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Vision Fund grants awarded to nine innovative projects
Syracuse University has awarded 2002 Vision Fund grants to nine projects that focus on providing intellectually rich diversity experiences for students. The Vision Fund Program was created four years ago to stimulate innovative approaches to teaching and learning.
Coordinated by the Center for Support of Teaching and Learning (CSTL), the program provides grants of up to $30,000 for initiatives that have the full support of the appropriate school, college or department. The 2002 Vision Fund cycle was designed to support the fourth initiative of the University’s Academic Plan, to enhance the intellectual climate through diversity.
“These initiatives are an important part of the Academic Plan’s effort to enhance diversity in the curricular experiences of our students,” Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund says. “There are several very interesting and exciting projects, and I look forward to their fruition in the upcoming months.”
Freund says that she is also exploring ways to invest in department-level and college-wide initiatives around diversity and internationalism in the upcoming year, while maintaining a smaller fund to support faculty innovation.
Diversity is also a key priority identified in the Division of Student Affairs 2001-2006 Strategic Plan.
Proposals were submitted last fall to the Vision Fund Review Committee, whose members include faculty, staff and students. Each proposal was reviewed against criteria that emphasized teaching and learning, diversity and multidisciplinary approaches that would impact the greatest number of students. The committee’s recommendations were presented to the vice chancellor, who made the final awards. CSTL staff provides training and support for faculty to help them refine their ideas and write the proposals. CSTL staff also helps those who receive grants to implement the projects.
“The Center for Support of Teaching and Learning is pleased to coordinate the University Vision Fund and to support the 2002 Focus on Diversity projects,” says Franklin Wilbur, executive director and associate vice president for undergraduate studies. “Faculty innovation around diversity, one of the University’s five core values, provides students with curricula, projects and experiences that will prepare them for success in an increasingly diverse world.”
Proposals that were funded this year include:
o The Benedict Avenue Habitat for Humanity Project: A project of the Syracuse University/SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Chapter of Habitat for Humanity to rehabilitate a donated house on Benedict Avenue. The project will expose students to a rich multicultural and diverse community, and provide them with service learning and hands-on active learning experiences. Francis M. Parks, director of Students Offering Service and African American Programs at Hendricks Chapel, and Larry Elin, assistant professor of television, radio and film in the Newhouse School, are the principal investigators on the project.
o Health and Wellness: An Orientation Program for International Graduate Students: A project designed help incoming international graduate students with information related to nutrition, physical activity and stress management. The program will be open to all international graduate students, and will be a collaborative effort between the departments of Nutrition and Hospitality Management and Marriage and Family Therapy in the College for Human Services and Health Professions and the Lillian and Emanuel Slutzker Center for International Services and the Office of Recreation Services in the Division of Student Affairs.
o Research Initiative for the Community Design Center in the School of Architecture: A joint project of the Community Design Center (CDC) and the Center for Public and Community Service (CPCS) that is designed to broaden the academic mission of the CDC and to promote issues of diversity through student and community interaction. Students will be engaged in interdisciplinary research that parallels the diverse architecture and urban design collaborations of the CDC. Students will have an opportunity to participate in original field research that examines the relationship between architecture, urban design and social and economic development.
o Collaboration Across Difference: A studio course for 20 juniors, seniors and graduate students enrolled in a variety of disciplines within the College of Visual and Performing Arts taught by faculty members Anne Beffel and Yvonne Buchanan. Students will engage in study, critique and creation of collaborative works that bridge differences in culture and artistic disciplines, and participate in performance art exercises exposing the links between privilege and aspects of identity such as class, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.
o Institutionalizing Diversity Curricula at Syracuse University: A Student/Faculty Initiative: This project is designed to initiate a joint faculty/student initiative to extend anti-racism work on the SU campus. The project extends the work of the highly successful ERACISM grant so that more SU students and faculty will be impacted by the project. The project will increase the number of students who have an opportunity to participate in an inter-group, anti-racism dialogue on campus, and train more student facilitators to further extend the work. The project will also seek interested faculty to design curriculum initiatives to extend the work of the ERACISM project to a wider pool of students. Faculty members Carrie Jefferson Smith of the College of Human Services and Health Professions and Mara Sapon-Shevin of the School of Education are the principal investigators.
o Teaching Native American Literatures with the Syracuse Area Native American Communities: The goal of the project is to develop and implement an introductory course in Native American literatures and infuse the course with a variety of Native American perspectives. This will be accomplished by inviting interested members of local Native American communities to participate in the process of developing and teaching the course. Monika Wadman, assistant professor of English and textual studies, is the principal investigator.
o Diversity and Academic Writing: Extending the Work of the Writing Center: The project will address the need to represent diversity in writing practices by actively recruiting, training and employing peer writing tutors whose diversity of backgrounds more closely represent the student body; and to prepare, initiate and facilitate University-wide discussions and training sessions that directly inquire into the relationship between diversity and academic writing. Writing Program faculty members Bruce Pegg and Jonathan Benda are the principal investigators.
o Minority Student Mentor Program: The project will connect first-year minority students with upper-class student mentors in order to increase their connection to the University and to their peers. Research has demonstrated that minority students have an increased likelihood of academic success if they have a strong support network comprised of family, faculty and peers. Pamela Peter, assistant director of the Office of Residence Life, will coordinate the program.
o Varying Perspectives from the Light Work Collection: A series of collaborative exhibitions over the next three years between Light Work/Community Darkrooms and the Departments of Museum Studies and Art Media Studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and African-American Studies, Religion and Fine Arts in The College of Arts and Sciences. Faculty members from several departments will cooperatively teach several weeks of Introduction to Curatorship (MUS 506). Additionally, faculty and graduate students from the School of Information Studies will conduct a three-year study of image information behavior, the first of its kind.