Integrated Learning and Community Partnerships Office Winter 2012 Grant Awardees

Academic Service Learning Course Designation
Faculty members receive a $500 stipend, repeatable up to three times, for teaching a course designated as an Academic Service-Learning (ASL) course. 


Pamela Aronson:  Sociology 497/Senior Research Seminar

Award:  $500.00

Summary:  For this course, each student will learn how to conduct an applied research project that draws upon sociological concepts and issues.  The topic for this course is:  “The Challenges Facing College Students who Graduate During the Great Recession.”  As a service learning course, the University of Michigan-Dearborn is our community partner.  The goal is to help the university to more fully understand the challenges that graduating college students face during the recession and make a difference to the university community. Today’s current generation of young adults has been called the recession's “lost generation,” as they struggle with debt, bad jobs, unemployment, and delayed family formation.  To date, 75 in-depth interviews have been conducted with nearly equal numbers of four groups associated with University of Michigan-Dearborn: 1) faculty, 2) staff and members of the university administration, 3) alumni (most of whom had recently obtained their degrees), and 4) students who would be completing their degrees within one year of the time of the interviews.  These interviews were conducted by students enrolled in SOC 497 (Senior Research Seminar) in Fall 2010 and Winter 2012.  Next fall (2012), the Senior Research Seminar students will continue the study with the intention of broadening and deepening our interview base.  As an outcome of the students’ work, we plan to create a one-page information sheet regarding our findings for the university staff, administration, faculty and/or students.  The sheet will be titled something like “the top 10 things graduating college students and alumni wish they knew when they started college.”  Our goal will be to circulate this “top 10” list across the university (our community partner), particularly to those who interact with graduating college students.  Our hope is that this list will help raise awareness among faculty and staff about the issues and experiences facing graduating college students. 


Brian McKenna - Anthropology 325/Anthropology, Health & the Environment

Award:  $500.00

Summary: This semester our class is conducting a critical ethnography of the Fermi Nuclear plant, in light of the meltdown at Fukushima, Japan on March 11, 2011 and in light of the Detroit Edison's plan to build a new Fermi 3 reactor.  The class is divided into seven groups (of about 5-6 members each) and will engage in both individual and group research/presentations. Each student must complete a Fermi Nuclear Research Worksheet . At the end of the semester each group will submit a Final Group Ethnographic Research Paper (A Collective Product) and make a Final Group Presentation (Performed Collectively).


Susan Sheth - Communication 460/Public Relations Campaigns

Award:  $500.00

Summary: This Independent Study is being developed in response to the Academic Service Learning course Communication 460, Public Relations Campaigns.  Students have been working closely with our community partner Vista Maria. We have built a close relationship with the Vista Maria team that is heading up the launch of their Integrated Branding Campaign.  The students have been working since the Winter 2011 semester to assist and develop press releases, PSAs, planned an awareness event and have completed blog interactions. 



Advancement of Teaching and Learning Funds 

Through this grant, faculty obtain support to organize groups, purchase supplies, or pay for other expenses that will lead to enhanced teaching and learning on campus, $100-$2000.


Pamela Aronson

Sociology, CASL

Award:  $1404

Summary: For this course, each student will learn how to conduct an applied research project that draws upon sociological concepts and issues.  The topic for this course is:  “The Challenges Facing College Students who Graduate During the Great Recession.”  As a service learning course, the UM-Dearborn is our community partner.  The goal is to help the university to more fully understand the challenges that graduating college students face during the recession and make a difference to the university community.  This grant will be used to purchase digital recorders to permit students to more effectively record in-depth interviews and to provide incentives to interviewees.


Suzanne Bergeron

Women’s Studies and Social Sciences, CASL

Award:  $2000

Summary: Curricular transformation at UM-D that integrates insights from community partnership models has effectively challenged students’ naïve, rescue mentality toward poor and other at-risk populations in metro Detroit, providing the foundation for more meaningful engagement. However, similar efforts are not underway on campus when it comes to engaging transnationally. Women’s and Gender Studies requests funding for a series of workshops on integrating transnational engagement into our curriculum in order to effectively teach our students how to be self-reflective about how power dynamics operate in talking about other places and peoples, and further rather than interrupt mutual understanding for effective global citizenship.



Francine Dolins

Behavioral Sciences, CASL

Award:  $2000

Summary: A Speaker’s Series in Animal Behavior will be developed, with noted scientists presenting seminars.  Animal Behavior crosses the disciplines of biology, genetics and psychology, and is emerging as an area of interest to our students and faculty in health, biology and psychology.  This series will include presentations on topics such as: the evolution of human-dog relationships; social cognition in hyenas; communication in nonhuman primates; problem solving in bird species; and spatial or social learning in insects.  An opportunity for students to coordinate the speaker series with independent study will support the college’s dedication to undergraduate research.


Susan Everett: Science Education, School of Education

Award:  $1501

Summary: The Inquiry Institute along with the Department of Natural Sciences and Michigan Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), plan to bring Dr. Fred Goldberg, Professor of Physics with the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at San Diego State University, to campus as a guest speaker. Dr. Goldberg, PI of NSF funded grants related to teaching and author of multiple papers focused on student learning, has an extensive background in physics education research and is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in student leaming in physics. Dr. Goldberg is co-author of two textbooks that are currently in use by faculty in the Inquiry Institute Leaming Community. The approach used in these textbooks is broadly applicable to all science disciplines. Dr. Goldberg's talk will provide an opportunity for faculty from both Natural Sciences and the School of Education to learn about the research supporting his innovative approach to teaching science to undergraduates.


