Final proposals are due July 19, 2021
ACS is seeking collaborators to join the projects proposed below. These preproposals cover a wide range of disciplines and interests and fall under the categories of innovative curriculum, collaborative instruction, or diversity and inclusion. The project leads seek collaborative partners to enhance the work and extend it across ACS campuses.
If you are interested in collaborating on any of these projects, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by June 11, 2021, and we will facilitate connection.
Note: These preproposals are in development and not yet funded. Click here to learn more about our grant selection process.
ACS Empirical Research Community
Shane Pitts, Birmingham-Southern College
High-impact, best practices for teaching statistics and research methodology entail the development and execution of real empirical research projects (Lopatto, 2007; Schwartz & Brodsky, 2020). Course-based undergraduate research experience (CUREs), or reasonable facsimiles, provides an empirically supported model in which to achieve this best practice (e.g., Lloyd, Shanks, & Lopatto, 2019). CUREs offer students an opportunity to engage in authentic research, rather than completing lab exercises where the outcome is known (Auchincloss et al., 2014). In addition to optimizing conditions for learning research skills, course-based research experiences can render scientific research more inclusive, affording students from underserved backgrounds opportunities and resources often otherwise challenging to access (Bangera & Brownwell, 2014). Undergraduate research experiences are known to be especially beneficial for first generation and underserved students (Ishimaya, 2002; 2007).
Despite many advantages, teaching research by doing authentic research appears relatively rare in undergraduate education, particularly within small liberal arts colleges (Schwartz & Brodsky, 2020). While there are many reasons for this paucity, the most tenacious obstacle comes from lacking samples, tools, or access to specific populations. Sample size limitations as well as the slow speed of recruiting participants dramatically influences how we can teach research skills. Rather than teach by conducting genuine research, many professors must turn to canned exercises or simplified projects doomed to fail from the start due to insufficient power. Many smaller colleges can ill-afford to accomplish this best practice largely due to perpetual sample size and other resource constraints.
To mitigate these factors, I am proposing an ACS collaborative research community for collaborative resource sharing. The overarching goal of this community would be to serve as a repository for exchange and collaboration. For example, some teacher-scientists have tools and resources that remain unused but could be of use to others; some have analytic and methodological expertise not widely utilized. I envision a password protected website wherein teachers and researchers within the social sciences (perhaps starting with psychology) can post their available resources and expertise to share and their needs (e.g., anything from more undergraduate participants to help with a program to a full-scale collaborations). Others then can see the needs and resource availability and reach out to collaborate. Such a site could eventually lead to larger scale metascientific collaborations. After an initial investment in the website and marketing the site, it should prove largely self-sustaining.
Inter-Institutional Online “Certificate Program in GIS and Drone Data Analytics”
Suresh Muthukrishnanm Furman University
Background: Around the world, Geographic Information System (GIS), remote sensing, and drone technologies are being used every day to address issues related to public health, social and environmental justice, equitable access to resources, and various humanitarian crisis. Recent industry reports indicate that drones and data service industries are poised to grow to a $100+ billion market in the coming decade. Maintenance and improvements to America’s aging infrastructure (food-energy-water security, bridges, dams, flood control systems etc.) alone will require a significant investment in the technological solutions including use of remote sensing, GIS, and machine learning. The global demand for broadly educated technically capable workforce needed in these areas far exceed projected supply. There is a dire need for liberal arts colleges and universities to integrate these skills into existing curriculum as well as develop training opportunities to prepare our students for the future workforce needs.
Goals: This project builds on a successful previous ACS faculty grant (2015) titled “Cross-Institutional Collaboration to Develop GIS Curricular and Knowledge Mapping for Effective and Efficient Blended Learning Delivery” and addresses the critical skilled workforce needs facing the nation. The primary goals of the proposed project are: 1) to develop a robust curriculum for a professional online certificate program focused on developing core competencies in GIS and satellite/drone-based data analysis, and 2) to develop applied discipline specific GIS skills courses (like public health GIS, environmental justice and GIS, archeology and GIS, urban planning and GIS, GIS in critical minerals and geopolitics, GIS in infrastructure management etc.) through which available faculty expertise can be shared with member ACS institutions.
