1997-1998 Williams Fund Recipients

Chemistry (1997-1998, 1998-1999)
A peer-tutoring project called SUPeR Chemistry introduced by Deborah Exton in the Department of Chemistry.

In 1997, Deborah Exton introduced a new and innovative learning support program for students enrolled in general chemistry. Called SUPeR (Success Utilizing Peer Resources) Chemistry, the program uses undergraduate peer tutors–supervised by departmental faculty members–who offer review sessions to fellow students.

The peer "instructors" are nominated by faculty members based on their performance in the class and are selected through a group interview process. In the first year, nearly 30 percent of all students enrolled in general chemistry took advantage of the sessions; in the second year the participation increased even further with more than 42 percent of the general chemistry students benefiting from the instruction and counsel of their peers.

Funded one-half from the department in its first year, and with an even larger portion of such funds in the second year, the program is now a continuing success funded through the department.

Computer & Information Sciences
A curricular revision, "Tying a Major Together," that links themes and content from several courses - led by John Conery in the Department of Computer and Information Science.

Aware that a growing problem in undergraduate computer science education has been a lack of hands-on programming and problem-solving skills among computer science undergraduate students, John Conery developed and worked with the Department of Computer and Information Science to introduce a "bridge" curriculum within the CIS major that links themes and content across multiple courses. The bridge provides a coherent context for the understanding and knowledge that otherwise might remain artificially segmented.

Based on a small-scale learning community approach, he developed two-credit courses that specifically link these themes and concepts from other courses by involving students in group programming and problem-solving projects.

English (1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000)
An interdisciplinary project, "Writing for the Future," developed by Anne Laskaya, Department of English.

Responding to the writing needs of advanced undergraduate students, theDepartment of English Composition Program and the Center for Teaching Writing proposed a cooperative teaching program. Its aim was to help students successfully negotiate writing situations found within specific disciplines and prepare students for post-baccalaureate jobs and careers.

Several other universities, including Indiana, Minnesota, Cornell, and the University of Washington have recognized the same need and have established successful programs similar to the one made possible at Oregon by the Williams Fund.

Designed for students in their junior and senior years, the pilot program created sound and rigorous writing courses that were attached to and interwoven with advanced subject-area courses. With an emphasis on mutual responsibility of the participating departments and professional schools, the pilot's design included extensive training for teachers assigned to teach the courses.