2017 Program Innovation & Enhancement Awards

2017 Program Innovation Awards:

Title: Augmentation and Amplification of the new Plant Science Track in Biology through Integrative Learning Experiences

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Rani Vajravelu (Biology)

Other Members: Eric Hoffman, Chase Mason, Laurie von Kalm (Biology)

 A separate Plant Science Track has recently been enacted (fall 2016) in the undergraduate Biology curriculum as a means of providing a well thought-out and focused plant science program that prepares students for a wide variety of botanical career choices beyond graduation. One of the Department’s objectives in creating this track was to confer a current, competitive edge to those students completing it. Upon completion of this track, we expect our undergraduates to benefit by being demonstrably highly qualified to find employment in biotechnology labs or state and local conservation and management agencies; to obtain internships for further research or employment; to enter the teaching profession (K-12); to gain admission to pharmacy and medicine programs; or to successfully pursue graduate programs in various plant science related fields.


Title: Evolution of High-Impact Experiences Imbedded in UCF Curriculum: Institutionalizing the Coach Model for Undergraduate Student Success

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Linda Walters (Biology)

Other Members: Mary Tripp (Writing & Rhetoric), Martha Garcia (Modern Languages & Literatures), Michael Rovito (Public Health), Amanda Anthony (Sociology), Kimberly Schneider (Undergraduate Research)

In Phase II of our project, we hope to: 1) expand the coach model beyond research to include service-learning coaches, study abroad coaches, etc., 2) collect a different suite of assessment data to better understand how students progress through UCF when they are a coach or have a coach in their course (time till graduation, GPA, success gap between FTICs and Florida AA transfer students, etc.), and 3) provide compelling data that this undergraduate coach model can and should be institutionalized at UCF to improve our undergraduate student outcomes and support the UCF strategic plan. This initiative has been especially instrumental for students in the classes that are non-STEM and for transfer students from state colleges.


Title: Getting Social Work Seniors Ready for the Profession: The Use of High Impact Integrative Learning Strategies

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $9,550.00

Project Lead: Ana Leon (Social Work)

Other Members: Robin Kohn (Social Work), Belinda Boyd (Theater), Alexander Moore (SVAD Student)

This project requires the integration of content from previous courses on interviewing, assessment, ethics, and professional development skills.  New skills acquired during this course project are: a) documentation skills and b) transferable skills useful in other courses and in future careers. Three videotaped scenarios of social work sessions will demonstrate the essential relationship between previously learned skills and new skills acquired throughout this course project. Integral components include collaborative work on group role immersion, as well as reflective and written documentation assignments that not only target documentation format, content, and writing skills, but focus on skills students can transfer into the workplace once they graduate.


Title: Graduate School Preparation Online Modules and Curriculum

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Michael Aldarondo-Jeffries (Academic Advancement Programs)

Other Members: Natalia Toro (Academic Advancement Programs)

Michael Aldarondo-Jeffries, Natalia Toro, Academic Advancement Programs

The project will create and market integrative learning tutorials that enhance the scope and outreach of existing services provided by the Academic Advancement Programs at UCF. It aims to help participating students gain insight about the graduate school application process and provide them with the knowledge to access the tools necessary to apply. Students from all disciplines and stages of their undergraduate career would have access to the tutorials. Obojobo is a platform that will cater to students interested in acquiring general information about applying to graduate school and resources within UCF. Students seeking further guidance will access the WebCourse, where they will find more detailed informational pages coupled with exercises that present opportunities for students to reflect upon and assess their preparedness for admittance to and success within graduate school.


Title: IDEAS and Active Learning: Preparing the Engineering Student for Success

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $9,500.00

Project Lead: Ricardo Zaurin (Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering)

Other Members: F. Necati Catbas (Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering)

Interviewers for engineering jobs are increasingly emphasizing in two desirable qualities for their ideal candidate: 1) the ability of the prospective employee to react and adapt to a real case scenario and 2) the candidate’s ability to work as part of the team. The main goal of the project is to create and incorporate high-impact active learning experiences early in the curriculum, specifically in the class Engineering Analysis-Statics (EGN 3310), which is common to all engineering majors. Students enrolled in this class will be required to work in hands-on projects to provoke high-order thinking to prepare sophomore and junior engineering students for their senior design projects and ultimately help them to be successful in the completion of their engineering degrees.


