2017-18 Williams Instructional Fund Recipients

Reconstructing Color

Vera Keller, associate professor of history, Clark Honors College

This project, part of a new Clark Honors College seminar on Color in World History, will highlight historical techniques and meanings of color. It will include a visit and public lecture by Marie-France LeMay, a conservator at Yale University Library who specializes in reconstructing historical recipes for inks and pigments. LeMay will bring the Traveling Scriptorium, a teaching resource showcasing the raw ingredients for colors used in illuminated medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. The Traveling Scriptorium, which has never before left Yale, will inform efforts to create a similar teaching resource at UO.

The Catalyst Journalism Project

Nicole Dahmen, assistant professor; Brent Walth, assistant professor; Kathryn Thier, instructor; School of Journalism and Communication

The Catalyst Journalism Project brings together investigative reporting and solutions journalism to spark action and response to Oregon’s most perplexing issues. Investigative reporting identifies social problems and names the people in power who should be held accountable, while solutions journalism is a rigorous and fact-driven approach to reporting credible solutions to societal problems. By combining the two methods, journalists can show the community how to solve problems often dismissed as intractable. Students involved in The Catalyst Journalism Project will learn how to combine these reporting methods, preparing them to become leaders as journalism seeks new ways of engaging audiences who have lost trust in the news media.

Enhancing Experiential Learning: The Archaeology of Wild Foods

Madonna Moss, professor, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences

Williams Council funding is supporting the re-visioning of the new 125-person course, The Archaeology of Wild Foods (ANTH 248). The course raises awareness of how much we take for granted about the agricultural origins of food today, while many indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska still depend on wild foods. In this course students learn about those Northwest wild foods and their importance to Native Americans, First Nations, and Alaska Natives. Moss is using principles of backward design and scientific teaching to develop lectures with more student interaction and work with the Many Nations Longhouse to set up laboratory exercises and demonstrations that reflect the multi-cultural content of the material.

Leverage Mobile Technology to Help Teach Non-Science Majors

Andrew Karduna, professor, Department of Human Physiology, College of Arts and Sciences

Biomechanics has the ability to excite and engage students in science, because it allows for a study of the movement of their own body. This project will take advantage of the enormous sensor and computing technology contained within the smartphones to develop labs for a biomechanics class for non-science majors. This is a crucial component of the class, since best practices in science education call for active learning to increase student retention and success.

The Study Group Initiative

Randy Sullivan, lecture demonstrator, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Arts and Sciences

The Study Group Initiative (SGI) is an innovative program to catalyze freshman learning outside of the classroom at the University of Oregon. The goal of SGI is to get freshman students at the University of Oregon into effective course-specific study groups with other students in their residence hall. SGI will use trained peer facilitators and a custom web interface to help students form and find study groups that work for them. Research has shown that by far the most effective way of mastering knowledge and skills is "re-teaching" it. That is why study groups are so effective; they provide an environment where students can "re-teach" the material to each other in a relatively risk-free environment. Also, the residence halls are an effective incubator to initiate cultural change at a university. This initiative has the potential to transform the "dorm" culture into a learning community. The program will run in the Walton South and North residence halls in collaboration with the student life coordinators and resident assistants.

Sustainable Invention Immersion Week

Kate Harmon, instructor, Lundquist College of Business, and Julie Haack, senior instructor II, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Arts and Sciences

Sustainable Invention Immersion Week is a one-week, co-curricular summer entrepreneurial boot camp for students that integrates sustainability at the point of invention. The program asks interdisciplinary student teams to ideate on an environmental problem to solve while providing students with a framework for assessing the potential impacts on human health and the environment of their ideas and then show them how to use the principles of green chemistry to minimize those impacts early in the ideation and development process while also building a ‘green’ business model around their project. The boot camp is the first-step toward building a wider campus ‘Community of Practice’ around sustainable invention which will allow students to connect to resources, mentorship, competitions and funding sources to further their sustainable venture.  Sustainable Invention Immersion Week is a collaborative program sponsored by the University of Oregon's Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship and Tyler Invention Greenhouse with partners from the School of Journalism and Communication, the Department of Product Design and the Center for Sustainable Business Practices.

Wolves: Conversations in Conservation and Controversy, an Interdisciplinary Field Course

Peg Boulay, senior instructor I, and Kathryn Lynch, instructor, Environmental Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences

The Environmental Studies Program trains students in creative problem solving, critical thinking and responsible citizenship. Environmental Studies and Science majors gain a strong understanding of current environmental problems; the underlying social, economic and ecological causes; and potential solutions from interdisciplinary viewpoints. Environmental Studies majors are required to take an interdisciplinary capstone course in which they draw upon and synthesize the full range of their academic and personal experiences. The Williams Fund Instructional Grant supports the creation of a new field-based, publically-engaged interdisciplinary capstone course. We will use wolves as a lens to examine the interplay of ecology, sociology and policy in complex, controversial environmental issues.