and Liberty in the world of academics.”

2020-21 ILLUMINATE Grant awardees:

  • Accu-Vein Illuminator for Vein Visualization (Dena Todd, Carol Harvey, & Jerry Harvey; School of Nursing)
  • Augmenting Studio and Digital Arts Curriculum through Virtual Experiences (Joey Wright, Joshua Wilson, & David Meyer; School of Communication and the Arts)
  • Pocket Lab Kits for First-Year Engineering Courses (James Long & Carolyn Ziebart; School of Engineering)
  • Integrating 16S Sequencing into Upper Level Organismal Courses to Train Biology Undergraduates Modern Molecular Techniques (Matthew Becker, Paul Sattler, & David Rockabrand; School of Health Sciences)
  • Critical Thinking In Action: Foundational Skills Escape Room (Brad Burgess, Daniel Berkenkemper, & Dwayne Melton; College of Applied Studies & Academic Success)
  • The Stuff of History: Learning and Presenting History with Objects (Donna Donald; College of Arts and Sciences)
  • Current Issues in the Problem of Evil: A Dialogue (Michael Scott Jones, College of Arts and Sciences)
  • Meet Dr. Forgiveness (Jichan Kim; School of Behavioral Sciences)
  • Stop the Bleed: An Inter-professional Approach to Saving Lives on Campus and Abroad (Tonia Kennedy, Dana Woody, & Sergeant Hurtak; School of Nursing & Liberty University Police Department)
  • Hispanic Community Needs Assessment in Central Virginia (Oswald Attin; School of Health Sciences)