The Washington State University Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) announced that 15 teams of faculty and staff members received Teaching and Learning Improvement Initiative Grants in amounts up to $15,000 for 2007.

“We are very pleased with the proposals submitted this year that represent commitments to making targeted improvements to lower division and gateway courses,” said Mary Wack, OUE interim director and Honors College dean. “We are also impressed by the colleges’ and departments’ commitments to student success and improved academic quality as indicated by the amount of matching funding that was pledged.”

Grant applicants for 2007 awards were encouraged to “close the loop” on the cycle of improvement by identifying what they expect students to learn; assessing in what ways students are or are not achieving the outcomes of one or more goals; using the evidence to improve instruction or curriculum; and documenting that the change has led to improved learning.

A special focus of the 2007 grant cycle is the improvement of student learning in first-year courses and lower-division math, science, and engineering courses using inquiry-based (open-ended, problem-based) teaching and learning strategies.

Applicants were encouraged also to align department and program learning outcomes with the Six Learning Goals of the Baccalaureate.

Proposals were reviewed by a panel from the advisory board of the WSU President’s Teaching Academy. The topics and recipients of the 2007 Teaching and Learning Improvement Initiative grants are:

“Documenting Improved Student Learning in the Plant and Soil Science Programs,” by Teresa Cerny-Koenig, Catherine A. Perillo, Caroline H. Pearson-Mims, Kathleen M. Williams, Amit Dhingra, Scot Hulbert, John Fellman, Virginia Lohr, Steve Ullrich, Bill Pan, Bill Hendrix, Bill Johnston, Larry Hiller, from the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and/or Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS); and Gary Brown, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, Office of Undergraduate Education.

“A Learning Improvement Initiative for Introductory Statistics,” by J. Richard Alldredge, Department of Statistics, CAHNRS.

“Assessment for Learning: Inquiry-based Assignments to Improve Critical Thinking in the Kinesiology Department,” by Kasee Hildenbrand, Judith Schultz, Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology, College of Education (CED); and Ashley Ater-Kranov, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, OUE.

“Implementation & Evaluation of a Program Designed to Develop Social Capital in Freshman Engineering Students,” by Shane Brown and Karyn Hildreth, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA).

“Development, Implementation, and Assessment of In-Class Peer Tutoring and Learning Modules in Sophomore Engineering Courses,” by Shane Brown and Devlin Montfort, CEE and School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, CEA.

“Preventing Discouragement in First-Year Math Courses: Calculus in Context for pre-Engineering Students,” by Lisa Morris, CEA, and Matthew Hudelson, Department of Mathematics, CSI.

“Freshman Orientation Seminar for Computer Science,” by Carl Hauser and Chris Hundhausen, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, CEA.

“Implementing Information Literacy Education into the Early Undergraduate Experience at WSU,” by Corey Johnson, WSU Libraries.

“Nursing Skills Acquisition through Simulation,” by Angela Starkweather and Suzie Edgren, Intercollegiate College of Nursing.

“The Retention of the Biological Science Student: Where Do They See Themselves in Society 4-10 Years from Now?,” by John Nilson, Gary Thorgaard, and Mary Sanchez Lanier, School of Molecular Biosciences and the School of Biological Sciences, College of Sciences (CSI).

“Integrated Science for Non-Majors: Assessing the Effects of Course Structure, TA Training, and Innovative Teaching Approaches on Student Learning,” by Lisa Carloye, Kirsten Peters, and Chris Hostetler, CSI.

“Increasing Student Engagement in Large-Lecture Science Courses: Using Inquiry-Based Learning to Improve Science Literacy and Critical Thinking,” by Richard Gill and Kurt Wilkie, School of Earth and Environmental Science, CSI.

“Math Solutions: The Impact of Classroom Structure on Teaching and Learning in Pre-Calculus Classes,” by Sandy Cooper and Jo Olson, Department of Mathematics and Department of Teaching and Learning, CSI and CED.

“Development of a Concept Focused, Investigation Driven Laboratory Manual for Introductory Plant Biology Classes,” by Andrew McCubbin and Larry Hufford, School of Biological Sciences, CSI.

“Developing a Model for Alignment, Implementation, and Assessment of Learning Outcomes and Within Programs and Departments,” by Peter Ritson, Science Programs, WSU Vancouver.