AASCU Innovations Exchange
Your Source for innovation in Public Higher Education

Research and Regional Stewardship

Advocates for College Education Success (ACES): A Program for Reentry Students San Francisco State University Project Description: The intent of this program is to improve the academic performance and retention of formerly incarcerated students enrolled at San Francisco (SF) State, through a series of general education courses designed to improve study habits and critical thinking skills. Stakeholders are: the Associated Students’ Project Rebound, a program founded in 1967 by a late SF State Sociology Professor to help formerly incarcerated individuals gain formal admittance to the University and support them through the transitional reentry and educational process, the City’s District Attorney’s Office, and numerous nonprofits that provide services to formerly incarcerated individuals. This program is housed in the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.  Read more >>

An Appalachian Summer Festival Appalachian State University Project Description: Appalachian State University's Office of Arts & Cultural Programs established An Appalachian Summer Festival in 1984. This multi-arts festival is scheduled throughout the month of July, with events staged on and around the university campus in Boone, North Carolina. Featuring a wide array of music, dance and theatre performances, as well as visual arts exhibitions, films, lectures and workshops, the event has a positive influence on the cultural landscape and quality of life of western North Carolina, and contributes to economic development of the region by promoting it as a unique travel destination. The festival is part of a larger Cultural Affairs program at Appalachian that promotes the teaching mission of the university through year-round visual and performing arts programming serving university students, community members, visitors, and K-12 students from across the region. Read more >>

Bingocize™: Improving Older Adults’ Physical Fitness While Engaging Students and the Community Western Kentucky University Project Description: The goals of Bingocize™ are to provide service-learning experiences for exercise science students and to create low-cost exercise programs for older adults. Led by students, Bingocize™ is a combination exercise and bingo game that can be implemented at older adult facilities such as assisted living, nursing homes, and senior community centers.  Exercises are alternated with rolls of bingo until someone wins the game and a prize. Functional fitness is assessed at the beginning and end of each semester. The course outcomes for students are evaluated using reflections and group projects. The program is funded by both internal and external grants. Read more >>

Cal Campaign Consultants (CCC) California University of Pennsylvania Project Description: Cal Campaign Consultants is a multidisciplinary organization, which teaches students the basics of professionalizing campaigns, for example: campaign strategy, graphic design, voter mobilization, and debate techniques. Faculty in political science, behavioral psychology, graphic design and art, communication studies, theater, and journalism share their expertise with students. Members use their skills to manage campaigns for student government presidential candidates. Two campus leaders laid the groundwork for the unique group, which is funded by the Student Association, Inc. Read more >>

Center for Cancer Disparities Research California State University, Fullerton Project Description: The Center for Cancer Disparities Research is housed at the California State University Fullerton (CSUF), which is a comprehensive minority-serving institution located in Southern California. The Center for Cancer Disparities Research at CSUF was established in 2006 to address the increasing burden of health disparities, especially in cancer. Cancer is the second most common cause of death, with nearly one in four deaths caused by cancer nationwide. Read more >>

Civic Engagement Certificate University of Alaska Anchorage Project Description: The Civic Engagement Certificate is a 30 credit academic program that students at UAA can earn along with any major. The 3 credit entry course, Introduction to Civic Engagement, satisfies a Social Sciences GER and places students in community agencies for a total of 20 hours, culminating in a "Be The Change" project proposal. A new addition this year will be a competitive internship to carry out the proposed project. This is followed by a community-based research course, an internship, and a capstone course for a total of 15 credits. The remaining 15 credits are planned from the student's discipline and supporting courseload with a community focus. The Certificate is noted on students’ transcripts, and students participate with majors in Environment & Society, Early Childhood Education, Social Work, in addition to other majors. Graduating seniors prepare an ePortfolio as an assessment of their learning and community experiences. Read more >>

