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Mount Union Announces Funding for Interdisciplinary Research Through New Initiative

April 29, 2021

ALLIANCE, Ohio — In an effort to bolster interdisciplinary, high-impact practices of student-faculty research and service learning, the University of Mount Union has announced that three research projects have been funded through the new Sit Lux Initiative for Interdisciplinary Innovation Projects.

The Sit Lux Initiative provides interdisciplinary teams the opportunity to collaborate on a community need, a novel curriculum or a wicked problem. Each team is comprised of faculty, students and at least one community partner.

The three funded projects are:

  • Honoring First Nations: A Study in Land Acknowledgement at the University of Mount Union — Dr. Niki Johnson, professor of philosophy and religious studies, and Kelly Stout, assistant professor of criminal justice
  • Integrating Coding in the High School Math and Science Classroom — Dr. Richelle Teeling-Smith, assistant professor of physics, with additional faculty participation from Dr. Kathie Ritchey, assistant professor of mathematics, Dr. Sara Crawford, assistant professor of mathematics, Dr. Colin Campbell, assistant professor of physics, and Heather Milliken-Mercer, instructor of biology.
  • Understanding Motivations for Participating in School Sports in Alliance City Schools — Beth Canfield-Simbro, associate professor of education, Dr. Lori Kumler, associate professor of political science and Dr. Gwen Gray Schwartz, professor of English.

Led by the University’s three founding deans — Dr. Heather Duda, founding dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, Dr. Sandra Madar, founding dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, and Dr. Kristine Still, founding dean of the College of Applied and Social Sciences — the Sit Lux Initiative received 10 research proposals for the pilot program. The aforementioned faculty behind the three selected projects will begin work this summer.

“The initiative also illustrates how, as a collective academic community, faculty, students, and community partners may engage collaboratively through impactful service and community-based learning,” said a joint statement from Mount Union’s three founding deans. “Each interdisciplinarity innovation project is predicated upon high impact practices with the promise of providing deeper engagement of our students that extends and transcends traditional modes of instruction.”

These projects seek to seed ideas that can lead to tangible outcomes, such as a new course, an interdisciplinary curriculum, or a sustainable program for student engagement with a community partner.

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