2007-2008 Innovation in Teaching and Learning grant recipients

Phil Brick - Politics and Semester in the West
Kinetic Media and Integrative Learning on Semester in the West
Description: This grant supports an initiative to enhance Semester in the West final projects, which must integrate knowledge from courses and experiences in ecology, politics, and environmental writing.  Funds will support expertise and equipment to create sound and image podcasts that students will work on throughout the semester, with the aim of integrating soundscapes and visual images into powerful spoken narratives.

Cynthia Croot - Theatre
US/Syria Theatre Exchange
Description: This planning grant will be used to explore the possibility of establishing a relationship with the University of Damascus, Syria.  The eventual aim of the project is to create a joint translation and performance project with theatre students in Syria and here at Whitman.  The initial funding for the US/Syria Theatre Exchange will cover research and travel to Syria.

Heidi Dobson and Brian Dott - Biology and History
History and Ethnobiology of the Silk Roads
Description: We propose to offer two interdisciplinary courses on the History and Ethnobiology of the Silk Roads, starting in Spring 2009:  a lecture course (2 credits each in History and Biology) that explores the different trading routes across Asia known as the silk roads, addressing why certain goods, animals and technologies were traded and how they impacted the agriculture, animal and plant uses, and local biota of the different peoples; and a two-week (Spring break) field course in Asia (1-credit), where students will visit sites of historical importance and agricultural/biological trade centers, and view the production, processing and use of biological items discussed in the lecture course.

Frank Dunnivant - Chemistry
Redesigning CHEM361 and Creating CHEM420
Description: In the spring of 2009, the Chemistry Department will offer a new instrumentation course with the objective to train science students who plan to use our new Instrumentation Center.  This grant will support the development of student laboratory exercises for various applications in chromatography and mass spectroscopy.  The developed exercises will also be published as a series of Internet-based Ebooks co-authored by Jake Ginsbach and future students.

Sarah Hurlburt and Mike Osterman - FLL-French and Technology Services
Interactive Timeline Tool for the Sakai Learning Environment
Description:   This grant will support the creation of a graphic, interactive timeline application for Whitman's online course management system (CLEo/Sakai) in collaboration with staff and faculty from Pomona and Claremont-McKenna Colleges. The new application will expand upon an open-source timeline tool developed at MIT Libraries and MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, making it possible for students and instructors to add and edit information as they encounter new material throughout the course.  As the overall shape and emphasis of the timeline evolves through student and faculty contributions, it will also promote student awareness of their critical responsibility in the creation as well as the consumption of information. The resulting learning tool will have the potential to enhance visual & kinesthetic learning in almost every discipline taught at Whitman.

Kari Norgaard - Sociology and Environmental Studies
Klamath Field Study Program
Description:  Students will visit the Klamath Mountain region, learn about current issues in environmental conservation and policy, regional natural history and develop a rich understanding of the present day issues faced by Native people and conduct research of interest to the Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources. Where appropriate, this research will form the basis of the students' senior theses. 

Jason Pribilsky and Suzanne Morrissey - Anthropology and Latin American Studies
Support for development of a summer ethnographic field school - "Whitman in the Andes"
Description:  "Globalized Livelihoods: Exploring Health, Culture, and Migration in Highland Ecuador."  Living for seven weeks in a rural community of the Ecuadorian Andes, students will learn how to use ethnographic research methods to study the multifaceted relationship between health and social change in the developing world.  Students lodge with local families, participate in their daily lives, contribute to the community, and build an appreciation for the complexities of what it means to be indigenous in the 21st century.  Facilitated by coursework and one-on-one faculty guidance, the end goal of the program is for each student to produce an ethnographic report of their research with results applicable to the needs of the local community.

Albert Schueller - Mathematics
Programming with Robots
Description:  This project will provide the Mathematics Department with a classroom set of Lego Mindstorm robotics kits which will be used to teach introductory, and eventually, advanced topics in computer science and control theory.  The goals are to develop a fun and robust curriculum that may be used nationally and to provide new avenues of computer science exploration for students here at Whitman.

Ginger Withers, Chris Wallace and Dan Vernon - Biology and BBMB
Building new science courses and labs around discovery: integrated inquiry-based instructional unites and "clabinar" courses.
Description:  A new class and laboratory structures that emphasize inquiry-based learning will be developed and, if widely adopted, allow the Biology and BBMB programs to offer a larger number of smaller, modular elective courses.  For classes, an adaptable "clabinar" structure will be developed that combines hands-on learning with class instruction and seminar-style analysis of primary literature.  For labs, an extended inquiry-based laboratory exercise will be developed in neurobiology, to serve as a prototype that can be adapted for other upper-level teaching labs.