Civic Engagement: A First-Year Experience Course Connecting Quantitative Reasoning for Undeclared Students Emporia State University Project Description: Motivation is an important element in student learning, and this First-Year-Experience (FYE) course centers around civic engagement with an intentional emphasis on math and quantitative reasoning for undeclared students with low ACT math scores. The idea is to cultivate leadership in civic engagement early in the undergraduate experience in campus and community activities and weave math and quantitative reasoning into what we do. For example, students created assessment of the projects. In addition, field trips where real-world applications of math and quantitative reasoning illustrate the efficacy of student learning. Read more >>

Community Engaged Classrooms: Connecting Classrooms and Community to Support Civic Engagement Illinois State University Project Description: Illinois State University’s Community Engaged Classrooms, a joint effort of academic and student affairs supported by the American Democracy Project committee, supports campus and community partnerships by providing necessary support and connections to develop projects that meet community needs and facilitate student and faculty involvement in civic engagement. Read more >>

Developing Green Jobs Curriculum for Workforce Development Eastern Connecticut State University Project Description: ECSU has partnered with Workplace Inc. on the Department of Labor ARRA grant, ‘Pathways from Poverty’ and provides program design and curriculum for the “Green-Up Bridgeport” job training program. This two year initiative engages 700 unemployed participants from Bridgeport’s 12 most impoverished neighborhoods, providing training to successfully place participants in “Green” jobs. Participants are exposed to hundreds of green job opportunities utilizing four career ladders. These ladders recognize an ascending range of opportunities from entry level jobs to family supporting sustainable careers. The exploratory curriculum is taught over four one week sessions, after which participants progress into placement in their chosen field. Read more >>

Developing Resources and Engaging Activities to Motivate Students (DREAMS) Project California State University, Northridge Project Description: An ongoing collaboration between five partners (Local District 2 of Los Angeles Unified School District; California State University, Northridge; Los Angeles Mission College; Project GRAD Los Angeles; and the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley) to address a common concern with high attrition rates among high school students due, in part, to failure in first year algebra. The initial work of the collaborative focused on decreasing high school attrition by promoting student success in algebra. The students who participated in DREAMS consisted of a representative sample of eighth grade algebra students who were not proficient in mathematics as sixth and seventh graders. Read more >>

Developing the Capacity for Community-Driven Research To Eliminate Health Disparities San Diego State University Project Description: Since 2003, leaders of a major network of Federally Qualified Health Centers and a university-based team in Merced, CA have nurtured a community-driven research collaboration to address health and health-care disparities in one of the nation’s largest agricultural regions. The collaboration originated from discussions on how to assess organizational performance for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) and has evolved to internally- and externally-funded research projects to improve language access and chronic care. Throughout, the community organization and university partner collaborated to develop new competencies and resources, including staff and funding. Read more >>

Disaster Preparedness for Vulnerable Populations San Fransisco State University Project Description: Disaster Preparedness for Vulnerable Populations (DPVP) was a multi-year action–research partnership that combined a service learning outreach program with a pre-post telephone survey of a vulnerable population, seniors in San Francisco who are recipients of home care from In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), to better prepare them for the inevitability of an earthquake. The key partner in the program was the San Francisco IHSS Public Authority, which assigns home care providers toeligible individuals. The Public Authority funded the evaluation of the project to complement the outreach which was supported by the Bay Area Super Urban Area Security Initiative (SUASI). Read more >>

Electronic Tracking of Student Engagement with Political Engagement Programming Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Project Description: As the Political Engagement Project (PEP) developed patterns of campus events to which we wanted to draw our students, finding out how to best engage students so that they continued their involvement after the event became a primary goal. With magnetic strip student ID cards in use, gathering data about student attendance proved to be relatively easy and very affordable. Further, once we collected the attendance data, the student information database could be easily mined for enormous amounts of relevant statistics as well. Read more >>

eMINTS and Beyond: Advancing Teaching and Learning through a P-20 Technology Partnership Lincoln University in Missouri Project Description: A statewide collaborative technology initiative, eMINTS is an acronym for “Enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies.” The Lincoln University eMINTS and Beyond program was the first of its kind in the state to provide a certificate in technology to teacher education candidates.  eMINTS classes are held in dedicated computer labs. Instead of discarding older computers, the eMINTS program has evolved to include a refurbishment project that is mutually beneficial to computer science majors by offering them hands-on experiences in computer refurbishment and to mid-Missouri schools in need of computer equipment. The expanded program has positively impacted P-20 teaching and learning. Read more >>