Title: Incorporating Career-Readiness Learning in Foundational STEM Curricula via Integrative Assessments

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Baiyun Chen (Instructional Design)

Other Members: Ronald DeMara (Electrical & Computer Engineering), Richard Hartshorne (Instructional, Design, and Technology)

This project develops and delivers a faculty training program on incorporating career-readiness learning in foundational STEM curriculum using integrative assessments. The program will equip twenty instructors, who are teaching foundational undergraduate STEM lectures/labs, with electronic resources, techniques, and hands-on practice at transforming their curriculum using creatively designed collaborative assignments, digitized formative quizzes, and authentic summative assessments. This 8-week long blended training program will consist of two major components: eight online Webcourses modules, and four face-to-face hands-on workshops. The purpose of the program is to help STEM instructors who teach large- enrollment foundational courses to:

  1. Develop exemplar design vignette assessments that advance the metacognition, and self-efficacy of the learners to reinforce, develop, and assess connections between concepts and application to achieve integrative learning; and
  2. Facilitate technology-enabled activities in large classes for developing students’ social and collaborative skills, which are essential for STEM career preparation.


Title: Incorporating Integrative Learning into the Anthropology Major

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $7,500.00

Project Lead: Sarah Barber (Anthropology)

Other Members: Chinyen Chuo (Experiential Learning), Neil Duncan, Amanda Groff, Beatriz Reyes-Foster, John Schultz, Lana Williams (Anthropology)

The goal of the proposed project is to expand student preparation and opportunities for experiential learning among UCF Anthropology majors. The Anthropology Department has established a new Anthropological Sciences track for on-campus students to effectively develop majors for careers and graduate study in Anthropology. With this infrastructure in place, we are seeking funds to facilitate expanding the number of experiential learning opportunities available to our undergraduates, thereby strengthening professional skills of graduates from UCF’s Anthropology program, supporting our new Anthropological Sciences track, and forwarding UCF’s institutional goals. To this end, we will:

  1. Develop online modules as pre-requisites to participation in experiential learning programs (ELPs) such as internships, service learning courses, or directed independent research course
  2. Build a broader network of local, state, and national entities that can host UCF Anthropology majors through internships and service learning projects.
  3. Construct effective assessment tools that measure student success in experiential learning, advancement of students’ professional skills, and effectiveness of different experiential learning programs.


Title: Increasing Readiness for Practice: Using a High-Impact Experience in Simulation

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Kelly Allred (Nursing)

Other Members: Desiree Diaz, Joyce DeGennaro, Jon Decker, Mindi Anderson, Laura Gonzalez, Frank Guido-Sanz (Nursing).

To practice effectively, reduce errors, and promote the best patient outcomes, healthcare practitioners must work together. Specifically, the goal of this project is to develop and evaluate a team-based simulation exercise of an adult patient emergently deteriorating. This simulation will give students an opportunity to use an automatic external defibrillator. The simulation exercise will involve approximately 120 undergraduates, pre-licensure nursing students in their final semester just prior to graduation, and approximately 20 graduate Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) students. The simulation exercise will focus on communication and teamwork skills. The aim of the simulation will be to improve teamwork skills and communication with learners of multiple levels in a stressful situation. The expected outcome is: learners will be able to effectively communicate during high-stress events.


Title: Integrated Learning for Future Public Service Professionals

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $8,000.00

Project Lead: Stephanie Krick (Public Administration)

Other Members: Steven Carrillo, Nasrin Lakhani, Mirtha Bailey (Public Administration)

This project is designed to enhance the undergraduate Public Administration bachelor’s degree and ultimately benefit the students in the program by providing them with a more integrated learning experience. This project will encompass three areas of intervention including: 1) guidance and information: we will augment existing resources and develop new resources to encourage students to identify professional and civic goals; 2) high-impact integrative learning experiences: we want to integrate service learning opportunities into select undergraduate courses; 3) metacognition and self-advocacy: we will redesign a current course into a capstone experience. This course will include a portfolio assignment where students will be given the opportunity to review the work completed in the public administration program and reflect on how it applies to the sector and why it is important.


Title: Modernizing Applied Industrial Microbiology

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Sean Moore (Biomedical Sciences)

Other Members: Woo Hyong Lee, Steve Duranceau (Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering), Shibu Yooseph (Computer Science)

This program innovation will modernize the research curriculum for an existing Applied Industrial Microbiology program (AIM) that is part of the Burnett School’s Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences majors. The two projects below are the focus of this initiative because they are mature enough to require an analysis of the DNA found in complex microbial communities.

Drinking water conditioning: This project involves characterizing the microbial communities in drinking water systems, both to detect pathogens and also to understand the biochemistries at work.

Beer Production and Spoilage: A major challenge for the craft beer industry is controlling the presence and behavior of microbes that come in contact with beer. In some cases, certain microbes are deliberately introduced to impart desired flavors. In other cases, contaminating microbes spoil the beer, either during fermentation or during storage/service.


