FROM: Freeman Hrabowski, President, and Philip Rous, Provost
TO: The UMBC Community
RE: New Grants from the Hrabowski Fund for Innovation

We are delighted to announce the second set of projects to receive grants from the Hrabowski Fund for Innovation. These projects build on the strong commitment of our faculty to continually reimagine our students’ learning experiences.

The selection committee received a number of outstanding applications. The grant recipients were chosen by a committee comprised of faculty from each college, teaching award winners, and representatives from the Provost’s Office, Graduate School, and Office of Undergraduate Education. In selecting projects to fund, the committee sought initiatives that would address multiple courses or disciplines, respond broadly to student needs, affect student success or retention, and be sustainable.

Implementation and research grants

  • Modeling as a Pedagogical Tool for the Life Sciences Curriculum– Led by Mauricio Bustos, associate professor of biological sciences, the team will use computer simulations of lab experiments to allow students in the biological sciences to focus on critical biology concepts rather than rote lab procedures. By removing the beakers, pipettes, and other distractions of the lab, the team hopes to enhance student focus on experiment design, observation, and interpretation.
  • Enhancing Hands-On Problem-Solving across the Chemical Engineering Curriculum – A team led by Joshua Enszer, lecturer in chemical and biochemical engineering, will create a series of hands-on activities to connect a five-semester sequence of required courses in chemical engineering. The goal of the project is to show students how these separate courses are related, and enable them to see how the concepts they are learning in the classroom relate to the laboratory.

Seed grants

  • Metacognitive Activity Promotions (MAPs) in Chemical Engineering Thinking – A team led by Mariajose Castellanos, assistant professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, will use sociological principles to examine the effect of written reflection exercises on students’ understanding of their chemical engineering coursework.

These projects join our first round of grant recipients in building on our strong history of finding novel approaches to teaching and scholarship. Established with major grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Heinz Awards, the Innovation Fund has also benefited from substantial support from alumni and friends, the local community and businesses, and state and national leaders. This support is a testament to the work we’ve already done and a vote of confidence for the national model we’re continuing to build.

The competition for the next round of Innovation Fund grants will be announced later this summer with a due date in fall. We want to thank everyone who has submitted a proposal, and encourage those whose proposals could not be funded in this round to apply again.

We are truly inspired by the creative ideas we hear each day and are delighted to be able to support more of them through this fund.

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