Encouraging Entrepreneurship at Northern Illinois University Northern Illinois University Project Description: NIU seeks to encourage innovation among faculty and students in programs across campus, and is employing a multi-faceted approach to make the knowledge, experiences, skills and attitudes associated with entrepreneurship more accessible to individuals outside of the College of Business. To this end, existing faculty and staff associated with entrepreneurship programs in the Colleges of Business and Engineering/Engineering Technology are reaching out to students, faculty and staff from other academic disciplines within the university. University resources are being invested in new initiatives focused on expanding the opportunities for entrepreneurship training and industry collaboration available to members of all academic disciplines. In addition, NIU is actively supporting pre-college entrepreneurship education programs in Illinois. Read more >>

Expanded Dual Credit to Address Community Needs Northern Kentucky University Project Description: NKU dramatically expanded its dual-credit program to meet K-12 needs. Tuition per class was reduced to $225, a savings of $786/class for school partners. The number of classes available was increased, allowing high school students to complete up 25 credit hours. Admission criteria were adjusted to allow more students to participate. Scholarships were offered to enable high school teachers to meet credentialing requirements at the college level. The impact of these changes was immediate. Fall 2103 enrollment grew 10% over fall 2012 and is projected to grow by 25% over fall 2012 by fall 2014. Read more >>

Greene County Community Strategic Plan University of West Alabama Project Description: The University of West Alabama (UWA) has provided Greene County, Alabama with a resource team to evaluate the county’s assets and liabilities and to develop a plan to help improve the social and economic conditions of the county. Read more >>

How Use of a Non-profit Can Improve a Public University’s Bottom Line Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Project Description: RSC created a self-supporting non-profit corporation that operates outside the constraints of public contracting law to negotiate favorable long-term contracts for auxiliary services and find private partners to pursue revenue-generating projects to support the College’s mission.    This model allows SASI to leverage contracts to increase investment of private corporations in College facilities and achieve off-campus penetration, national branding, and increased scholarship levels.  SASI generates revenues for operations through its master management contract with the College for all auxiliary services, and projects with both private developers and public entities for acquisition, construction and management of income-producing investments. Read more >>

Learning in Retirement Program University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Project Description: UW-Green Bay’s Learning in Retirement (LIR) program offers more than 230 non-credit courses annually to serve its current membership of 1,050 community retirees. The program is sponsored by the university but is administered by committees of community volunteers, with all courses taught by volunteers.  The courses cover a wide range of subjects, are selected to meet the needs and interests of  the members, and are offered in a variety of formats, including single-session lecture-hall presentations, multiple-week discussion classes, small-group seminars, and day-long field trips. Annual membership dues of $100 include on-campus parking and permit members to register for as many courses as they choose to take.  The program is intended for anyone who is retired or semi-retired with an interest in learning; there is no specific age requirement.  The program has been in existence for over 20 years and its large size—significantly larger than most LIR programs in the nation—is noteworthy because it has never actively advertised or solicited for new members; and unlike most large LIR programs, it is based not in a balmy densely-populated retirement haven but in a relatively small northern city famous mainly for its football team and its “frozen tundra” climate.  The LIR program’s continued growth and success is attributed to: (a) an extensive cadre of volunteers who serve as course presenters, course coordinators, committee members, Board members and office workers and (b) the strong support of the University, which sponsors it as an official “University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Institute for Learning in Retirement” program as part of its Division of Outreach and Adult Access, assigns a Director in that unit as Advisor to the program, provides the program with free office space, free use of two 50-seat classrooms, free Media Services assistance for those classrooms, campus parking permits to LIR members at a greatly reduced rate, and liability coverage for all on-campus LIR activities and any same-day LIR field trips.  The LIR office is staffed by one full-time person whose salary is covered by LIR membership dues, which are also used to pay for off-campus classroom rental, off-campus media equipment, publication of the catalogs and newsletters, and other costs associated with course offerings.  The program has always been financially self-sustaining and the dues are annually adjusted to assure a prudent carryover balance each year.  The program also has a modest endowment fund, intended eventually to be used for special projects and for scholarships. Read more >>

