Campus News

September 20, 2010

Grants, creative teaching a good FIT

Professor Angelika Bammer (above), along with Professor Anna Grimshaw, earned a FIT grant for explorations in interdisciplinary scholarship.

A new grant program from the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE) rewards pedagogically and technologically creative teaching and offers faculty a chance to collaborate across departments and schools.

The Fund for Innovative Teaching (FIT) has “opened the door” for Kevin Karnes, associate professor of music history, who is among the first 22 FIT grant recipients. The grant will allow Karnes to team up with Peter Hoeyng, associate professor of German Studies, to teach a spring course on “Jewish Modernities: Music, Literature, and Cultural Politics.”

CFDE awards grants from $500 to $3,000 toward undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate courses that pilot new pedagogical methods, maximize interdisciplinary learning and naturally fit within the existing Emory curriculum. The funding supports a host of activities, such as recruiting visiting speakers, enlisting student transcriptionists and hiring mock patients.

“We were amazed at the quality of proposals,” says CFDE Director Laurie Patton, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Early Indian Religions. “The grants are like microfinancing. People begin to really see what’s possible with small amounts of money. Part of our mission is to build an intellectual community.”

Held every spring, the grant competition is open to full-time faculty who agree to attend a teaching seminar to share their innovations with fellow grantees and produce a report at the end of the semester outlining specific learning outcomes and plans for future funding.  The next deadline for applications will be announced early next year.

“It’s a great opportunity to see the wide range of pedagogical creativity at Emory,” says Donna Troka, CFDE assistant director.

Maureen Joyner, assistant professor of emergency medicine, will use her FIT grant to offer hands-on learning for fourth-year medical students in their emergency medicine rotation.  Students will interact with patient actors and mannequins who simulate symptoms from pneumonia to heart murmurs. As a result, they will gain valuable experience applying their skills in a clinical setting, Joyner says.

Students interested in observing the subtle nuances of Chinese culture from the source will enjoy the soon-to-be-revamped “Chinese Beyond Emory” podcast series for Emory on iTunes U, by Wan-Li Ho, senior lecturer in Chinese. Ho conducted interviews of everyday people in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, covering such topics as food, shopping, schools and architecture, and supplemented the materials with vocabulary lists and analytical exercises. The podcasts have exceeded 113,000 downloads since they went live last May, and Ho plans to use the FIT grant to add units on environmental and animal protection issues.

“Podcasting makes the material more accessible to students,” she says. “This is content-based language teaching to broaden their view.”  

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Related Information

  • What other ways are FIT grants supporting innovative teaching at Emory? Visit the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence website to see a full list of 2010 FIT grant recipients.