Haeger unveils Innovation Fund recipients

A dozen “transformative” project proposals are being awarded a combined $1 million in one-time federal stimulus dollars as part of NAU President John Haeger’s Innovation Fund.

The proposals were in response to Haeger’s challenge last fall for individuals and departments across campus to redesign undergraduate education at NAU to improve student performance and address needs of the 21st century.

“All the applicants should be congratulated for their ideas,” Haeger said, adding that a number of themes emerged during this process, such as curricular redesign, sustainability initiatives, global engagement and major efforts to enhance student success. “Clearly innovation was at top of mind in these proposals. I would like to see this level of engagement continue as we work to become a more efficient university with a smoother pathway for degree completion.”

Nearly 80 proposals from more than 125 individuals were submitted and evaluated on their likely impact on NAU’s student retention and graduation rates based on innovation in academic programs, business processes and university governance.

The proposals being funded and their key personnel are:

Climate Science and Solutions: Funding TBD
Develop integrated and interdisciplinary academic programs addressing global climate change.
Submitted by Tom Acker, Paul Flikkema, Bruce Hungate, Matthew Hirteau, Darrell Kaufman and George Koch
Comprehensive Redesign of Entry-Level Mathematics and Statistics:
$175,000 initial funding; additional ongoing funding
Improve student outcomes in entry-level mathematics and statistics courses.
Submitted by Janet McShane and Karen Pugliesi
Bioinformatics Curriculum Development: Funding TBD
Develop faculty expertise and leadership for a bioinformatics curriculum.
Submitted by Paul Keim, Eck Doerry, Maribeth Watwood and Gery Allan
Curricular Design Innovation: $130,000
Improve curricular design and eliminate redundancies and prerequisites in degree programs. Increase flexibility and efficiency of student progression. Coordinate and emphasize student outcomes, not course-taking.
Submitted by Karen Pugliesi
Innovation for Curricular Design: $100,000
Fund curricular innovation proposals promoting meaningful innovation in the colleges.
Provost Liz Grobsmith will choose projects that align with academic planning.
Transforming STEM Education: $100,000 TBD
Transform a current required first-year course (lecture and lab) to a handheld smart device delivery mode.
Submitted by Paul Jagodzinski
Proximity Cards: $85,500
Foster student success by establishing attendance as an institutional expectation for the first year through proximity card readers at the doors of all classrooms with a capacity of 50 or more. Submitted by David Bousquet
Sustainability, Energy Savings, Climate and the Environment: $75,000
Jane Kuhn and Rich Bowen will work with sustainability proposal applicants to develop a coherent plan to ensure integration and long-term effectiveness in one of the university’s key strategic goals. Proposals that may be part of this plan were submitted by Shelly Silbert, Stephen Mead, Janice Ann Kerata, Heather Farley, DeJa Walker and Paloma Ibanez.
Redesign Master’s of Educational Leadership: $75,000
Redesign current programs to market to students looking for alternatives to for-profit programs.
Submitted by Gary Martin and Michael Schwanenberger
Faculty Reporting: $50,000-$100,000
Easier, paperless, comprehensive access for faculty vitae, accomplishments, grant activity, workload, etc.
Submitted by associate deans, Gypsy Denzine, Dan Kain and Kevin Johnson
Global Education Task Force: $26,000
Facilitate the implementation of the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on Global Education,
including developing customized training materials, workshops and pilot program faculty teams.
Submitted by Harvey Charles

Also given the go-ahead was a proposal by Don Carter for Excellence Awards for e-faculty to recognize quality in online, hybrid and web-enhanced face-to-face courses.

Applicants whose proposals were approved for funding were notified this week, and they will develop specific goals and timelines for their projects over the next few months.

The final report of the Strategic Planning Council subcommittee that reviewed the proposals and made its recommendations to the president is online.