Methodology: To make this program widely accessible, it will be offered as a completely online program with both synchronous and asynchronous components. The certificate program will consist of several modules (1 to 2 credits each), with core modules being developed and offered by Furman University and a variety of applied, disciplinary modules being developed and offered by faculty from Furman and partner Universities. The training modules will cover basic foundational knowledge through lectures and more hands-on analytical experience using real-world examples through lab exercises. A culminating real-world/current event project-based experience course will be requirement for program completion.
Desired Outcomes: Upon successful implementation, this program will: 1) fill the gap in trained workforce needs, 2) make these online technical skills courses available to underrepresented students and students pursuing humanities and social sciences, 3) fill the vacuum that exist at many ACS member institutes where technical and logistical limitations prohibit offering similar applied skills development programs in different disciplines, and 4) foster collaboration and sharing of technical capabilities and faculty resources across disciplines among ACS institutions.
Community-Engaged Teaching: A Collaborative Peer Learning Model
Sascha Boluboff, Washington and Lee University
Sarah Brackman, Southwestern University
This project will facilitate a peer-learning community for ACS faculty and instructors interested in creating community-engaged learning classes. Often called “learning by doing,” community-engaged learning is a recognized high impact experience that goes beyond volunteerism by creating course-based opportunities for students to apply and more fully understand academic knowledge through projects that address genuine community needs.
These virtual sessions will train participants about the best and most innovative practices in the field, as well as provide them with key resources and connections across institutions to foster professional and institutional growth.
The project will include two opportunities for faculty to participate:
- Discussion facilitators (8) who have experience teaching community-engaged learning. These individuals will moderate fall and spring subgroups.
- Participants (20) who are interested in learning more about community-engaged learning in and across their disciplines.
- Create a cohort of faculty knowledgeable in community-engaged learning across ACS institutions
- Increase community-engaged learning opportunities among ACS institutions
- Prepare participants to apply for a future ACS grant to create collaborative curriculum
This year-long learning community will include opportunities for participants to engage in discipline specific conversations in the Fall, and in the Spring participants will join interdisciplinary discussions. All participants will meet in September to participate in a 4-hour workshop covering best practices (course design, building partnerships, assessment, etc.) of teaching community engagement.
Fall participants will be divided by disciplinary areas to discuss disciplinary-specific curriculum, challenges, and best practices. Each group will be facilitated by an instructor experienced in teaching community-engagement in that field. At the end of the fall term, participants will be surveyed to identify interdisciplinary topics.
In the Spring, participants and facilitators will participate in a 2-hour workshop to brainstorm interdisciplinary topics. Then, participants will be divided into groups by those topics with an aim towards developing future course ideas (for 2-3 meetings). By the end of the academic year, faculty interested in creating collaborative curriculum will apply for a second grant to pursue that opportunity.
At the end of the program facilitators will be able to:
- Practice community-building within a cohort
- Connect with other community-engaged learning faculty across the ACS network
- Reflect on their own community-engaged learning pedagogies
At the end of the program, participants will be able to:
- Understand nuances of community-engaged learning pedagogy within and across primary disciplines
- Build mutually beneficial community-learning partnerships
- Assess student learning through coursework and end of the term evaluations
- Connect with other community-engaged learning faculty across the ACS network
- Critically reflect on their own community-engaged learning pedagogies
Inter-Institutional Collaboration for the Study of Ancient Mediterranean Cultures
Kenneth Scott Morrell, Rhodes College
This proposal seeks funding in support of a project to create a system of shared courses between Rhodes College and Spelman College with the goal of expanding opportunities for the study of ancient Mediterranean cultures at both institutions. This project also aims to establish ties with Howard University, which is not a member of the ACS consortium but can play a vital role in developing a network of shared courses with Spelman and Morehouse and potentially at other HBCUs.
