Honoring First Nations: A Study in Land Acknowledgement at the University of Mount Union
Faculty Participants: Niki Johnson, Religious Studies, and Kelly Stout, Sociology
Student Participants: Allison Hrovat, Psychology and Sociology major; Farrel Murphy, Political Science and Religious Studies major; and Gretchen Koken, Psychology and Criminal Justice major
Project Abstract: The Anti-Racism Task Force, convened by President Botzman for the 20-21AY, recommended in its mid-year report that the University explore the need for an indigenous land acknowledgment and related outreach to local Native American communities as part of Mount Union’s commitment to anti-racism. President Botzman accepted this recommendation and asked that this initiative be driven by students. This project will carry that recommendation forward when the Anti-Racism Task Force concludes its work in May. Student participants will research indigenous history of local areas, consider questions about the founding of the University on lands previously occupied by indigenous peoples, and explore models for related efforts at Canadian and U.S. institutions. Ultimately the project will move toward consideration of the potential necessity of a public acknowledgment of indigenous lands upon which Mount Union is built and the content of such a statement. This project comprises an historical, cultural, and qualitative research design. It is also more inductive than deductive in that we cannot know from the outset where the research may lead. We anticipate the development of additional actionable recommendations based on deep exploration of the issues and collaboration with local indigenous communities.
Integrating Coding in the High School Math and Science Classroom
Faculty Participants: Richelle Teeling-Smith, Physics; Kathie Ritchey, Mathematics; Sara Crawford, Mathematics; Colin Campbell, Physics and Astronomy; and Heather Milliken-Mercer, Biology
Student Participants: Bret Scheib, Biochemistry major; Brianna Rapp, Physics and Mathematics major; and Zachary Perrico, Computer Science and Mathematics major.
Project Abstract: Nationwide, schools are receiving the directive to integrate coding into their curriculum. K-12 teachers are left in the dust trying to figure out how to bring coding into their classroom without knowing how to code themselves. Our partner, STEMcoding Education Ohio (SEO) – now an Ohio-based non-profit – exists to encourage science and math teachers to integrate computer science and data science into their classrooms and to facilitate that work. STEMcoding@MOUNT will utilize the expertise of Mount Union faculty and the problem-solving skills and creativity of Mount Union students to develop a new interdisciplinary curriculum and resources for the middle and high school classroom, to serve and train local middle and high school teachers, and to expand that impact both statewide and nationwide. The STEMcoding@MOUNT team will consist of 4 Undergraduate Collaborators (UCs), mentored by 5 Mount Union faculty across 2 colleges. Each UC will be responsible, under the guidance of the team of faculty, for the design, development, and implementation of two 60-minute programming modules for a high school or middle school STEM classroom. They will also sit in on SEO’s teacher professional development course, where they will have the opportunity to engage with teachers currently undergoing training and use this experience to inform their creation of new content. The modules developed by our students will go directly into use by teachers across the state, through SEO’s collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education, or nationwide through SEO-trained teachers using these resources in their classroom. They will also be used on the Mount Union campus in FYS courses slated for Fall 2021 and potentially in future DSC, BIO, MTH, and PHY course offerings. In addition to the partnership with SEO, STEMcoding@MOUNT will partner with Akron North Schools to provide 2 scholarships to allow Akron North teachers to take the summer professional development course with SEO for graduate credit. Additionally, seats will be reserved for 8 Akron North Students to attend the STEMcoding Summer Camp at Mount Union. This provides an opportunity for our Undergraduate Collaborators to engage directly with local students and teachers and to strengthen the relationship with this partnering school district, as well as lay the groundwork for future collaborative efforts.
Understanding Motivations for Participating in School Sports in Alliance City Schools
Faculty Participants: Beth Canfield-Simbro, Education; Lori Kumler, Political Science; and Gwen Gray Schwartz, Literature and Communication Arts
Student Participants: Kaleb Krebs, Physical Education Pedagogy and Health major; Jordan Edith, Political Science Law 3+3 Akron; Ryan Shank, Health and Physical Education Pedagogy major; Mara Cvelbar, English and Political Science major; and Jaliyah Mixon, Sociology major.
Project Abstract: The aim of this project is to establish a partnership between parents, district leadership, and coaches that will elevate the status of girls’ sports in Alliance City Schools (ACS) and the Eastern Buckeye Conference. Our overarching objectives are to understand and address the problem. Archival research and empirical data gathering via ethnographic interviews, surveys, and focus groups will be employed. Intended outcomes are short-term, practical steps, as well as long-term systemic changes to work toward equity in sports in the ACS District.