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First Transformational Change Initiative grants to support four projects

Washington State University faculty have been awarded the university’s inaugural Transformational Change Initiative (TCI) grants for advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) to advance teaching and learning systemwide.

“The four funded projects show a remarkable depth and breadth of creativity in terms of IDEA initiatives,” said Erika Offerdahl, director of the Transformational Change Initiative. “Proposals were reviewed by a selection committee consisting of faculty from different units and campuses within the WSU system. We are pleased the grants will support innovative projects that can be in place for students as early as fall semester.”

The TCI IDEA program was announced in February with applications due in April. They are available to full-time WSU faculty on any campus, and each project’s leadership team must consist of at least two individuals with a full-time faculty member serving as lead PI. Projects can be interdepartmental or intercampus, could take place in summer and/or fall, but must be completed by Dec. 15 with impact reports due in spring 2023. These grants join several recent key WSU priorities and commitments in the provost’s office that promote IDEA. 

TCI IDEA grant recipients for 2022

The program’s inaugural projects, lead principal investigators, and collaborative team members are:

  • Caitlin Bletcher
    Dept. of Human Development at WSU Vancouver
    “HD205 UCORE High-impact DEI Retreat”

    The project will support a four-day retreat for eight faculty from several campuses who are involved with the HD 205: Developing Effective Communication and Life Skills course. The retreat will be on the WSU Pullman campus and give participants tools to implement, reflect on, discuss, and strategize to assess effective teaching, classroom policies, and pedagogy to promote inclusivity and equity in the course. The course is in the “COMM” category of the University Common Requirements (UCORE/general education). The TCI grant project could influence the infusion of IDEA-focused teaching and learning skills into other UCORE classes. Working with Bletcher on the project is Anna Whitehall.
  • Joy Egbert
    Dept. of Teaching and Learning
    “TEACHxWSU ’22: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in Higher Education”

    The first TEACHxWSU will be a one-day program on Oct. 21 for up to 100 instructors, delivered in-person at WSU Pullman and streamed and later available online for others. A keynote speaker and guest experts will discuss UDL, which is a popular framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. WSU programs involved with the TCI IDEA project include the WSU Teaching Academy, The WSU Access Center, and Academic Outreach and Innovation. Working on the project is also Matthew Jeffries.
  • Donald McMahon
    Dept. of Teaching and Learning
    “Including All Cougs with Universal Design for Learning”

    This UDL-centered project involves developing an online certificate program to increase the use of UDL in WSU classrooms and to provide “a common vocabulary for academic instructional innovation and to support our diverse student population.” The certificate will involve a self-paced, asynchronous course available for faculty, instructors, and staff, and include activities demonstrating UDL implementation in courses. The project team will seek input from diverse WSU stakeholders. The project benefits the WSU community, the proposal said, by advancing curriculum innovation using a framework designed to support IDEA. Working on the project team are Michelle Eccles and Wendy Steele.
  • Samantha Solomon
    Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement’s First-Year Programs
    “IDEA-driven Common Reading: Developing a Teaching Guide that Promotes Access to the WSU Common Reading Text”

    The digital, multimodal guide will help faculty and staff who want to incorporate the common reading book into their classes. It will contain an overview of the book’s major themes, and summarize each section, key discussion points, sample cross-disciplinary classroom activities and assignments, and additional resources. It will serve as a source bank for topics and pedagogies relating to IDEA for the WSU community and beyond and be accessible from the Common Reading website. The guide will be based on the 2022-23 book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Working with Solomon on the project are Karen Weathermon and Corey Johnson.

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