As a sequel to the initiative, Studying Cultures of the Ancient Mediterranean through a Comprehensive, Inter-institutional Program, which involved Birmingham Southern College, Millsaps College, Rhodes College, Southwestern University, and Spelman College and operated under the terms of the “Memorandum of Understanding” among the institutions of the ACS that was effective from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020, this project builds on our experiences over that two-year period.
The immediate goals of this phase include
1. Forging a new memorandum of understanding among the institutions.
The new memorandum will address the problems associated with the previous agreement and simplify the process of planning, scheduling, and offering courses.
2. Developing and offering a set of shared courses.
The first set of shared courses will help rebuild the Latin program at Spelman (and Morehouse) and allow students interested in the study of the ancient Mediterranean cultures to acquire Ancient Greek as a foundation for work in other allied fields, such as religious studies, philosophy, and history.
3. Facilitating collaboration among faculty members at the participating institutions.
During the pandemic, the faculty member, who was offering Latin instruction at Spelman, left to accept a full-time position elsewhere. Spelman is committed to hiring a new instructor, and this project will help provide a network of colleagues and mentors for that new member of the faculty at Spelman. At the same time, the professor at Southwestern University, who participated in the previous initiative, retired, and the college is now hiring a new visiting assistant professor. This project hopes to establish a model of institutional collaboration that might eventually expand to include Southwestern and other institutions in the ACS.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
At the Trowel’s Edge: Reimagining Inclusivity and Diversity Within Our Archaeological Futures
Robyn Cutright, Centre College
The field of archaeology is engaged in ongoing conversations related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, from an emerging reckoning with sexual assault and harassment in archaeological fieldwork, to an increased emphasis on defining anti-racist, decolonial, and community engaged archaeologies. Despite concern with equity, scholars of color continue to be underrepresented in the subdiscipline of archaeology. Quave et al.’s (2020) article “Centering the Margins: Knowledge Production in the Introductory Archaeology Course” argues that revising the introductory archaeology curriculum might promote equity in archaeology and contribute to broader social justice goals. Writing from their experience at a small liberal arts college, Quave and colleagues document the impact of a revised, more equitable curriculum on student learning and enrollment of a more diverse student population in archaeology courses.
We propose to draw on the work of Quave and others to redesign introductory archaeology courses at our institutions to center the perspectives of marginalized communities, employ equitable and inclusive pedagogies, and emphasize diverse contributions to the discipline. Once our full group is formed, we will discuss methodology, outcomes, and assessment in more concrete detail. However, we imagine that we will first spend time learning together through shared readings and webinars and sharing our current syllabi. We may proceed by identifying a series of shared topics or modules that are commonly taught across our courses, and working in teams to develop revised readings, activities, and other pedagogical resources to share across the group.
At most of our institutions, archaeology programs are small and not particularly diverse, with only one or a small handful of faculty members. Resources to regularly bring guest speakers to classes can be scarce. We will explore the possibility of using funding from the grant to recruit archaeologists from outside our institutions who represent a diverse range of voices, experiences, and theoretical perspectives, and who can speak to their work in community-engaged, anti-racist, queer, Indigenous, and decolonial/anti-colonial archaeologies.
We can imagine offering these scholars small honoraria to record interviews, which we could then use within our revised courses. We can also imagine using tools similar to those discussed by Quave et al. to collect student reflections about their learning, or tracking enrollment in introductory archaeology courses, to assess the impact of this work. We can also create a digital resource base, including syllabi, teaching resources and activities, video interviews, and assessments that can be accessed by colleagues across the ACS.
Participatory History and Archiving: An Initiative to Promote and Support Undergraduate Instruction and Project Outcomes in Community-Based Research and Archiving
Woody Register, Sewanee University of the South
Tiffany Momon, Sewanee University of the South
The Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation at the University of the South seeks an ACS Diversity and Inclusion Grant to assemble a team of faculty members and/or archivists from ACS and other small independent colleges in the 2021-22 academic year to produce local public history projects that directly address historic racial inequities by pursuing community-based participatory research and archiving (CBPRA) practices.
