2017-2018 Grant Recipients

Grants to Facilitate Teaching & Pedagogy

Interdisciplinary Team Teaching: Pre-Calculus and Introduction to Engineering Cohort Model
Dr. Cynthia Carlson, Civil Engineering and Paula Bordogna, Mathematics

 Through the development of a cohort between a Precalculus and Introduction to Engineering course, students will utilize both disciplines to complete projects and applications. The students will be able to work together in the same cohort section, although they attend the two courses at different times. The math will be taught in the context of engineering and the engineering will be taught with the required use of PreCalculus. In addition to the shared section, students will also attend one or two social activities to encourage teamwork and outside-of-class study groups.

Cultural Perspectives on Gender, Race, and Leadership
Dr. Debra Michals, Women’s and Gender Studies

This new course will be examining and reimagining what is considered “traditional” leadership through gendered and racial lenses. It will analyze the ways in which norms and biases about gender, race, and sexual identity shape cultural assumptions about who can be a leader and what good leadership looks like. The goal is to further develop students’ critical thinking skills by applying feminist theory, critical race theory, intersectionality, and LGBTQ theory to leadership and the social distribution of power in the U.S.

The Philosophy of Meat
Emma Duffy-Comparone, English 

The course, First Year Writing, is redeveloped to focus on the phases of intellectual moves, rhetorical moves, and public engagement. An interdisciplinary approach will be taken through experiential learning on the biases within “Dinner Plate Ethics.” Students will study literature about food ethics, specifically in the meat industry, in order to understand the complex ethics of vegetarianism/veganism and the communities surrounding it. This will include the many biases within Food Ethics and public opinion. The course will require students to create a documentary exploring these ideas and opinions surrounding the issue on campus.

The Revision of MKT3355: Consumer Behavior
Dr. Raymond Lavoie, Marketing

The Consumer Behavior marketing course is revised to incorporate how bias influences what we consume and why, including products, services and even time. The course will explore literature and research on the ‘predictably’ irrational behavior of consumers, biases related to branding and brand loyalty on information processing and ultimate product choice. Students will reflect on their own biases by keeping a journal of their purchases and hopefully become a more informed consumer without any irrational biases.

American Witches: In Salem and On Screen
Dr. Christy L. Potroff, English

This course will use an interdisciplinary approach to study the local history of the Salem Witch Trials, and how this history has been interpreted and spread over time. A partnership will be made with the Peabody-Essex Museum and other local historical sites, allowing students to read through archives and create a digitized online exhibition. Additionally, the reincarnation of the American Witch in film and society will be examined through various movies and television programs. This reappropriation of the witch as a modern feminist icon will be studied in order to determine what was lost in translation from earlier seventeenth century witches. The bias exhibited in Salem and beyond will be examined as it pertains to gender, race, and social class. 

Grants to Facilitate Faculty Collaboration

Interdisciplinary Bioethics Minor
Dr. Lisa Fuller, Philosophy and Dr. Autumn Alcott Ridenour, Religious and Theological Studies

The new major of Bioethics will delve into both ethical theory and major ethical issues in medical practice and research. Students will broaden their understanding of the practice of medicine in society, along with how health and healthcare are experienced differently across varying identities. The courses required of students will be spread across disciplines other than science and ethics and will be offered through the School of Health Sciences and the School of Liberal Arts.

Breaking Down Biases with Toys: An Interdisciplinary project that Engages Students Across Disciplines
Dr. Roselita Fragoudakis, Mechanical Engineering,  Dr. Katelyn Kurkul, Human Development and Nancy Wynn, Visual & Performing Arts

This project will study how culture and context influence infant development, and seek to promote positive development in infants and toddlers across non-W.E.I.R.D. (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) populations. The project will first specify a developmental domain of non-W.E.I.R.D. cultures, then develop a toy that addresses said domain. This project will be studied in the course Applied Infancy Development while students explore what is known about typical and atypical development across the developmental domains including physical, language, cognitive, and social emotional development.

Directed Studies in Fine Arts and Computer Science
Dr. Christopher Stuetzle, Computer Science and Dan Vlahos, Visual and Performing Arts

The “Directed Studies” will involve one student from the Computer Science program, and another from the Graphic Design program who will develop a fully functioning mobile application or interactive game. The students will have the ability to prototype and evaluate opportunities across the disciplines while examining the biases and gaps within both disciplines. They will have to work together to complete the task as an activity of the growing interdisciplinary field of “User-Experience Design” or “Game Design.”

Grants to Facilitate Student-Faculty Research

Breaking Down Biases with Toys: An Interdisciplinary project that
Engages Students Across Disciplines (click on text for description) 

The “chilly” classroom: A 21st Century Exploration
Dr. Susan Marine, Higher Education

This research will examine the way classroom climates towards women have changed or stayed the same since it was last studied in the late 1980s by researchers Roberta Hall and Bernice Sandler. Their studies revealed that sexism in the classroom is insidious and far-reaching, affecting women and girls from the earliest grades of primary school through the terminal degree (Paludi, 1990; Sadker & Sadker, 1986). In the following years, several initiatives have focused on bringing attention to, and attempting to eliminate sexist behaviors among faculty. Not as much focus, however, has been put on reassessing if women students still face a chilly classroom climate. Analyzing the experiences of all students, including trans* and non-binary students, graduate researchers will use interdisciplinary methods to explore if this chilly climate still exists, and for whom.

Television, Fat Stigma, and the “Obesity Epidemic”
Dr. Melissa Zimdars, Communication and Media

This research project will explore television’s role as a forum for fat visibility and its connection to weight-loss, self-love, and discrimination. Viewers of fat-themed television programs will be interviewed within the U.S. to see if any themes emerge, and the evidence will be compared with interviews conducted abroad. The goal of this research is to demonstrate how representations of fatness on television affect viewers’ opinions towards their own bodies, and how it reinforces or critiques social understandings of fatness among audiences.

See 2016-2017 Grant Recipients