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2014-2015 CTG Recipients

The following faculty members received Creative Teaching Grants in 2014-2015. Scroll down to read summaries of their projects.

  • Ken Baker, Donna Bueckman, Benjamin Compton, and Kimberly Simms (Department of Economics)
  • JoAnn Cady (Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education)
  • David Fox and Jeff Wilkinson (School of Architecture)
  • Nick Geidner (School of Journalism and Electronic Media)
  • Neelam Poudyal (Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries)
  • Judson Laughter (Department of Theory and Practice of Teacher Education)
  • Mingzhou Jin (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering)
  • Sally Harris (Department of English)
  • Spencer Olmstead (Department of Child and Family Studies)

Ken Baker, Donna Bueckman, Benjamin Compton, and Kimberly Simms


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Ken Baker

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Donna Bueckman

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Benjamin Compton

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Kimberly Simms

Ken Baker, Donna Bueckman, Benjamin Compton, and Kimberly Simms, in the Department of Economics, are undertaking a redesign of Introductory Economics (ECON201/207). Their redesign effort addresses some of the challenges associated with a content rich, large enrollment course that serves undergraduates from majors and programs across the university. The team will first identify areas of economic theory and practice that can best serve the needs of diverse majors. After developing an inventory of essential and desired content, they will employ a “flipped” model, developing learning materials and formative assessments to help students master content out of class, and engagement strategies and assessments for active learning in class.

JoAnn Cady

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JoAnn Cady

JoAnn Cady, in the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education, is redesigning her Mathematics Education 550 course, Mathematics Assessment, to help teachers prepare for the complex and dynamic landscape of contemporary K12 assessment. Teachers need to understand assessment at two broad levels: 1.) as tools for enhancing and assessing student learning and 2.) as components of administrative and organizational decision making processes. They thus need a thorough understanding of assessment design, assessment validity and bias, how assessment can hinder or promote learning, and how assessment can be used appropriately or inappropriately. Cady will design online and in-class learning materials and activities that are effective for diverse learning styles, promote student interaction and peer learning, encourage reflection, and provide opportunities for students to approach their learning about assessment through active assessment research.

David Fox and Jeff Wilkinson

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David Fox

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Jeff Wilkinson

David Fox and Jeff Wilkinson, in the School of Architecture, aim to harness the power of everyday technologies—smartphones, tablets, and the like—to help students develop essential architectural drawing skills. Architectural and design drawing begins with the sketch: preliminary plan and perspective drawing still relies on pencil and paper. Fox and Wilkinson want to see how mobile technologies can extend this important part of the designer’s training and toolkit. They have two primary questions: what tools are available or can be adapted; and how can these mobile technology tools add to the learning and skills development of architecture and design students? In the first part of the project, a group of undergraduate and graduate students will test and evaluate possible tools and platforms.

Nick Geidner

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Nick Geidner

Nick Geidner, of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, developed a service learning project for which his students documented the 2014 Medal of Honor Convention held in Knoxville in September. After working with Medal of Honor recipients and organizers of the 2013 convention in Gettysburg, Geidner and his students interviewed Medal of Honor recipients and attending dignitaries at the 2014 convention, provided live streaming of convention events, and are developing a documentary about the convention. Students were involved in all phases of the live television and documentary production processes—working with convention organizers, planning, interviewing, filming, and editing. The documentary materials will be deposited with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the East Tennessee Historical Society, UT Libraries, and the Center for the Study of War and Society. Materials are also available on the Medal of Honor Project website.

Neelam Poudyal

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Neelam Poudyal

Neelam Poudyal, in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, is developing an interdisciplinary research module for his Human Dimensions of Natural Resources course. The course draws upon concepts and theories in social psychology to understand the roles of values, attitudes, and institutions in natural resource management decision making. Poudyal’s module will combine theories from social psychology and anthropology with statistical methods to measure public opinion and attitudes, which can then inform natural resource decision making and predict stakeholders’ behavior related to policy changes. In teams, students will carry out a focused research project that investigates public attitudes and perceptions on a particular natural resource policy or concern. Poudyal expects to work with state agencies to expand the research component into a service learning project in coming years. See Poudyal’s poster presentation on his project here.

Judson Laughter

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Judson Laughter

Judson Laughter, in the Department of Theory and Practice of Teacher Education, is redesigning his English Methods course around the experiential learning technique called ‘rounding,’ in which teaching interns accompany an experienced classroom teacher in practice. The newly designed course involves five rounds: classroom management, close reading and text annotation, accountable talk, writing instruction, and differentiating instruction. Students meet with Laughter on campus to discuss relevant theoretical and empirical work before going on rounds with secondary school teachers the following two weeks. Laughter expects that this approach will help teacher candidates bridge theory and practice and better prepare for them for being effective carriers in the classroom. See Laughter’s poster presentation on his project here.

Mingzhou Jin

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Mingzhou Jin

Mingzhou Jin, in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, is reshaping his Engineering Economic Analysis course to reflect the realities of engineering and industry in the global economy. In the course, students from the University of Tennessee and students from Zhejiang University in China, where the course is taught, will explore issues such as taxes, tariffs, and rationing, which are essential topics in a world where many engineering projects are global in scope. In addition to conducting a research project together, students will participate in field trips to industrial and manufacturing site and transportation hubs, where they will experience first-hand the complexities of trans-national engineering and manufacturing enterprises. See Jin’s poster presentation on his project here.

Sally Harris

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Sally Harris

Sally Harris, in the Department of English, is redesigning her Professional Writing course to include interactive online learning modules and to introduce cross-disciplinary writing modes that reflect the professional interests of her students. The modules, which provide students with immediate feedback and support, will help students master introductions, paragraph organization and development, formatting, and visuals. To exhibit their grasp of course content and develop critical thinking skills, students will also evaluate professional writing in their own fields. Drawing on journals, and communications by their professors and colleagues, students will analyze the styles and expectations of professional writing and share their learning with other members of the class. See Harris’ poster presentation on her project here.

Spencer Olmstead

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Spencer Olmstead

Spencer Olmstead, in the Department of Child and Family Studies, is redesigning his Human Sexuality course to enhance student engagement with both the course material and their peers. Olmstead will “flip” his class by putting a great deal of the course content online and using a mix of activities, discussions, and occasional guest experts in class to allow students to delve more deeply into the topics addressed. Students will also complete electronic journaling assignments to help them become comfortable communicating their thoughts and ideas in class. For example, students will write weekly about how course topics directly influence their personal views and understanding of sexuality, and how their views change during the semester.

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