Six faculty teams will split nearly $72,000 in grants next year to develop innovative approaches to undergraduate student learning through Miller Faculty Fellowship grants. Funding came from two sources: the president’s office ($50,000) and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching ($22,000).

Nineteen proposals were submitted for review by the CELT advisory board with a total of $240,530 requested. The board made recommendations to senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert, who gave final approval.

Following is a quick summary of the six funded projects that represent principal investigators from five colleges.

Flipped pre-lab discussion and structured inquiry in CHEM 331L

Summary: Redesign the largest organic chemistry lab class — perceived by students as a huge obstacle — by replacing pre-lab lectures with video tutorials, other materials and discussion to predict experiment results. Experiments themselves will use structured inquiry and guided inquiry approaches in which the outcome is less certain. The goal is for students to use critical thinking to learn basic concepts, understand why organic chemicals behave as they do and become better interpreters of experiment results.
Award: $9,442
Faculty team: Teresa Fernando, Joseph Awino, George Kraus, Arthur Winter and Yan Zhao, chemistry

Developing virtual lab software as a new teaching tool for biochemistry lab course

Summary: To aid the introductory biochemistry lab course, software will provide animated visualization of biomolecules to help students simulate and understand experiments outside of actual labs. The team will track if the software helps students better execute and understand complex experiments.
Award: $16,452
Faculty team: Baoyu Chen and Desiree Gunning, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology; and Simanta Mitra, computer science

Enhancing best practices in microbial sciences in the digital age through experiential learning

Summary: As part of the capstone course (Micro 440) for students in microbial sciences, integrate computational and bioinformatic data into previously purchased laptops (replacing a paper notebook archive) for efficient, secure use of the data and to expand the scope of possible learning exercises.
Award: $13,705
Faculty team: Larry Halverson and Claudia Lemper plant pathology and microbiology; and Greg Phillips, veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine

Video enhanced mobile observation: Mobile-app supported peer observation and feedback pedagogy

Summary: Develop a video mobile app for use in an elementary science teaching course to enhance students’ peer observation and feedback and ultimately develop better teachers.
Award: $13,812
Faculty team: Evrim Baran and EunJin Bahng, School of Education

Leadership skill awareness development through peer feedback

Summary: Turn a lecture-based course into one where students are the decision-makers on topics, and peers assess each other’s leadership skills. It will help ensure students’ ideas are heard and leadership behavior is shown in group settings.
Award: $5,500
Faculty team: Maartje Schouten and John Watt, management

Innovative learning framework for classes involving physical systems: Combining the inductive teaching and learning method and the Make To Innovate program

Summary: Use an inductive learning method (which begins with questions or challenges for students), as well as aerospace engineering’s successful “Make To Innovate” program to help students in two AE courses (355 and 531) understand complex concepts in flight dynamics and aircraft performance. Inductive methods are rarely used in engineering courses, mostly due to a lack of evidence they can work in the discipline.
Award: $13,000
Faculty team: A Ram Kim, Benjamin Ahn and Matthew Nelson, aerospace engineering

The projects must be completed by June 30, 2020. In addition to preparing a final report, Miller fellows share the outcomes of their project during a fall luncheon.

The 2019-20 academic year marks the 23rd year of the program, which now has funded 206 projects and dispersed more than $3.5 million. It is named for and partially funded by the estate of F. Wendell Miller, an attorney and farm manager who died in 1995. His will stipulated that the bulk of his estate be used to create the Miller Endowment Trust, with income from the trust divided equally between Iowa State and the University of Iowa. Former president Martin Jischke established the faculty fellowship program in 1996.

Re-posted from the Inside Iowa State website – View Inside Iowa State’s Six teaching projects receive Miller grants (March 14, 2019) web post