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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Six Earn 2006 SU Faculty Mentor Awards

SALISBURY, MD---From simplifying the peer review process and providing online tutorials to strengthening research skills and giving students more opportunities for classroom input, programs researched by this year’s Salisbury University Faculty Mentor Awards are expected to benefit students and faculty at SU and beyond.

This year’s recipients are Drs. Dustin Chambers and Kathleen Wright in the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, Drs. Chrys Egan and Natalie Hopson in the Charles R. and Martha N. Fulton School of Liberal Arts, Susan Brazer of Blackwell Library, and Melissa Thomas of Teaching and Learning Resources. Awards of up to $3,500 are given to allow faculty to advance their research.

Chambers will use his award to develop an online system that will allow students to submit rough drafts and revisions of term papers to a dedicated web site, which in turn are evaluated by classmates. This peer review system will hone students’ writing skills by increasing their editing experience, will reduce faculty workloads and ultimately should produce better final drafts. Chambers is working with Dr. Sophie Wang of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department to transfer his prototype to a Windows-based system.

Wright is also using her award for an online project, developing Web-based tutorials for students in her information classes. Once lessons are taught, students will be able to access these tutorials via the Internet, offering them an additional tool to enhance their understanding of certain topics. Wright found similar tutorials helpful when researching her dissertation.

Egan and Brazer will use their award to pilot classroom research sessions for the communication senior seminar “Speaking of Sexuality.” Through the program, students will learn library research skills in the classroom, then use what they have learned in completing projects for the course. At the same time, Egan hopes students will learn more about themselves and be able to offer their observations to fellow students in the form of a capstone presentation, as well as the creation of a “student sexuality reader” that could be edited for professional publication as part of the Faculty Mentor Award.

Hopson and Thomas will use their award to pilot an in-classroom response system through the use of “clickers” that will allow all students to answer hypothetical and opinion-related questions without exposing their individual responses to the rest of the class. Through the system, already in use at many schools including the University of Maryland and University of Delaware, professors may check their students’ grasp of academic concepts and even track responses throughout the semester. Hopson hopes this pilot program leads to the recommendation of a universitywide system that would allow students to purchase a “clicker” during their freshman year and use it for all classes during their time at SU.

Presented by the Faculty Development Committee and Teaching and Learning Resources (TLR), the awards encourage and financially supports projects that aim to enhance instruction and learning at SU.

“It is a think tank for faculty,” said Dr. Alice Bahr, dean of libraries and instructional resources. “The goal is to encourage faculty to rethink the learning process.”

Mentors use their projects to develop ground-breaking techniques that can be used in multiple disciplines. The application deadline for the next Mentors Award is April 1, 2007. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the TLR Web site at www.salisbury.edu/library/tlr/mentors/mentors.htm.



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