Me and My School--Early Childhood Summer Learning Program Northern Kentucky University Project Description: This is a summer learning program for 4-year-olds transitioning to Kindergarten. The program has three foci: Ready Children—develop school readiness through a focus on child learning and developing the whole child; Ready Families—provide family engagement activities facilitating kindergarten readiness; and Ready Schools—where barriers to transition are identified and addressed. This project involves the university faculty collaborating with 7 school districts, with personnel from the PK-12 schools and the university education faculty facilitating and leading the discussions and information. Parents also participate in the program with their children. Read more >>

Mechanical Engineering Technology Program Articulation Agreement Indiana State University Project Description: Indiana State University (ISU) has developed articulation agreements between its ABET/ETAC accredited Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program and related A.S. and A.A.S. programs at Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University, and Lake Land College. These agreements help graduates of associate degrees in design/drafting, mechanical, or engineering technology fields to earn a B.S. in MET degree to advance their career. Also, this is the final step in an advanced manufacturing career pathway that begins with a Certified Production Technician certification earned through a High School Dual Credit partnership between Ivy Tech and a local high school, and ends with a B.S. degree in MET. This career pathway is critical for meeting the human resource demands of the Wabash Valley Advanced Manufacturing Cluster. In the most recent semester, the MET program has seen international associate degree graduates joining the program. Read more >>

NIU Regional Engagement Office in Rockford, Illinois Northern Illinois University Project Description: The Office for Regional Engagement/Rockford was established in 2009 to create a comprehensive engagement strategy for NIU in the Rockford region, and this investment has resulted in some of NIU’s most significant, innovative and enduring community partnerships. Rockford is home to one of three NIU regional centers. Whereas all three regional centers provide graduate and undergraduate classes, as well as continuing professional education and conference facilities for businesses and organizations, the NIU-Rockford office has been able to develop opportunities above and beyond academic program delivery and conferencing functions. Read more >>

PK-12/Arts and Sciences/Education Collaboration Initiative Northern Kentucky University Project Description: One example of how the university collaborates and innovates through a P-20 partnership is the Collaboration Initiative. The initiative includes representatives from PK-12 teachers and administration, Arts/ Science faculty, and Education faculty and was formed to review, discuss, and recommend ideas on collaborating and supporting each other. Many items are discussed, all with the purpose of improving the teacher education program so graduates can more positively impact PK-12 children. The Collaboration Initiative is an ongoing partnership to forge a stronger bond and collaboration among the teacher education program, PK-12 school districts, and the Arts/Sciences programs. Read more >>

Procurement Technical Assistance Program Troy University Project Description: The Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) was authorized by Congress in 1985 in an effort to expand the number of businesses capable of participating in the government marketplace. Administered by the Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the program provides matching funds through cooperative agreements with state and local governments and non-profit organizations for the establishment of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) to provide procurement assistance. In 1989, the Alabama PTAC program was funded and became part of an existing statewide Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network with established partnerships at state-funded universities.  The Troy University PTAC program remains a component of the SBDC, currently operating within the Center for International Business and Economic Development (CIBED).  The program is dedicated to helping Southeast Alabama businesses compete successfully in the government marketplace and has become an important part of CIBED’s overall economic development mission. Read more >>

Re-focusing a University on Regional Stewardship and Engagement Western Carolina University Project Description: Through a commitment to region and community, WCU has re-focused the curriculum around integrated experiential learning; adopting a faculty reward system focused on the Boyer Model; and developing a campus master plan that integrates education, business, governmental agencies, residences, and NGO's within the context of an educational environment. The theoretical model for this development is AASCU's "Stewards of Place." Read more >>

RIC ADP Partners with Local News Leader for Election Coverage Rhode Island College Project Description: The ADP at RIC teamed with NBC-10, the state’s news leader, to present a series of debates and forums to inform citizens about the issues that shaped 2010 political agendas. It was the first time that a Rhode Island college and a local TV station partnered for election coverage, which included four candidates’ debates broadcast live from the college. Also, for the first time in Rhode Island’s history, dial testing was used to display immediate audience reaction to the candidates’ statements. A representative group of voters used the handheld, wireless technology to record their reactions that were displayed on the television screen.  Read more >>

