Applied Learning

Funded Initiatives

AL-Logo-transparent-01.pngThe Office of Applied Learning provides several funding opportunities to support the development of new and innovative applied learning experiences across campus. More details about each funded initiative and the application process are included below.  

All funding opportunities can be applied to via InfoReady, which is a UNCW-supported software system that centralizes funded research opportunities in order to make it easier to discover and apply to both internal and external funding opportunities.    

The Office of Applied Learning is excited to announce the RFPs for 2 funding opportunities available to faculty and staff to support high-impact applied learning experiences. All applications are due by Friday, October 15, 2021 at 5 PM.

General information about InfoReady can be access via SPARC’s website. To apply for internal funding opportunities, including those listed below, visit the following links to InfoReady.  

Applied Learning Pedagogy Initiatives
-  Provide funding for up to $2500 for a single applied learning project. Applications should reflect the use of innovative applied learning experiences. Proposals from project leads who have not been previously funded by AL will be prioritized for funding.
Support for Undergraduate Research & Creativity Awards (SURCA) -  Provide funding for up to $5000 for a single project that is focused on supporting undergraduate research and/or creativity. Funds are provided by the Honors College and Center for the Support of Undergraduate Research & Fellowships (CSURF) in the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

Pedagogy Initiatives  

Pedagogy initiatives provide up to $2500.00 of support for the development of a new and/or innovative applied learning experience. These initiatives are typically awarded to projects occurring within a course or initiative that take place within a single semester. Funds can be used to support faculty, staff or student stipends, or to support supplies or travel needed to complete the experience.  

Pedagogy Initiatives are awarded in both the fall and spring semesters and can support initiatives taking place during any semester (fall, spring, or summer). Pedagogy Initiatives are intended to fund new and/or innovative programs that can be sustained beyond the initial period of funding. Applications from faculty and staff members who have not been previously funded are given priority consideration for funding.  

Deadlines for Pedagogy Initiatives


Fall Request for Proposals  

Spring Request for Proposals  

RFP Opens  

September 1  

February 1  

Applications Due  

October 15  

March 22  

Awards Announced  

November 15  

April 15  

Spring & Summer 2021 Funded Projects

Project Name

Principal Investigator


Business Success in the Oyster Economy: Video Education Program  


Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Internship  


Office of Student Learning and Engagement

Escape Room: Journey to Patient Safety  

Thompson & Lane  


Healthy NC Fellowship Program: Building Student Leaders in Health Equity  


College of Health and Human Services

Hip-Hop in ILM  



Interdisciplinary Applied Artificial Intelligence Initiative  

Dogan & Gulustan  

Computer Science

Legacies of Protest: Connecting Historical and Contemporary Dissent in Wilmington, North Carolina  


Sociology and Criminology

Linking Geospatial Technology with Local Government Planning  


Earth and Ocean Sciences

Multimedia Approaches to Autobiographical Documentary  


Film Studies

Participatory and Inclusive Document Design  



Social Work Student Collaboration with Haitian NGOs on Transition to Adulthood Programming  


Social Work

Virtual Reality and Creating Virtual Space for Interdisciplinary STEAM Projects for Teacher Education  


Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle, Literacy, and Special Education

Using a Handheld Dynamometer to Increase Competence in Athletic Training Students Ability to Objectively Evaluate Strength

Cotellessa & Schroeder   School of Applied Health and Human Sciences

Work with Graduate Students in Satellite Monitoring of Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom Abundance, Frequency, and Seasonal Trend in Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds  




Visions in a Box  


Film Studies 

Strategic Initiatives  

Strategic Initiatives provide up to $10,000.00 of support per year for 3 years for a total of $30,000.00. These initiatives are awarded to projects that develop an interdisciplinary and/or interprofessional approach to applied learning that integrates multiple courses and/or experiences. Funds can be used to support faculty, staff or student stipends, or to support supplies or travel needed to complete the experience.  

Strategic Initiatives are awarded in the spring semester only for work to begin in the next semester (summer or fall). Strategic Initiatives are intended to support collaborative teams of faculty and/or staff members who are seeking to scale applied learning initiatives beyond a singular course or experience. Projects funded through a Strategic Initiatives grant are strongly encouraged to seek external funding to sustain their projects beyond the 3 years of funding provided through this RFP.    

