CHSS Faculty Receive Curriculum Impact Grant Awards

by Anne Reynolds

CHSS Faculty Receive Curriculum Impact Grant Awards

On August 21, 2019, Provost and Executive Vice President David Wu announced the winners of the 2019 Provost Curriculum Impact Grants. Of the eight grants awarded, six of these went to teams that included College of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty members.

Each year, the university awards several Curriculum Impact Grants through the Office of the Provost to help teams of faculty revise and design innovative multidisciplinary curriculum. The program’s goal is to deepen student development and incorporate experiential learning, helping students appreciate local and global challenges, and teaching them the tools to address them.

Congratulations to college faculty members who submitted these winning proposals:

Bonner Leader Program

The Bonner Leader Program, which incorporates faculty from the college, the College of Health and Human Services, and University Life, is a four-year developmental model built around community engagement and experiential learning, which integrates curricular and co-curricular learning and offers a pathway for community service via federal work study. Active at 65 colleges and universities, the program encourages college students to use their energy, talents, and leadership skills to engage in community service while providing developmental and financial support. The program features weekly engagement with students, provides a developmental, multi-year program model, and is the largest privately-funded, service-based college scholarship program in the United States. In seeing its Impact Grant, the team noted that the program connects co-curricular and curricular pathways to create a high impact educational experience for undergraduate students in line with the Mason Impact, Patriot Experience and University Mission.

Building Linguistic and Cultural Competence and Critical Consciousness:  Exploring Pathways to Civic Engagement and Social Justice

This partnership between the college and the College of Health and Human Sciences will work to create a multidisciplinary minor for undergraduate students in Spanish, nursing, and social work. This cross-college initiative will help students further develop their linguistic and cultural competence and expose them to transformative immersion experiences in the classroom and in a community-based learning setting to allow them to more effectively engage with vulnerable minority language populations both locally and globally.

Conservation and Environmental Science Communication: Development of a Transdisciplinary Curriculum

This partnership between the Department of Communication, the College of Science’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy, and the Schar School of Policy and Government, proposes hosting an advisory board of internal and external stakeholders, including federal agencies, to create recommendations for the design of graduate-level transdisciplinary curricula on conservation and environmental science communication; the team will create and implement a new cross-departmental experiential course module as the first test of these ideas in application.

Folklore and Festivals

The Folklore Program and Arts Management Program will collaborate to provide a project-based learning opportunity in festival management for Mason students. The objective is for students to develop an interdisciplinary scholarly understanding of festival studies while gaining professional experience helping to organize an internationally renowned festival: the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Minor in Environmental and Ecological Consulting

Many students who pursue majors in natural sciences find their first employment after graduation in environmental and ecological consulting. To be competitive in this field, applicants require a thorough understanding of environmental science, an interdisciplinary background (e.g., communication, policy, management), and professional experience. To better prepare Mason’s graduates for this career path and to streamline the transition from the classroom into the workforce, faculty members from the college, the College of Science, and the Schar School of Policy and Government propose the development of a minor in Environmental and Ecological Consulting.

Representatives from the EEC industry and Mason faculty contribute to this minor, which supplements relevant majors with courses that are essential for EEC employment and with professional internship experiences through consortium firms.

Writing@Mason: Articulating, Sharing, and Integrating Threshold Concepts into Mason Core Writing Courses and Mason Impact Courses

Faculty members from the Department of English, the Writing Center, the Writing Across the Curriculum program, and the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning offered this proposal, which supports the development of a guide to common concepts in writing education, a workshop series for faculty and TAs, a peer-to-peer collaborative support system for TAs and adjuncts who teach, grade, and support undergraduate writing across the curriculum, and a web-based informational site to collect/share resources in support of ongoing faculty development for writing instruction across the curriculum.