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Vision Fund awards support innovative academic and student life projects
Syracuse University has announced its most recent cycle of Vision Fund grants, which support new academic initiatives and faculty innovation at the small project or course level.
The Vision Fund Program was created in 1998 to stimulate innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Coordinated by the Center for Support of Teaching and Learning, the 2004 Vision Fund program provided a number of small grants, up to $5,000, to support the creative ideas of faculty at the course level. Successful proposals had the greatest potential for improving teaching and learning with an emphasis on collaboration across academic units and with Student Affairs’ staff and programs.
James A. Clark, associate professor, director of the Department of Drama, associate dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and producing director of Syracuse Stage, secured a grant for his project “Culture Clash: Residency at the Department of Drama.” A continued collaboration between Syracuse Stage and the Department of Drama, Clark’s project seeks an extended residency with Culture Clash for a group of the department’s performance major students. Culture Clash, a comedy/theatrical group made up of three Latino performers-Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza-combines monologue, comedy sketch, song, and dance into a dramatic, satirical tapestry of contemporary America. With performances evocative of early vaudeville, it has been called “the most prominent Chicano-Latino performance troupe in the country.”
Ann Clarke, professor of fiber arts in the Department of Studio Arts in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will receive funding for “Service Learning, Disability Studies, and the Arts.” The project will develop an awareness of issues surrounding the learning disabled, by means of community service art projects. Created in a 500-level course open to graduate and undergraduate students across disciplines, the course includes poster projects that communicate how learning disabilities affect all. Students will create mixed teams and conduct independent research to learn from professionals in the areas of disability studies, advocacy programs for learning disabilities and arts programming. Each team will then develop and define the content of its project. The project itself will culminate in a poster, for which the finish production and distribution will involve volunteers from student-run organizations. Each semester two posters from the class will be printed in volume and distributed throughout the University and the greater Syracuse community, in public and private spaces that can be used as learning environments.
“LGBT Studies at Syracuse” is a project of Margaret Himley, director of undergraduate studies and associate professor of writing and rhetoric in the Writing Program in The College of Arts and Sciences; and Andrew London, associate professor of sociology in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Their proposal includes two initiatives as requested by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Concerns Committee of the University Senate: First, a regional conference and second, a faculty reading seminar to complement and extend the work of the conference. The long-range goal of these efforts is to lay groundwork intellectually and institutionally for proposal of a minor in LGBT Studies at the University. The curriculum proposal is expected to be submitted in the fall of 2005, with implementation and program development to follow.
Patricia Moody, associate professor of English in The College of Arts and Sciences, and Susan Hynds, professor in the School of Education’s Reading and Language Arts Center, will conduct “Interpreting Adolescent Literature,” which teams two professors and supports course development on the topic of “reading adolescence.” The course serves students from programs as diverse as English and textual studies; inclusive education; public communication; psychology; and programs whose focus is secondary education. Students, asked to consider the historical, cultural and political dimensions of adolescence from its early 20th-century genesis to the present, will discover how adolescence is represented in literature, nonfiction, film, music and popular culture-using both print and non-print technologies. Course development through the use of technology and materials is included, along with further interdisciplinary engagements and a culminating final symposium.
Benjamin Pell, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, will receive support for “Inaugural Publication of Graduate Student Research and Design Work Related to Urban Waterfront,” which creates opportunities for a clear line of dialogue between real-world issues; policy-makers and practitioners; and the pedagogical goals and creative visions of the design studio. According to Pell, the studio book has become more than an archival document, serving as a venue for student research and speculation and a means of bringing student-led work into public discourse. Pell is planning the publication of an inaugural studio book for Architectural Design Research and the City, the third-semester studio in the graduate program which examines issues of urban design in the public realm.
David Rezak, director of program design in the Office of Academic Affairs in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will undertake “Music Industry Practicum: The Booking Agency,” designed to provide first-hand experiential learning to students through a University-based booking agency for performing musicians. With a signatory agreement with the American Federation of Musicians-Local #78, the agency will have clients consisting mostly of student or faculty soloists and ensembles. Potential exists for a future broadening in scope beyond the University’s borders into the greater Syracuse community. The small-group class of eight students will be charged with scouting talent, promoting the services of the agency, calling on prospective buyers, making deals, issuing contracts and following up on details.
Ethnomentary, a new course combining the skills of documentary filmmaking with those of ethnographic inquiry, was proposed by and will be team-taught by Maureen Schwarz associate professor of anthropology in the Maxwell School and director of the Native American Studies Program in The College of Arts and Sciences; and Larry Elin, assistant professor of television, radio and film in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. It focuses simultaneously on the cornerstone of cultural anthropology-ethnographic inquiry-while providing the basics of film production. The course is designed for upper division undergraduate students in anthropology who wish to use film as a means of enriching the presentation of research finding; and for advanced television/film students who choose to use ethnographic techniques to enhance their filmmaking. Anthropology students seeking training, skills, and equipment to make ethnographic films; and Newhouse students taking anthropology courses, who can now pursue specific training in ethnographic techniques will benefit from a course designed to combine these two areas of expertise.
Others receiving Vision Fund Grants were Joseph Shedd, associate professor of educational leadership and chair of the Teaching and Leadership Programs in the School of Education; and Diana Duffy, a master’s degree candidate in the School of Education. Their initiative, “Closing the Gaps Assistive Technology Project,” will purchase assistive technology resources for the School of Education’s lending library in the Assistive Technology Resources Center (ATRC). Responding to the federal mandate requiring schools to consider the use of assistive technology for every child with a disability, School of Education faculty members have redesigned their methods courses. Students will use the more-comprehensive inventory of resources in the ATRC lending library and can benefit from its training and loan services, building the knowledge and skills for appropriate use of assistive technology resources.