Strategic Initiatives RFP and Award Timeline  

  • RFP Opens February 1  
  • Applications Due March 22  
  • Awards Announced April 15  

Currently Funded Projects  

Year 3 Projects: funded from 2018-2021  

iTall : Impacting Teaching & Learning Leadership in STEM Classrooms  
PIs: William Sterrett, Dennis Kubasko , Angie Reid-Griffin, Steven Hooker, Kerry Robinson, Ginger Rhodes, and Andrew Ryder (WCE: Educational Leadership & ITFSE)  

Prior to the iTall initiative, students in two education programs focused on principal-preparation and teacher-preparation, respectively, did not work together – nor did the faculty – in any instructional or clinical setting. Research and current educator preparation standards and evaluation processes encourage the practice of principals and teachers working together to improve student learning. This initiative brings together the principal-preparation and the teacher-preparation programs by providing the mechanism for MSA students to utilize observation protocols in the secondary STEM fields and provide feedback in a two-way dialogue that improves communication and collaboration between the K-12 principal preparation (MSA) program and the teacher-preparation program.  

Portable Nutrition Lab  
PIs: Amelia Huelskamp & Jordan Weber (SHAHS)  

As the Physical Education and Health (PEH) program takes steps to strengthen our teacher candidates' abilities to plan and implement more effective, standards-based health education in diverse settings, resources are needed to model best teaching practices, and to provide our future educators with opportunities to develop their pedagogy. Local K-12 students typically have infrequent access to health education, resulting in limited quality and availability of health education field placements. Therefore, the most sustainable and utilitarian solution is to integrate applied learning experiences into both new and existing coursework with the help of a portable set of tools that can turn any indoor or outdoor space into an instant health education teaching lab. The Portable Nutrition Lab (PNL) can be used on the UNCW campus to strengthen existing programming, such as the "I Can Do It" program, which provides adapted physical education to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We can also transport the PNL to local schools, parks, community gardens, senior centers, recreation centers, or any other location where PEH majors can provide nutrition and fitness education to the community.  

Year 2 Projects: funded from 2019-2022  

Environmental Injustice and the Impact on Public Health  
PIs: Sabrina Cherry and Stephanie Smith (SHAHS)  

Navassa residents have been concerned about health problems that have affected families for over 40 years and could possibly be related to this exposure, for example cancer, kidney disease, asthma, low-birth weight newborns. The challenge has been that NC state-conducted Public Health Assessments were not able to establish causality between the contaminants and the reported health conditions, leaving Navassa residents frustrated and mistrusting of the government entities involved in the site clean-up. Therefore, this project leverages faculty, study and community resources from Navassa – including the Town Planner, Barnes Sutton – the School of Nursing, the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences, the (Medical Anthropologist), the English Department, and New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) Physician Group to collect family health histories in hopes of developing preliminary data about the health impacts of living and working in the area.  

Making the Link : A Model for Embedding Community-Based Research across the Curriculum (CRAC)  
PIs : Kristen DeVall, Jennifer Vanderminden, Julia Waity, and Christina Lanier (CAS : Sociology-Criminology)  

This initiative is designed to provide sociology and criminology students with multiple opportunities to engage in community-based research with a community partner.  

The CRAC model involves the strategic integration of specific components of a community-based research project into courses at the 200-, 300-, and 400-levels of the sociology and criminology curricula. The first iteration of CRAC model implementation involve s the Wilmington Police Department (WPD) as the community partner organization. This three-year scaffolded, community-based research project (titled “Social Determinants of Crime”) focus es on WPD’s District 3 jurisdiction. We believe that this model can be exported beyond our department/discipline to include any discipline and involve any community partner.  

Interdisciplinary Minority Student Research Groups (IMSRG)  
PIs: Josalin Hunter-Jones, Kris Hohn & Alicia Sellon (Social Work), Sabrina Cherry (SHAHS), Anka Roberto (Nursing), and Addie Sayers-China (CAS: English)  

The practice of mentoring underrepresented minority students at UNCW to engage in independent research, as well as to pursue presentation and publication endeavors, is a unique opportunity. Th is project supports the development of an Interdisciplinary Minority Student Research Group (IMSRG) with 3 goals: (1) provide an opportunity for minority students to gain research mentorship via faculty with an interest in serving these communities; (2) invite students to share their own interests and needs in the context of the university community; and (3) help students gain self-efficacy in conducting research within their own local communities. This project provides applied learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate minority students at UNCW. In summary, our project will create and enhance applied learning experiences and professional development via participation in ongoing faculty research activities, coursework with an intentional focus on underrepresented communities, and the development of independent research projects.  

