10 WSU faculty get grants to improve undergraduate teaching, learning

PULLMAN, Wash. – Ten grants to develop innovative undergraduate teaching strategies have been awarded to Washington State University faculty members from the Pullman and Vancouver campuses.

“The Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning grants support educators’ creativity in fostering student engagement and help to enhance learning in large classroom settings,” said Mary F. Wack, vice provost for undergraduate education. “We are very pleased with the projects this year.”

In their applications, faculty members were challenged to address one of three issues: promoting active learning in large classes, documenting student achievement of intended learning outcomes in lower-division university common requirements (UCORE) courses and integrating sustainability issues into curriculum.

The winners and their project titles are:

• Irom Bimbisar, clinical assistant professor in English in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS): “Multimodality or Learning from Unfamiliar Sources.”

• Lori Carris, associate professor in plant pathology and graduate student coordinator for the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), Richard Zack, professor of entomology and extension specialist, and Laura Lavine, associate professor of entomology: “Integrating Sustainability Issues into UCORE at WSU with a Modular Case Study Template.”

• Karl Olsen, clinical assistant professor of civil engineering in the College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA): “Developing, Implementing and Evaluating Active Learning in Engineering Fluid Mechanics.”

• Joy Egbert, professor of teaching and learning in the College of Education (COE): “Active Sustainable Learning in the Flipped Classroom for Pre-Service Teachers.”

• Patricia Freitag Ericsson, associate professor and director of composition in English in CAS: “Teacher Feedback on Student Composing through Recorded Voice Commentary.”

• Olusola Adesope, assistant professor of educational psychology in COE: “Improve Student Learning in an Introductory Biology Science Course – Integrate SOAR Groups into Large Lecture Courses.”

• Ali Mehrizi-Sani, assistant professor of electrical engineering in CEA: “A Sustainable Electric System with Renewable Resources.”

• Julie Stanton, clinical assistant professor of biology in the School of Molecular Biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM): “Metacognitive Regulation and Student Performance in a Large Introductory Biology Course.”

• Susan Wang, assistant professor of molecular biosciences, and Phil Mixter, clinical associate professor, both in CVM: “The Effect of Active Learning on Microbiology Outcomes.”

• Wei Xue, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at WSU Vancouver: “Multidisciplinary, Collaborative and Hands-on Learning for Next-Generation Engineers in Renewable Energy.”

The Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment was established in 2000 by alumni and friends following the retirement of WSU president Samuel Smith who had led the university for 15 years. The Smith grants are intended to “recognize and reward innovative ideas to enhance learning and teaching at WSU.”


Mary F. Wack, vice provost, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-8044, mwack@wsu.edu

Sean Robertson, communications assistant, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-8070, UCHCCommMar.3@wsu.edu