The anticipated outcomes of the “Participatory History and Archiving” project are 1) to develop and implement an inter-campus network of collaborative courses or course modules that lead students in the study and implementation of the theories and techniques of CBPRA; 2) to produce student-led public history exhibits or virtual archives in partnership with representatives of local communities of color with historic ties to the respective college campuses; 3) to hold a “summit” of college and community partners in the late spring of 2022 to showcase and critically evaluate these projects; and 4) to launch a web-based portal that organizes and makes accessible the diverse public history projects undertaken.
Today CBPRA constitutes a global movement that challenges established archival practices that have, intentionally or not, reinforced white supremacy. CBPRA holds unusual promise for southern colleges that historically have pictured themselves without reference to the people of color whose labor and other contributions have been indispensable to the prosperity and identity of their campuses. Such exclusivist practices have contributed to what scholar Michelle Caswell terms “symbolic annihilation,” which occurs when the members of marginalized groups who have been present throughout our histories “are absent, grossly under-represented, maligned, or trivialized” in our institutions’ archives and narratives. CBPRA upsets that status quo through an inclusive method of producing and sharing historical knowledge. It democratizes the process of producing “history” by enlisting members of local communities as partners in the investigation, preservation, and telling of their histories through archival and/or public history projects. We contend that such inclusive projects and practices, tailored and implemented according to the particular circumstances of ACS colleges, can be broadly beneficial, not just to our students but also to historically neglected communities of color.
We propose using a Diversity and Inclusion Grant to implement a multi-tiered project: 1) late August or early September, a two-day virtual roundtable (via Zoom) bringing together leading CBPRA experts with teams from ACS and other independent colleges; 2) a series of two-hour Zoom workshops for participants to strategize on collaborative courses or course modules and identify and organize community partnerships for the spring semester; 3) implementation of courses or course modules in the spring semester; 4) participants’ summit in late May or early June; and 5) launch of website in early August. The Sewanee foundation for this grant is Dr. Tiffany Momon’s course, Public History of Southern Appalachia. In addition, the initiative will receive some funding and participant support through a “Legacies of American Slavery” grant from the Council of Independent Colleges and Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. As a designated regional hub for the Legacies program, we will recruit non-ACS participants and use CIC funds to offset the costs of programming for the first fall roundtable and the capstone summit in the late spring.
Innovations in Teaching and Learning: Social Justice Pedagogy as Intentional Inclusive Praxis
Monique Earl-Lewis, Ph.D., Morehouse College
This project invites interested faculty to participate in an active learning community designed to engage/explore/expand the use of social justice pedagogy as an intentional, instructional and interdisciplinary practice. Participating ACS faculty will work with an interdisciplinary faculty team to explore, adopt and/or broaden current use of technology and service-learning to achieve course outcomes.
1.Introduce faculty to a techno-cultural pedagogical framework that achieves student learning outcomes while promoting diversity and inclusive instructional practice.
2.Provide faculty with pedagogical tools, instructional strategies and faculty-friendly technologies that foster and facilitate student learning.
3.Guide faculty in developing interdisciplinary, intra/inter-institutional collaborations that foster inclusivity through peer-learning and peer review.
4.Increase faculty confidence, competency and proficiency in the identification and application of instructional tools and technologies that promote diversity and inclusivity across the curriculum.
5.Assist faculty in the development and/or redesign of courses that promote social justice pedagogy utilizing technology and service-learning.
1.Selected faculty will self-select a course for redesign engaging the social justice framework.
2.Selected faculty will complete a pre-assessment of the (a) learning structure;(b) course design; and (c) current use of/opportunity for/access to technology resources service-learning activities.
3.Faculty will participate in all guided learning activities, synchronous and asynchronous sessions and training workshops.
4.Faculty will present/share a poster presentation of the faculty learning and completed course redesign at the completion of the project.
1.Faculty will incorporate the use of social justice pedagogical practice into the selected course.
2.Faculty will identify, select and incorporate instructional technologies that promote diversity and inclusion in instructional practice to achieve student learning outcomes.
3.Faculty will adopt/expand service-learning activities that promote diversity and inclusion in instructional practice to achieve student learning outcomes.
4.Faculty will increase interdisciplinary collaborations across the ACS network.