Title: The MT² (Men Teach Too) Project

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Andrea Small (College of Education and Human Performance–Undergraduate Affairs)

Other Members: Caroline Marrett, Jorri Bright (College of Education and Human Performance–Undergraduate Affairs)

This project seeks to provide minority males pursuing STEM education fields with academic support, mentorship, and integrative learning opportunities that will aid them in building the skills necessary to become scholars and leaders in the classroom and in the community. MT² seeks to accomplish the following goals: 1) Retain current minority male students who are pursuing Mathematics or Science Education as a major; 2) Increase the number of minority male students pursuing education as a major; 3) Provide an integrative learning experience that will promote career readiness and civic engagement; and 4) Serve the Central Florida community, especially in urban school districts through service and leadership.


Title: Online Learning Readiness Program

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Jennifer Sumner (Regional Campuses)

Other Members: Pam Cavanaugh (Regional Campuses)

The Online Learning Readiness Program at UCF will be designed using evidence-based methodology, and will involve various assessment applications intended to promote students’ self-awareness of, among other things, their learning styles, learning motivations, life-factors, technical understandings, and online learning expectations at UCF. The system will be built within a web-based portal, such as Webcourses, and will guide the students through various levels of the assessments. The results of the program will be available to both the students and to their online coaches, who will help to interpret the results with the students, highlighting areas that may be “red-flags”; students can then be directed to the proper resources and tools needed to better prepare them for online learning.


Title: Opening the Digital Door: New Paths to Engagement in Undergraduate Research

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Aubrey Kuperman (Undergraduate Research)

Other Members: Kimberly Schneider, Colleen Smith, Kevin Jardaneh (Undergraduate Research)

There is increasing demand to provide support to students interested in undergraduate research. This project will create an interactive guide on getting started in UCF undergraduate research, using Webcourses. Part I will be designed to get students excited about the possibility of participating in their own research experiences and direct them to other campus resources. Part II will coach students through how to find a faculty mentor, write an email reaching out to them, and prepare for an interview. Part III will provide resources designed to help students as they begin their research.


Title: Taking the UCF-Hillcrest Foreign Language Club to the Next Level: Curricular Development to Grow Service Learning Opportunities for UCF Students

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Kacie Tartt (Modern Languages & Literatures)

Other Members: Amelia Lyons (History), Marie Léticée, Anne Prucha, Rita De Luca Guerriero (Modern Languages & Literatures)

In spring 2015, we established the UCF-Hillcrest Foreign Language Club, which provides UCF and Hillcrest Elementary School students the opportunity to use and improve their Spanish and French skills in a collaborative community-based environment. UCF students who participate use their French and/or Spanish skills; collaborate with their professors, peers, and members of the community; create curricular activities that enhance UCF and Hillcrest students’ academic growth; gain leadership experience in a professional setting; engage in “real life” experiences that benefit them when they seek employment, graduate school acceptance, and certificate and/or scholarship opportunities. Since summer 2016, we have been developing a service-learning option for the UCF-Hillcrest Foreign Language Club. We plan to continue the program with both service-learning and non-service-learning options, increasing the number of UCF student visits to Hillcrest from monthly to bi-monthly (from 4 to 8 per semester). We will also explore the possibility of presenting the program to other elementary schools in the Orlando area.


Title: Transfer Year Experience

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: Jason Dodge (Transfer and Transition Services)

The purpose of the Transfer Year Experience program is to provide intentional, research-based, high-impact programming and services to assist transfer students with their successful transition into the University. Transfer Year Experience is a high-impact practice comprised of wraparound services, learning communities, and co- and extra-curricular engagement opportunities meant to fully integrate first-year transfer students into UCF’s academic and social environments. Similar to other First-Year Experience programs, the purpose of Transfer Year Experience is to: academically and socially integrate students into the UCF community; educate students about UCF academic expectations, policies, and procedures; improve study and learning skills; engage students in self-discovery and career exploration; enable students to adapt to and successfully navigate through the UCF environment; and encourage students to develop meaningful connections with peers and university personnel.


Title: What’s Next for Biomedical Scientists?

Award Type: Program Innovation

Amount Funded: $10,000.00

Project Lead: William Self (Burnett School of Biomedical Science)

Other Members: Alicia Hawthorne (Burnett School of Biomedical Science)

The Burnett School of Biomedical Science offers a number of programs currently that fulfill the guidelines for High-Impact Experiences (HIE). However, these programs do not have the capacity to reach all of our students, as we are limited by class size and GPA. We propose to develop two courses that can aim to fill this gap.

