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USM Faculty Members Awarded Teaching Innovation Mini-Grants

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 13:50pm | By: Van Arnold

Four University of Southern Mississippi faculty members have been awarded Teaching Innovation Mini-Grants for the fall 2019 semester that will be used for projects designed to foster student learning. The grants are presented by USM’s Center for Faculty Development.

The mini-grant recipients include:

  • Dr. Rebecca Newton, School of Professional Nursing Practice
  • Dr. Matthew Donahue, School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • Dr. Chao Meng, School of Marketing
  • Dr. A. Dean Franks, School of Education.

The four were selected based upon an application process that included a description of specific projects that would support and enhance student learning.

“We encourage faculty to think outside the box and consider cutting edge pedagogical ideas for the classroom,” said Dr. Kelly Lester, Director of the Center for Faculty Development. “In reviewing the applications, the center considers description of the teaching strategies and techniques, the anticipated impact on students, and assessment of the practice.”

The faculty projects showcase ways to engage student in the learning process for course material that include active learning and support critical thinking. These Innovative teaching strategies include: a distribution game that acts as a decision maker in a supply chain; a storyboard project on drug classifications and prototypes that will be translated to a digital project; materials for a project-based class using children’s books, STEM kits and coding games; a collaboration with the Eagle Maker Hub for students to create 3D models to support visualization of abstract chemistry concepts.

Lester points out that the grants have a far-reaching effect for students and the faculty recipients.

“These funds allow faculty to integrate active learning without the financial stress of purchasing materials. The funds support creativity in the classroom by both the faculty and the students, and thus support retention of course material,” she said.

Four mini-grants will be presented to faculty in the spring 2020 semester. The learn more about the process, visit: