Pedagogical Initiative Grants
In recent years Humanities Departments at Rutgers have revised their offerings, both to meet the requirements of the Core Curriculum and to create courses in entirely new or recalibrated categories: Byrne Family Seminars, Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars, and Language Engagement Courses. These exciting curricular changes have asked faculty to focus on content. The Humanities Pedagogical Initiative now asks faculty to turn its attention to the means by which students learn. All Humanities undergraduate courses of 3 credits or more (or attached to courses of 3 credits or more), including Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars originating in Humanities departments, are eligible.
Grants in the form of research funds will range from $1000 to $3500, depending on the scope of the project. Proposals that involve collaboration with or borrowing from disciplines beyond the Humanities are encouraged.
2019-2020 Award Recipients
Europe, Africa, and America (History)
Professor Cooper reconceptualizes a course not taught in many years with the addition of resources in new media, including digital mapping and audiovisual materials. This exposure to a broad geography while showing interconnections globally will prepare students for a 1-credit winter study abroad trip to Benin.
Marx, Nietzsche, Freud (German, Russian and East European Languages and Literatures)
Professor Rennie introduces polling technology (iClicker or Top Hat) to a large lecture course that already includes regular group work. This enables him to gauge whether all students understand the material, as well as to involve those who may feel less authorized to participate in a large lecture course.
Accidents and Disasters in the US and the World (History)
Professor Pietruska scales up without sacrificing collaboration among students or their close engagement with the course material. This is made possible by the adoption of Active Learning pedagogy and technologies in an Active Learning-dedicated classroom
Feminist Practices (Women’s and Gender Studies)
Professors Rajan and Nachescu reorganize their course around podcasting. Students build from listening to podcasts, to creating them in groups, to conducting their own research project and creating a podcast about that project. This allows students to develop their mastery of a new medium while reflecting on its possibilities and limitations as a tool of feminist practices.
Religions of the Western World (Religion)
Professor Fruchtman incorporates Just-in-Time Teaching techniques into a content-rich 200-level course. This teaching strategy asks students to submit “warm-up” exercises shortly before class. By reviewing and incorporating those exercises into the day’s class presentation, Professor Fruchtman ensures student engagement and assesses students’ comprehension of the day’s material.
Writing for Media (School of Communciation and Information)
Professor Kremen designs a new template for a multi-section writing course that will be taught by several instructors. Working with Rutgers’ Cyberlearning Innovation and Research Center, she also incorporates artificial-intelligence software to automatically generate online grammar assessments tailored to each student’s needs.
Elementary Korean (Asian Languages and Cultures)
Professors Cho and Chun repurpose class time through flipped learning: moving rote aspects of language pedagogy online in a format that encourages self-paced lectures and self-assessment. This frees instructors to devote class time to interactive practices and activities that encourage creative engagement.
Global East Asia (Asian Languages and Cultures)
Professor Schalow and his teaching assistants shift from interdisciplinarity to transdisciplinarity through increased reliance on active learning techniques appropriate to a very large lecture course. Likewise, projects demanding greater individual engagement will replace the current short paper assignments.
Masterpieces of Greek and Roman Art (Classics)
Professor Peruzzi transforms a standard lecture course with Project-Based Learning. In lieu of a final paper and exam, students will create educational materials targeted at a broader public.
History Workshop (History)
Professor Townsend involves undergraduates in an ongoing research project on understudied Lenape legends found in manuscripts in the Smithsonian. Students will integrate this archival work with information gained through exchange with young people in Lenape descent communities, now known as the Delaware, who live in Oklahoma.
American Folklore (American Studies)
Professor Kennedy creates opportunities for her students to practice in the field what they learn in the classroom. Using fieldwork equipment kits, students apply their classroom instruction in ethnographic methodology by conducting interviews, engaging in cultural encounters, and producing documentation of the artists and communities selected to be a part of the New Jersey Folk Festival.
Since Rutgers is vast, decentralized, and sprawling, it is difficult for any of us to be aware of the communities, tools, and resources already devoted to pedagogical innovation. Grant applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the resources listed here.