Rural Health Innovation Collaborative Indiana State University Project Description: The Rural Health Innovation Collaborative (RHIC) works to improve health care in rural Indiana by increasing the number of qualified rural healthcare professionals. Institutional partners in the RHIC include Indiana State University, Union Hospital and its Lugar Center for Rural Health, Hamilton Center (mental health services), Indiana University School of Medicine – Terre Haute, Ivy Tech Community College, Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation, and the City of Terre Haute. RHIC priorities include expanding health care businesses, generating research opportunities, providing health care training programs, and ultimately improving access to rural medical care. The RHIC was created in September 2008 and became a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation in December 2009. Read more >>

Service Learning in Dual-Credit Courses Northern Kentucky University Project Description: For the past three years, high school students enrolled in a dual-credit Social Justice course have participated in a service-learning project. Through the project, students have selected agencies in need to receive special funding through the Scripps Howard Endowment Fund. Under the direction of a tenured faculty member, students developed award criteria, interviewed potential recipients, and presented the awards to the agencies. The project allowed students to identify, evaluate and compare the needs of our community through the eyes of the participating agencies. The course has been delivered in conjunction with high schools with heavy enrollment from under-represented student populations. Read more >>

Service Sunday: Serve Where You Are Northeastern State University Project Description: Service Sundays are designed to be short projects which can be completed in an afternoon setting.  The Cherokee Nation is a major partner in this endeavor as they provide millions of dollars in scholarships with a self-help component.  Sequoyah Schools is a local school system affiliated with the Cherokee Nation and has also become a partner.  A group of individuals representing all partners determine projects for the semester with the primary aim being to return services to our native community.  The Cherokee Nation assists with materials and NSU and Sequoyah assist in providing drinks and snacks. Read more >>

Southern Regional Institute/Educational Technology Training Center Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Project Description: The Southern Regional Institute (SRI) and Educational Technology Training Center (ETTC) provide professional development opportunities for preK-12 educators, technology coordinators, school administrators, and other support service professionals. The overall goals of the SRI are to improve student academic achievement, organization effectiveness, employee performance, and user satisfaction. The ETTC's goal is to offer technology training and technology services to school districts to enhance the education available to students through the creative use of educational technologies in the classroom.The SRI&ETTC Consortium includes school districts and other regional organizations in five southern New Jersey counties and represents approximately 90,000 PreK-12 students and 24,000 educators. Read more >>

Students Bringing Sustainable Change through the $100 Solution Program Western Kentucky University (WKU) Project Description:  The $100 Solution™ has entered the psyche of students, faculty, and communities across the globe.  Using this service-learning model, students are partnering with communities, asking the question, “With one hundred dollars, how can we enhance the quality of your life?” Armed with the five core principles of partnership, reciprocity, capacity building, sustainability, and reflection, students are learning to erase superiority and work alongside community partners to improve neighborhoods. As world headquarters of The $100 Solution™, the ICSR is home to service-learning courses mirroring this model. WKU students are active in creating positive change in the Bowling Green community.  Read more >>

Terre Haute Innovation Alliance Indiana State University Project Description: Created in 2008 the Terre Haute Innovation Alliance is a partnership between the City of Terre Haute, Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation, Indiana State University (ISU) and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT). ISU and RHIT provide university commercialization services to companies in the process of developing or expanding their products.ISU provides limited business incubation space in the Myers Technology Center.The Alliance program at ISU is managed by the Business Engagement Center.  Services also are provided to client companies through the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Ventures program. Prospects for the program can be identified by any of the partners and are reviewed by all of the partners. Read more >>

