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Past and Present Funded Projects

Spring 2023

Summer 2023

Fall 2023

Strategic Initiative Cohorts 

Cohort 1 - 2018 to 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.

The 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.

Cohort 2 - 2019 to 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, and low-birthweight 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 (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 (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.
This 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.

Cohort 3 - 2020 to 2023

Mindful UNCW
PIs: Beverly McGuire (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.

Cohort 4 - 2021 to 2024

Coastal Eco Explorers: Mobile Applied Learning Experiences
PIs: Dennis Kubasko, Amy Taylor, Lucas Layman, Tamara Walser, and Jeff Hill
The Coastal Eco Explorer (CEE) project is an applied learning experience across disciplines, impacting environmental science, education, and computer science courses and supporting graduate assistants. This project brings together applied learning experiences in five departments: undergraduate and graduate teacher-preparation students in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Level, Literacy, and Special Education (EEMLS), secondary science education students (grades 9-12) in the Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations, and Secondary Education (ITFSE), undergraduate and graduate students in Department of Environmental Sciences (EVS), mobile applications development students in the Department of Computer Science (CSC), and evaluation students in the Department of Educational Leadership (EDL), by linking together teaching, leadership, content, evaluation, and applied learning experiences.

Community-Based Innovations: Implementing the District C Approach at UNCW
PIs: Jill Waity, Alicia Sellon, Amy Moody, Ashley Wells, and Leah Mayo
Community-Based Innovations is a project designed to provide UNCW and high school students from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to learn new skills and get hands-on experience developing community-based innovations with and for community organizations and to further strengthen university and community connections. These concepts are built on the District C pedagogy model. The District C model is designed to go beyond traditional classroom approaches and provides students with the opportunity to learn skills related to critical analysis and design thinking, work in diverse teams, and solve real problems for local organizations. Trained, certified District C coaches (UNCW faculty, staff, and community partners) facilitate the learning process by working with community organizations (problem providers).

The Healthy Equity Fellowship: A UNCW Bonner Leaders Program
PIs: Ashley Wells, Leah Mayo, Tiffany Erichsen, Cierra Washington, Julia Peck
The Health Equity Fellowship is pioneering the UNCW-based Bonner Leaders Program, a nationally recognized student service-learning model for historically marginalized and first-generation college students. Aptly named the Health Equity Fellowship, this project focuses on improving health equity within the Wilmington community. During Fellowship development, the team will work alongside faculty, staff, students, and community partner(s) to co-develop and facilitate a sustainable model of scaffolded community-engaged applied learning activities. Partnering with the New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s (Novant Health) Health Equity Department will provide student training for implicit bias, request for representation on the advisory committee, and assist with identifying community needs. The Health Equity Department staff will help to ensure that equitable access and effective education remain at the core of our planning, execution, and reflections.

Together we make a Difference: CHHS Initiative for Interprofessional Collaborative Education and Practice
PIs: Julia Peck, Tiffany Erichsen, Ashley Wells, Lorie Sigmon, Robin Cunningham, Steve Zinder
Within the complex, modern healthcare system, evidence maintains that interprofessional collaborative teamwork (e.g. two or more professions working together) is vital to reducing medical error, addressing health inequities, and improving cost, quality, population health, and provider satisfaction. However, professional health and social care education programs remain slow to include the interprofessional collaboration competencies of teamwork, ethics, roles and responsibilities, and communication. This strategic initiative addresses these concerns in three key ways: 1) to provide students with access to high impact, applied learning activities to support our future health and human services workforce to develop interprofessional collaborative (IPC) practice behaviors, these educational activities will be presented on "IPC Days" and also developed and housed in a Canvas IPC course for use by faculty in coursework; 2) to level-up the knowledge, skills and abilities of faculty in the college, and professionals within our partner organizations, to become more comfortable with the interprofessional competency framework and how to facilitate interprofessional, applied learning activities to maximize the learning and development of IPC competencies, this will be achieved with TeamSTEPPS Master training and IPC Day facilitator trainings; and, 3) to enable partnership with practitioners from local health and human services organizations by establishing an IPC Collaborative to work together to develop IPC teaching resources.

Cohort 5 - 2022 to 2025

Uncertainty As Certainty
PIs: Yiyi Yang and Peng Gao
Forecasts of weather and hydrological hazards play an important role in the mitigation of climate-related disasters. However, these scientific predictions involve uncertainty. From political actions to individual decisions, understanding the uncertainty associated with scientific predictions is key to fully reaping the benefits of relevant scientific discoveries to make informed decisions and manage risks. To address such a goal, this project will serve to establish a student-run information center at UNCW that focuses on engaging and informing the local communities about hydrological hazards, climate change, and weather-related sciences in the coastal area. 

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