Year 1 Project: funded from 2020-2023  

Mindful UNCW  
PIs: Beverly McGuire (CAS: Philosophy & Religion), Anne Pemberton (Randall Library), and Jacquelyn Lee (Social Work)  

Mindful UNCW is a campus-wide initiative designed to increase mindfulness practice among students, faculty, and staff across curricular, co-curricular, and workplace spaces. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment with an attitude of curiosity, non-judgment, non-reactivity, and compassion. Research shows that mindfulness can improve cognitive and academic performance with the enhancement of attentional and processing skills, improve mental and psychological well-being, decrease stress, anxiety, and depression, improve emotional regulation and lead to positive mood states. Mindfulness based pedagogy supports instructors’ capacity to both practice and teach mindfulness effectively, and it can also improve classroom climate.  

Student Undergraduate Research & Creativity Awards (SURCA)  

SURCA provides funding to enhance scholarly activity opportunities for faculty-mentored undergraduate research or creative scholarship. Faculty members are encouraged to develop and submit applications that involve currently enrolled undergraduate students in research and creative activities. Enhancing undergraduate scholarly activity is the primary priority for these awards, whether faculty apply to involve students in their own work or to support independent projects. These awards are administered jointly by the Office of Applied Learning and Center for Student Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CSURF).  

SURCA are awarded twice annually to support projects implemented in the spring and summer, respectively. Faculty members can receive funding for only 1 SURCA award during a calendar year. Students who participate in SURCA-funded projects are expected to present their work as part of an annual poster presentation event hosted by the Honors College.  

Special Calls for Funding  

The Office of Applied Learning has collaborated with multiple units to support special calls for funding in response to specific circumstances. In fall 2018, Hurricane Florence warranted a special call for mini-grants to utilize applied learning as one approach to accommodate for lost instructional time. A total of $21,000 for 42 projects was funded in a collaborative effort between CTE/CFL, Undergraduate Studies, and Applied Learning to support instructors’ efforts to quickly adapt. This effort was nationally recognized in a Chronicle of Higher Education article in December 2018.    

When COVID-19 began affecting university operations in spring 2020, the Office of Applied Learning again collaborated with multiple units to fund COVID-19 Adaptation mini-grants aimed at supporting the shift of applied learning experiences from face-to-face to hybrid or online formats. Two pools of funding were awarded for projects in spring 2021: one that focused on general applied learning experiences and another funded in collaboration with the Office of International Programs (OIP) that supported the development of virtual exchange programs.

Spring 2021 COVID-19 Adaption Mini-grants recipients

Spring 2021 COVID-19 Adaptation Mini-Grants : General Applied Learning  

Project Title  

PI s  


Applied Learning Grant Covid and Internships 



Campus Life Marketing Internship 


Campus Life  

Creating a Virtual Lab Manual for Human Growth and Development 



Determining the Role of Childhood Trauma in Depression and Suicidal Ideation 



Development of Virtual Applied Learning Modules for Honors Work in Marine Ecology 



Developing Social Media Marketing Campaigns for UNCW Departments 



The Effect of Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on Symptoms of Avoidant Coping and Substance Use 



Engaging MPA Students in the Future of Parks and Land use in Brunswick County 



Immersive Community Service Experience 



Shifting from Interview to Literary Performances in COM 413 



Structural and Functional Changes in the Pathobiome of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursipos truncatus) throughout a Usual Mortality Event 



Using Tree Rings to Learn about Past Wildfires and Inform Land Management 



Spring 2021 COVID-19 Adaptation Mini-Grants: Virtual Exchange Programs Award Recipients

Spring 2021 COVID-19 Adaptation Mini-Grants: Virtual Exchange Programs  

Project Title  

PI s  


Adaptation of Applied Learning Activities in SWK 321 for Online Format 



Building Synchronous Interaction with Polish Universities 



Poetry Translation Exchange 



A Student-led International Studies Event Series 



A Virtual Exchange Program: Building International Learning Bridges 

Gulustan CSC