The Bracero Oral History Project California State University, Channel Islands Project Description: In 2008, California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI) joined the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History to document the history of Braceros. The Bracero History Project collected over 700 interviews and dozens of photographs, documents and artifacts that tell the story of the largest guest-worker program in U.S. history. CSUCI offered service-learning courses to students in Chicano/a Studies, Spanish and Art to produce a local exhibition “The Braceros of Ventura County” to complement the national exhibition. Students, including descendants of Braceros, documented the lives of ex-Braceros, scanned photos and documents, organized town-hall meetings, and conducted exhibition tours.    Read more >>

The Kentucky Center for Mathematics (KCM) Early Childhood Mathematics Initiative Northern Kentucky University Project Description: The Kentucky Center for Mathematics (KCM) (a statewide center with regional coordinators at most public post-secondary institutions in Kentucky) and the Erikson Institute in Chicago (The only post-secondary institution with advanced degrees in early childhood development) have followed up years of collaboration training pre-k teachers in Kentucky to integrate the big ideas of mathematics into early childhood experiences with a bold new initiative. This initiative incorporates the KCM’s established expertise in “professional noticing,” the Erikson Institute’s expertise in early childhood curriculum and their shared experience training pre-k teachers. Professional noticing allows for targeting mathematics instruction by training teachers to make good teaching decisions for each individual student. While still a relatively new project, the response from pre-k teachers has been quite extraordinary and rapid growth is imminent. Read more >>

The Kentucky Center for Mathematics (KCM) Primary Mathematics Intervention Program (PMIP) Northern Kentuck University Project Description: The PMIP was established in 2006 to assure that all students in Kentucky are proficient in mathematics. The KCM works with Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions to assure that dedicated Mathematics Intervention Teachers (MITs), embedded in over 100 elementary schools throughout Kentucky, are able to coordinate a leadership team in their schools. This is done by facilitating the growth and leadership capacity of these primary mathematics intervention teachers through rigorous, sustained, job-embedded professional learning. During the ongoing PMIP experience, MITs learn to assess and advance student numeracy using Common Core progressions and the Math Recovery Models and Frameworks. And, they enthusiastically share their passion, knowledge, and tools with colleagues, transforming the way teachers think as they evolve their abilities to guide students’ development of strong conceptual foundations. Read more >>

The UCF/City of Orlando Reading Camp Program University of Central Florida Project Description: The UCF/City of Orlando Reading Camp Program is a collaborative program in which elementary school children in Orlando receive free, year-long tutoring in reading by UCF education students.  Additionally, parents receive instruction on how to teach their children to read at home. The Reading Camp operates at two community centers located in the historical African-American Parramore Neighborhood of downtown Orlando.  Partial funding is provided by the College of Education, grants, and private donations.    Read more >>

Transition to Mathematics and Science Teaching (TMAST) University of Central Florida Project Description: TMAST is designed to serve as an effective model for educational reforms proposed by both national and state agencies by providing central Florida schools with teacher leaders who initiate, implement and sustain mathematics and science reform efforts. It is an innovative, fast-track graduate program for STEM professionals who wish to transition into middle grade teaching. The program is funded through an endowment from the Lockheed Martin Corporation and is one of two programs in the Lockheed Martin/UCF Academy for Mathematics and Science (LMA), which is an education/industry/community-based partnership aimed at improving mathematics, science and technology education in Central Florida schools. The TMAST program also has had past and current funding from the Toyota Corporation and Boeing Corporation.   The TMAST program features:A master's degree with embedded certificate designed for completion in 4 semesters Accelerated, innovative classroom placement A cohort design to promote the development of a professional community Two semesters of  paid internship (clinical supervision experiences)Active, multi-layered mentoring that extends beyond graduation Considerable tuition support for those who qualify   Read more >>

Community Development Institute (CDI) Central University of Central Arkansas Project Description: UCA established the first community development institute in 1987 and has since trained over 3,000 community and economic developers from the state and region. Read more >>

Wii the People Civic Bowling League Western Kentucky University Project Description: The ICSR will host the first Wii™ the People Bowling League; using the Nintendo Wii™ bowling game, teams will come together to foster civil discourse, find common ground with others while having fun.  Each week, teams will be given a contemporary topic to discuss while they bowl. Instead of focusing on the differences that the teams might have, the teams will cooperate to build an agreement list pertaining to the given topic. It is our hope that participants will realize that there is much more common ground between groups than may be perceived.  Read more >>