Pat Hartshorn

Natural Sciences, CASL

Award:  $2000

Summary: The Biology Discipline retreat held this January showed us that biologists on campus are open to interactive teaching and change. This grant would bring Dr. Diane Ebert-May, an award-winning biology professor, to campus to discuss effective active learning strategies for the natural sciences.  An underlying goal of this grant is to begin a shift toward more active learning in the natural sciences lecture halls.  Following her presentation, faculty volunteers would reflect on their teaching through direct observation that includes videoetaping and immediate feedback from other faculty volunteers.


Seong Hong

Early Childhood, School of Education

Award:  $2000

Summary: Digital storytelling gives students an avenue to express their voice, thoughts, aspirations, concerns, challenges in rich and meaningful ways. The purpose of this proposal is to fund a workshop series for faculty so they can create their own digital stories, learn about best practices for having students create digital stories, and to identify campus resources or structures that could be used to assist with digital storytelling in the classroom (example: campus media services, faculty learning community, MPortfolio studio assistants, Writing Center, etc.).


Gail Luera: Science Education, School of Education

Award:  $1400

Summary: The request is to purchase a classroom set of handheld GPS units. The purchased units will enable faculty and EIC program leaders to teach basic mapping skills while fostering a connection to and demonstrating knowledge of the local environment. Students will learn how to read a map, locate waypoints using the GPS and also how to navigate to a specific location. Once these skills have been mastered, students will be able to create their own waypoints using local points of interest and apply what they have learned about mapping and science knowledge to their community via the World Wide Web.


Maureen Linker

Literature, Philosophy & the Arts, CASL

Award:  $1150

Summary: Honors Transfer Innovators is a unique learning community for high achieving transfer students who collaborate on creative, real world projects designed to meet the needs of the campus and the community.  Currently students are working on a “cultural passport” for Detroit area museums and events; a project database to help connect faculty, staff, and students with community partners; and a “green beings passport” to educate students about the environment and healthy choices.


Bruce Pietrykowski:  Social Sciences, CASL

Award:  $825

Summary: The grant would enable the acquisition of Regional Input-Output Multipliers (RIMS II) created by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  The multipliers are used for regional economic forecasts and for determining the regional economic impact of changes in particular industries and industry mix in a region.  The use of RIMS II data will allow students to explore the impact of economic development projects on the local and regional economy.  This capability would be beneficial for the classroom and for potential academic service learning projects with community partners in areas such as: transportation, food systems, infrastructure projects, sports and entertainment projects.


Liz Rohan: Language, Culture and Communication, CASL

Award:  $2000

Summary: This teaching and learning fund will be used to host an off-campus event that will feature panelists working as educators, artists and writers in the local hip hop industry and will be followed by a performance of the hip hop group 5ELA.  Members of the panel will discuss how popular culture can be used as a critical learning tool to interest young people in not only music, but reading, writing, composing and community activism.  UMD students will be invited as key participants as organizers and participants in the event.



Community-Based Research Seed Grants 

These seed grants are used to promote research that is developed in collaboration with community partner organizations and/or their clients, $500-$5000.


Paul Draus

Behavioral Sciences Department/ Associate Professor of Sociology

Award:  $5000

Summary: The proposed study will examine the impact of rapid depopulation on the Oakwood Heights community, located in the far end of Southwest Detroit, as the result of a major buyout of homes by Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC).  We will assess the social impact of the proposed buyout, which enters its first phase later this year, using an interdisciplinary approach and both quantitative and qualitative methods to capture the dynamics of the process as it rolls out over the next year, by tracking its impact on the physical environment, on the community as a whole, and on individuals and households.


Bruce Pietrykowski

Academic Affairs and Social Sciences Department/ Director, Center for Labor and Community Studies, Professor of Economics

Award:  $3600

Summary: The goal of this project is to develop the local capacity to conduct participatory action research (PAR).  PAR is a research method that is gaining in popularity in the social and behavioral sciences.  While its primary uses have been in the fields of education and public health we would like to expand the use of these methods to the social sciences (economics, political science, sociology, policy, business, communications…).  We propose to convene a series of working meetings with faculty from UM-Dearborn and surrounding academic institutions to evaluate PAR methodology and develop plans to use the method in our own community-based research.


Juliette Roddy

Social Sciences Department/ Assistant Professor

Award:  $4875

Summary: This project employs an innovative interdisciplinary design for capturing data concerning the lives of those exiting correctional institutions and attempting to reintegrate in the City of Detroit, working side by side with practitioners on the front lines of this issue.  The project will directly involve the community partner organization, Self Help Addiction Rehabilitation, or SHAR, and ex-offenders themselves, in the interpretation and application of research findings in an interactive group lecture setting.  The goal of this study is to develop a mixed-method approach with potential to explore the dynamic interaction of individual, contextual and community-level factors associated with long-term recovery and successful social reintegration.  The effort also offers a productive collaboration that sheds light on the dynamics and mechanisms of social reintegration while disseminating research into community practice.



Emily Wang

Office of International Affairs/ International Services Representative

Award:  $5000

Summary: There is consensus among the urban education about the importance of finding teachers with the full range of knowledge, skills and experience which are needed to tackle the challenges low-income and immigrant neighborhoods are facing.  In order to overcome the barriers of learning opportunities, the work cannot be executed without widespread community involvement and support from the organizations who serve these communities.  The learning partnership between U of M – Dearborn and ACCESS’ Family Literacy Program will create new educational pathways into youth and adult literacy education.  The goal is to provide educational sources and support the literacy programs which only institutions of higher education can provide, tailoring the resources to the challenges of literacy learning and revitalizing low-income and immigrant communities.