February 16, 2015

Start-Up Grants at Ball State University

Start-Up Grants at Ball State University
By: Holly Rittenhouse

From the revival of antiquated art forms to the intersection of theatre with social justice, Ball State University’s Start-Up Program is jump-starting an array of scholarly initiatives for first-year faculty members.

Ball State’s internal grant Start-Up Program enables new faculty members to launch their research, scholarly studies, and creative endeavors. Each award consists of a competitive one-time grant, up to $3,000, which may be used to purchase supplies, research-related items, and/or travel to conferences or workshops. Only tenure-track faculty members in their first year of employment with Ball State are eligible to apply.

The Sponsored Programs Office would like to congratulate the 2014-2015 recipients of the Start-Up Program awards, including Roza Aceska, Mathematical Sciences, Colleen Balukas, Modern Languages and Classics, Brad Condie, Art, Molly Ferguson, English, Benjamin R. Gibbs, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Shireen Kanakri, Family and Consumer Sciences, Elizabeth Lawrence, History, Kimberly Martell, Special Education, Rebecca Pappas, Dance, Dan Rutherford, Mathematical Sciences, Monte D. Staton, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Jonel Thaller, Social Work, Jon Truitt, Music, and Lu Wang, Educational Psychology. Below are two examples of the first-year faculty initiatives.

Paper Animation: Reviving a Tradition

Bradley Condie, Assistant Professor of Art, is using his Start-Up Grant Award to revive a declining medium – 2D hand drawn animation. While working at Walt Disney Feature Animation, Condie used this medium to animate scenes in popular Disney films such as Brother Bear, Lilo and Stitch, Atlantis, Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Pocahontas
Figure 1

Condie chooses to revitalize this antiquated medium because it is distinctive from other methods. “It offers a unique and specific experience that computer animation mediums do not recreate. It forces you to be thoughtful when drawing, think spatially, and be more creative as an animator,” says Condie. Other former Disney artists share Condie’s mission to save this dying art and are working on a new paper animation film called Hullabaloo.

Condie currently teaches 2D animation classes at Ball State and recognized the need for proper supplies. “Ball State has wonderful digital tools for me and the students to use but, I [did] not have access to many of the antiquated tools and materials that one generally uses in creating traditional hand drawn animation.” Using the supplies purchased with the Start-Up Grant, Condie’s students are helping to revive 2D hand drawn animation and carry on the tradition of this inimitable art form.  

Commemorating Trauma and Human Rights Speech through Contemporary Irish Drama

Molly Ferguson
Dr. Molly Ferguson, Assistant Professor of English, is using her Start-Up Grant Award to research contemporary theatre performances in Ireland. Ferguson will travel to cities such as Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Belfast to study Irish plays as expressions of shared traumas. “Today, emerging playwrights in Ireland are processing collective traumas through initiating public dialogue about issues such as racism, child abuse in the Church, and terrorism,” says Ferguson. “This type of work is at the forefront of postcolonial studies today,” she says, “intersecting national and cultural identity formation with social justice work.”

Ferguson has attended Irish plays in the U.S. and England, but she knows that such art forms lose their authenticity when removed from their home country. “Once they leave Ireland their reception is culturally packaged and delivered for the consumption of a ‘tourist’ audience” says Ferguson. “Viewing these plays at the time of production and assessing their reception by audiences and reviewers will add an important element to my research, for which I have thus far had to rely on secondhand reports,” she says.

“I plan to explore my interest in human rights and conflict resolution in Ireland today, to add research to my claim that Ireland is at the forefront of objection to global imperialism and violence, through the voices of its artists,” says Ferguson. Upon her return, Ferguson plans to publish a journal article on her research and teach an immersive learning course about conflict resolution in Ireland and South Africa.

For further information on Ball State’s Start-Up Program, click here or email aspire@bsu.edu. Find information on additional funding opportunities at www.bsu.edu/spo.

Figure 1: http://fancysomedisneymagic.tumblr.com/post/48126450167/no-more-2d-disney-films-cuts-in-the-animation-2d 

New Learning Innovation Hub for Teacher Training

New Learning Innovation Hub for Teacher Training
By Holly Rittenhouse

Thanks to the Office of Educational Excellence and Steelcase Education Solutions, the Robert Bell Building at Ball State University is about to get a modern makeover. The wall between rooms 108 and 109 will be knocked down, and the new space will be redesigned into a Learning Innovation Hub (LIH) with new furniture and technology from Steelcase Education Solutions. This project is part of the Interactive Learning Space (ILS) Initiative in which TC 414 and TC 412 have already been refurbished with Steelcase products, and BB 109 is in the works to open fall 2015 with new equipment.
Figure 1
The LIH in Robert Bell will include Verb tables with Node chairs, individual whiteboards, Huddle boards, wall whiteboards with short throw projection, an Apple TV, and a Verb instructor’s desk. Gary Pavlechko, Director of Teaching Technology in the Office of Educational Excellence, says that this space “will accommodate our teacher education course enrollments. Inclusive to the room will be furniture and technology that promote active, engaged learning.” 

Gary Pavlechko
The Office of Educational Excellence recognizes the need for an updated teacher-training environment which better aligns with the pedagogy Ball State expects graduates to implement in K-12 classrooms. “Ball State University currently does not have a classroom primarily created for pre-service teachers to develop critical thinking around effective pedagogy for K-12 learners” says Pavlechko. “All too often, our pre-service teachers begin to learn about the practice of teaching while being lectured to – the typical teaching practice found in higher education. This is not the pedagogy we want to see these graduates implementing in the K-12 school environment,” he says. “It would be most important for our pre-service teachers to learn how to teach in an active learning space before they enter their practicum work in the K-12 classroom, as part of the teacher education curriculum.”

Steelcase Education Solutions works with educators and designers to improve the way classrooms function. They design flexible furniture and tools that support active learning. For example, the Verb tables and Node chairs support fast, easy transitions between various teaching modes, such as lecture, discussion, and project work so that class time is best utilized and students can stay engaged without interruption.
Figure 2
The Office of Educational Excellence expects this Learning Hub to accomplish three main objectives. Students of teacher education courses, taught in the Learning Innovation Hub, will…
  • participate in active learning methodologies, and in turn, be able to design active learning curricula, including long-term and short-term activities for K-12 students. 
  • use learning hub technology assets, during active learning experiences, and will be able to design similar activities for K-12 students.
  • participate in active learning curricula that are enhanced by space considerations.
Priority for utilizing the space will be given to “classes that directly affect teacher education and learning how to effectively teach in an active learning space,” says Pavlechko. To teach in the Learning Hub, faculty members must go through the ILS Initiative faculty development program. For further information on teaching in the Learning Innovation Hub or other ILS spaces on campus, click here.

The Office of Educational Excellence anticipates to finish the project and for courses to begin in the Learning Innovation Hub by fall semester 2015.

Figure 1 http://www.steelcase.com/en/products/category/educational/tables/overview/pages/verb.aspx
Figure 2 http://www.steelcase.com/en/products/category/educational/seating/node/pages/node.aspx