WISE GEMS: Women In Science Empowering Girls Engaged in Math and Science University of West Alabama Project Description: Women In Sciences Empowering Girls Engaged in Mathematics and Sciences (WISE GEMS) is an organization led by female faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM), conceived and initiated by Dr. Venkat Sharma, Dean of the College. This project recruits undergraduate NSM student volunteers to give presentations and conduct hands-on learning activities about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) topics at local K-12 schools. The project goals are: 1) to engage local girls and boys in STEM activities; 2) to prompt UWA students and faculty to get involved in the local community; and 3) for NSM students to learn how to teach fundamental STEM concepts.Obstacle Addressed: Rural west Alabama's Sumter County schools are characterized by a high percentage of students on the free lunch program, low expenditure per student, and low test scores. What's more, 98% of students attending schools in the UWA service area are predominantly minority living below the poverty level. The majority of these students progressing to higher education is often first generation college students and is frequently unprepared academically and socially. The myriad of tasks and course work quickly become a huge obstacle to higher education. The major problem for our area is twofold: low numbers of minority students – especially females – entering STEM professions and inadequate STEM preparation provided to elementary and secondary students in our area. These two problems, shared by much of the nation, are not independent of each other. By providing activities that motivate young learners to embrace science and mathematics from an early age, students will be more likely to pursue higher education and careers in these areas. To encourage UWA students majoring in STEM subjects to graduate and enter STEM careers, WISE GEMS recruits undergraduate NSM student leaders to give presentations and conduct hands-on participatory activities on STEM topics at local schools. The students effectively teach and learn from each other.Theory of Action: WISE GEMS bases its outreach activities on the theory of early intervention. By offering hands-on and discovery enrichment activities to children of young age, their fears and resistance of science and mathematics become less problematic for student and teacher. Simultaneously, putting college students in environments that strengthen their teaching experiences helps them understand more effective ways of approaching learners while giving them a sense of security in their own knowledge.History of Development: The WISE GEMS project began when Dr. Venkat Sharma, Dean of Natural Science and Mathematics, became dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in the Fall of 2009. He discussed with the female faculty members of NSM his aim of getting more girls interested in science and mathematics. The idea of organizing WISE GEMS was born merging the concept of teaching experience for UWA science and mathematics majors with the need to inspire elementary and middle school students at an early age. Dr. Heather McDonald was appointed chair of the group and submitted a Service Learning grant to UWA that would become the first source of funding for the project, receiving $1,000 for outreach activities and support. All funding for WISE GEMS has been through grant support.  Read more >>

WKU’s Hill House Fosters Civic Renewal in Local Neighborhood Western Kentucky University Project Description: WKU’s Hill House provides graduate students with experiential learning opportunities to conduct applied/community-based research in various disciplines while living in the neighborhood. Through vital community partnerships, students learn the practical value of their academic training in becoming citizen professionals strengthening communities locally and beyond. Hill House students host weekly Sunday evening potluck dinners for the community, providing the neighborhood with free space to gather, discussing contemporary topics, watching documentaries, and sharing meals. The students have partnered with community leaders, neighbors, the Bowling Green Neighborhood Action offices, classmates, and professors to organize involvement in their neighborhood and the larger community.  Read more >>

Youth Impact Partnership Project (YIPP) Weber State University Project Description: The Youth Impact Partnership Project (YIPP) is a collaborative community-based learning project between the Youth Impact program, a youth development program located in inner-city Ogden, UT, and multiple Weber State University (WSU) entities - faculty members and students from various academic programs, the Education Access and Outreach office, and the Community Involvement Center.  This reciprocal partnership has a positive impact on inner-city youth attending the Youth Impact program and Weber State University students.  There are four central elements to YIPP: a) WSU students serving as mentors/tutors; b) WSU students teaching social skills classes; c) WSU students developing and facilitating clubs and activities; and d) WSU students conducting program evaluation research with and for the program to inform program changes.  Read more >>