1.) Biomedical Science Careers: This course will help prepare students for a variety of careers. We will explore these options by identifying skill sets and training necessary for each of the careers through searching job postings, practicing interviewing skills and a three-minute elevator talk, networking techniques, developing a strong resume and personal statement, and formulating an individual development plan (IDP) to evaluate current skills and create a plan for attaining the desired career.

2.) Explorations in Biomedical Research: This 3-credit course will be a combined exploration of research seminars across campus (minimum attendance of 10 seminars) and a ‘journal club’ type of course where a faculty member will teach students how to do a literature review, how to properly review a research publication in life science journals, and how to critique a research paper.



2017 Enhancement Awards:

Title: Career PREP (Psychology Readiness Enhancement Program)

Award Type: Enhancement

Amount Funded: $3,500.00

Project Lead: Lynn Hansen (Career Services)

Other Members: Clint Bowers (Psychology), Jason Smith (Experiential Learning), Gian-Karlo Alvarez (Career Services)

The purpose of the expanded Career PREP (Psychology Readiness Enhancement Program) is to continue to educate prospective and current psychology students on major(s), career outlooks and salaries, and to expand these resources to UCF online and mixed-mode students. These programs will include information sessions, employer panels, webinars, and workshops, which will be both live streamed and made available for download.


Title: Developing Culturally Competent Hospitality Leaders for Global Opportunities

Award Type: Enhancement

Amount Funded: $3,500.00

Project Lead: Sheila Vargas (Career Services)

Other Members: Fazal Jameer (Study Abroad), Jessica Wickey (Rosen Professional Internships)

This project aims to encourage students from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management to participate in international experiences and study abroad opportunities, to be exposed to cultures outside of the US, and to understand and appreciate diversity. Through the creation of marketing materials (both in print, through the use of pictures and images) and the development of workshops promoting cultural competence and other cultural topics, we aim to motivate students to learn more about the opportunities that exist to better preparing them to live and work in an increasingly global industry. We want to encourage the students to think big and to see opportunities beyond the local area, state, and even country.


Title: Faculty Handbook of Classroom Activities and Assignments Connecting Course and Program Learning Outcomes with Career Readiness

Award Type: Enhancement

Amount Funded: $3,500.00

Project Lead: Susan Jardaneh (English)

Other Members: Alisha Janowsky (Psychology), Anna Turner (Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning)

This project focuses on developing a faculty handbook of assignments, assessments, and instructor commentary/reflection on assignments that put into practice some of the major attributes and skills employers are looking for in college graduates, such as the ability to work in groups/teams, leadership, communication (written and oral), and problem-solving skills. The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning will solicit instructors to submit assignments that have been or could be adapted to focus on learning outcomes involving some of the major attributes valued by employers. Additionally, face-to-face workshops hosted by the FCTL would be developed and led by some of the creators of the assignments with the focus on how to implement the assignment, adaptations to the assignment, and possible interdisciplinary collaborations on assignments.


Title: From the Armchair to the Office: Shedding Light on Our Students’ Variety of Career Options

Award Type: Enhancement

Amount Funded: $3,500.00

Project Lead: Christian Ravela (Philosophy)

Other Members: Luis Favela (Philosophy)

This project aims to build an online course that provides information and activities to help majors envision potential career paths for their degree and hone their capacity to identify and articulate the professional skills that they gain from coursework. This course would be composed of multiple modules that will be applicable to all programs in a department. Accordingly, modules will splinter off into program-specific resources as well as career-specific resources, such as applying to: graduate school, non-profit sector employment, government sector employment, and private sector employment. Beyond professionalization, these modules will also provide information and activities to reflect on both the civic dimensions of professionalization and the civic value of professional skill sets.


Title: Innovation of Online Training Program with the Implementation of High-impact Integrative Learning Structure for the Hospitality Faculty

Award Type: Enhancement

Amount Funded: $3,500.00

Project Lead: Murat Kizildag (Hospitality Services)

Other Members: Nan Hua, Ahmet Bulent Ozturk (Hospitality Services), Baiyun Chen, Beth Nettles (Center for Distributed Learning).

This project aims to extend Center for Distributed Learning’s (CDL) essential resources and tools in ways that hospitality and tourism faculty can benefit from and utilize, with a specifically tailored online faculty training program based on both discipline-specific knowledge and theories and the core dynamics of the hospitality and tourism industry. The crux of this project focuses on enhancing undergraduate student learning outcomes by implementing high-impact integrative learning and teaching strategies. This proposal specifically aims to create course development training programs online with a focus on discipline-specific integrative learning strategies and experiences for hospitality and tourism courses, with specific attention to curricular and co-curricular experiences and career development. Further, our integrative learning initiative is committed to building knowledge about the depth of student learning that results from participation in these integrative opportunities.


