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Curriculum and Instruction News

School of Education Grand Challenges: Seed Grants announced

June 17, 2019

The School of Education’s Grand Challenges initiative, which aims to ignite cross-disciplinary innovation, spent much of the 2018-19 academic year focusing on a new Seed Grants competition.

In late May, nine interdisciplinary teams were awarded $75,000 each to grow their ambitious ideas. This project launched with a request for proposals in November 2018, with three separate competitions — one in the arts, one in health, and one in education. 

For much of the spring semester, the Grand Challenges team worked with scholars to pull together interdisciplinary, creative, and impactful Seed Grant proposals that can address critical issues across the arts, health, and education.

Winning Seed Grant initiatives in Education

Tikuyendadi
Project name:
Tikuyendadi: Supporting Expansive Education for Children with Disabilities in Malawi

People involved:  
Nancy Kendall (EPS), Aydin Ball (RPSE), Lori DiPrete Brown (SoHE), Augustine Kanyendula (USAID – Reading for all Malawi), Zikani Kaunda (Institute for Participatory Engagement and Quality Improvement), and Chrissie Thakwalakwa (University of Malawi).

Overview: This project addresses concerns about educational access and quality for children with disabilities, especially in low-income countries. The goal of Tikuyendadi (“Let’s go Together” in Chichewa, Malawi’s national language) is to learn from, and contribute to, government, school, family, community, and disability rights movement efforts in Malawi to support students with disabilities and provide an equal, inclusive, and transformative education for all. 

Urban Indigenous ArtsProject name: Urban Indigenous Arts and Sciences: Creating Educator Professional Development in an Intertribal Context

People involved:  Bruce King (ELPA), Laura Lang (ELPA), Sarah Krauskopf (graduate student, Curriculum and Instruction), Nicky Bowman (WCER), Cheryl Bauer-Armstrong, Rachel Byington, Claire Bjork, and Maria Moreno (Earth Partnership).

Overview: Wisconsin Act 31 requires the teaching of the history, culture, and sovereignty of Wisconsin Native Nations in K-12 public schools. However, teachers currently lack the capacity to teach about Wisconsin Native Nations in urban, intertribal settings where direct connections with tribal lands, staff, and elders are limited, and numerous tribes are represented in one locality. By combining an established curriculum, with an innovative framework for effective educator professional development, this project provides a critical tool to build teacher capacity. 

OurHMoobProject name: Our HMoob American College Paj Ntaub
 
People involved:
Stacey Lee (EPS)Bailey Smolarek and Matthew Wolfgram (WCER), and HMoob American Studies Committee Student Researchers, Freedom Inc.

Overview:  In collaboration with UW-Madison student members of the HMoob American Studies Committee, the proposed community-based participatory action research project will examine the sociocultural, demographic, and institutional factors that influence the college experiences, educational successes, and post-college transitions of HMoob American students (commonly spelled “Hmong Americans”) at UW-Madison. This research draws on the lived experiences of HMoob American college students to examine the themes of trauma, resilience, displacement, and diaspora. 

Winning Seed Grant initiatives in Health


BrainInflammationProject name:
Brain Inflammation in Chronic Multi-Symptom Disease
 
People involved:
Dane Cook (Kinesiology), Bradley Christian (Medical Physics).

Overview: The search for the underlying causes of chronic multi-symptom illnesses (CMIs) is a Grand Challenge in the health fields. With a specific focus of Gulf War Illness, this project uses state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques combined with exercise-induced stress to document the role of neural inflammation in the maintenance and exacerbation of this debilitating illness.

BalanceRehabilitationProject name: Balance Rehabilitation via Robotic training of Foot-Force
 
People involved:
Kreg Gruben (Kinesiology), Peter Adamczyk (Medical Engineering), Jennifer Bartloff (Kinesiology).

Overview: The Grand Challenge addressed by this project is restoring mobility for stroke-affected individuals. Utilizing two complementary robotic rehabilitation devices, the Nottabike and the KIINCE, researchers will aim to correct the root cause of balance disruption following neurological impairment. The proposed project takes a unique approach to understanding human mobility by focusing on the fundamental structure of intact balance control and the underlying deficits caused by neurological impairment.

Association BetweenProject name: The Association Between Poverty, Executive Function, and Early Brain Development

People involved:
Sarah Short (Ed Psych), Rasmus Birn (Medical Physics), Cathi Propper and Roger Mills-Koonce (UNC-Chapel Hill), Michael Willoughby (Research Triangle International).

Overview: Poor cognitive and academic outcomes are well-known consequences for children growing up in poverty. The proposed study is designed to comprehensively assess prenatal and postnatal factors that mediate the association between poverty and brain development. This project will use neuroimaging data to provide valuable insights about when and how the brain is impacted in early development and uncover potential windows of opportunity for targeted interventions that could reduce the income-achievement gap.

Winning Seed Grant initiatives in the Arts


Art-IntegrationProject name:
Arts-integration for Social Emotional Learning
 
People involved:
Kate Corby (Dance), Mariah LeFeber and Mary Patterson (Performing Ourselves), Yorel Lashley (PLACE), Padraic Cassidy (Wadoma). Melinda Trudell (MMSD).

Overview: Arts-integration for Social Emotional Learning (SEL) synthesizes the arts of drum and dance to provide social-emotional learning opportunities or students and professional development for teachers. The project is a collaboration between Drum Power and Performing Ourselves, two programs of the UW Community Arts Collaboratory, and Lowell Elementary School. Through surveys and qualitative interviews, the research team will document the effects of SEL on student development, staff professional development, and outcomes assessment.

These Grand PlacesProject name: These Grand Places
 
People involved:
Tomiko Jones (Art), Omar Poler (SoE), Giri Venkataramanan (Electrical & Computer Engineering), Adena Rissman (Forest & Wildlife Ecology), Emily Arthur (Art), Targol Mesbah (California Institute of Integral Studies), Pireeni Sundaralingam (San Francisco Exploratorium), Lisa Ruth Elliot (Shaping San Francisco).

Overview: These Grand Places is a socially engaged photography-based artistic research project that consists of fabricating a mobile research studio and realizing creative field research on public land. Utilizing on-site residencies to gather information, stories, and visual artifacts, These Grand Places documents the lived experience and connections between land and people. Outcomes include an exhibition and publication to be shared with collaborators and the public through conventional art contexts, educational institutions, civic spaces, and online.

Modeling MovementProject name: Modeling movement-Based Pedagogy for Parkinson Disease into Multiple Craft Disciplines
 
People involved:
Helen Lee (Art)Kristen Pickett (Kinesiology), Sharon Gartland (Occupational Therapy), Brian Kluge (Midwest Clay Project), Sylvie Rosenthal (Independent artist), Marianne Fairbanks (Design Studies).

Overview: This work addresses the Grand Challenge of diversifying the range of therapeutic modalities available to individual with Parkinson Disease. Previous research in glassblowing established pedagogical insight about the psychological, social, and emotional effects of purposeful arts-based interventions. The proposed work extends this inquiry into ceramics, metals, wood, and fibers. Through building dedicated community-based partnerships, this work stands to open innovative professional pathways for craftspeople and future clinicians.

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