Title: Interdisciplinary Curating and Museum Studies Minor

Award Type: Enhancement

Amount Funded: $3,500.00

Project Lead: Barry Mauer (English)

Other Members: Keri Watson, Melissa Geppert, Ilenia Colon Mendoza, Molly Reilly (SVAD), Jon Venecek, David Benjamin, Carrie Moran (Libraries), Connie Lester, Scot French, Caroline Cheong (History)

The Interdisciplinary Curating and Museum Studies Minor brings together faculty from the School of Visual Arts and Design, the History Department, English Department, Texts and Technology Ph.D. program, and the John C. Hitt Library to prepare students for careers in museums, historical societies, and archives, and to work with artistic, cultural, or historical materials. It provides training for professional skills in the selection, conservation, interpretation, and exhibition of collections. Our program will give special attention to cross-cultural analysis of exhibit design, and to the pedagogical dimensions of archival and curatorial theory and practice. Our program will “help students develop transferable knowledge and cross-cutting skills throughout their time at UCF” (QEP Goals). Curating collaboratively, across disciplines or with community organizations, provides students greater opportunities for “Metacognition & Self-Advocacy: Creating or improving opportunities for students to reflect upon, assess, and describe the knowledge and skills that they have acquired through their integrative learning experiences so that they can leverage these skills as they face ‘what’s next’ after UCF” (QEP Goals).


Title: Interdisciplinary Florida Review, Phase 2

Award Type: Enhancement

Amount Funded: $3,500.00

Project Lead: Lisa Roney (English)

Other Members: Natalie Underberg-Goode (SVAD Digital Media), Keri Watson (SVAD Visual Arts), Katherine Shults (SVAD Film), Nathan Holic (Writing & Rhetoric).

The Florida Review is UCF’s national/international literary magazine, which provides one of the strongest real-world academic-work experiences anywhere within the College of Arts and Humanities by giving undergraduate (and graduate) students hands-on work on a professional publication, including training and experience with editorial selection processes; proofreading, copyediting, and fact checking skills; layout and production techniques; marketing and fundraising; and professional office conduct and management. Phase 2 of this project intends to extend opportunities to more students. We will continue this expansion of interdisciplinarity and student opportunities with Aquifer, the newly established online sister magazine to The Florida Review. Our expectation is that by 2018, we will have taken Aquifer several steps further toward becoming one of the most innovative and interdisciplinary online arts magazines in the country, and that we will have extended considerable opportunities to UCF undergraduates to participate in this professional endeavor.


Title: UCF Adaptive Community Project

Award Type: Enhancement

Amount Funded: $3,500.00

Project Lead: Megan Sherod (Psychology)

Other Members: Janet Whiteside (Communication Sciences & Disorders), Patrick Pabian, Jennifer Tucker, Rick Beato (Health Professions), Derick Brown (Academic Services for Student Athletes)

The mission of the UCF Adaptive Community Project is to make sports and performing arts more accessible to members of the Orlando community with physical and neurocognitive disabilities. We propose three components to this project: 1) adaptive sports (e.g., adaptive volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and adaptive softball); 2) a choir comprised of individuals with aphasia and other communication disorders; 3) adaptive community theater and improvisation for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), stroke, communication disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, brain tumor, neurodevelopmental disorders, and movement disorders. The intent of this project is two-fold: 1) to provide on-campus service learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in psychology, health sciences, physical therapy, communication sciences, engineering, education, performing arts, and athletics; and 2) to offer on-campus inclusive activities in which all members of the Orlando community who have survived a neurological injury can participate.


Title: Women in STEM: Aim Higher

Award Type: Enhancement

Amount Funded: $3,500.00

Project Lead: Jonathan Hall (School of Teaching, Learning and Leadership)

Other Members: William Blank, Jessica Carter (Career Services), Melissa Dagley (Center for Initiatives in STEM), Malcolm Butler (School of Teaching, Learning and Leadership)

The Women in STEM: Aim Higher program aims to continue to encourage women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) fields by informing them of the wide range of STEM-related academic and career opportunities. This program will facilitate connections between participants, successful corporate and industry female professionals, UCF faculty, and STEM-focused student support services. Phase II of the project will include professionals that evenly represent all STEM career fields, including mathematics and computer sciences. We will also present this program at regional and national conferences and disseminate knowledge gained by implementing the program through research studies. By accomplishing these goals, planners of the “Women in STEM: Aim Higher” program hope to inspire a vision of success to help women overcome issues and challenges pervasive in STEM fields.