2014 President’s Strategic Planning Grant Recipients

2014 President’s Strategic Planning Grant Recipients

Six collaborative research projects have been announced by President David L. Soltz as recipients of $200,000 in 2014 Presidential Grant Awards as part of the ongoing initiatives of Impact 2015: Building on the Past, Leading for the Future.

Establishing a real-time water quality monitoring station for Fishing Creek

Bloomsburg University Strategic Planning Grants

Project Leaders: Steven Rier, Cindy Venn, Christopher Hallen

Grant Award: $50,000

Streams are critical to the health and economic well-being of our communities. Therefore, stream water quality has received much attention due to potential impacts that range from residential development to pipeline construction. However, high natural variability in streams makes detecting, and thus managing, water quality issues challenging and the interested public often lacks access to accurate, meaningful water quality data.

To address these challenges, a real-time monitoring station on Fishing Creek near Bloomsburg will be established. This station will measure numerous water quality and meteorological parameters, which will be uploaded to a publically accessible website. This project will involve collaboration between students and faculty in four BU departments. Specific objectives include providing an educational tool for student-centered research and service, attracting talented students to BU’s environmental programs and providing a means by which Bloomsburg University can more effectively engage with the surrounding community on water quality issues.

A model program to attract quality STEM transfer students from community colleges

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania's Chemistry and Biochemistry Programs

Project Leaders: Toni Trumbo-Bell, Curt Jones, Steven Rier, Michael Shepard, Peter Stine

Grant Award: $35,000

The goal of the project is to increase the number and quality of community college graduates holding associate’s degrees, who choose Bloomsburg University to complete Bachelor of Science degrees in STEM fields. Transfer students from certain community colleges are better prepared than others for Bloomsburg University programs. These students perform well in upper level classes and have improved graduation rates.

Although Bloomsburg participates in the PASSHE Academic Passport program, a goal is to develop more personal relationships with community college faculty through collaborative interactions. A goal is to demonstrate that we have an exceptional institution, faculty, and programs.

Because of the higher-level performance of students from their science programs, this project will begin with Harrisburg Area Community College. BU faculty will give guest lectures at HACC that are related to the class (value-added), provide professional development opportunities, and meet on a regular basis to discuss how to ensure the success of transfer students’ pre- and post- transfer. Although this project could be considered a pilot program with HACC, it is anticipated that the outcomes could be expanded to other community colleges. In this way, it will have lasting impact beyond the proposed two-year pilot project.

Center for Leadership and Engagement

CLE Students

Project Leader: Ed Valovage, George Kinzel

Grant Award: $25,000

The Center for Leadership and Engagement has three main functions; creating and facilitating programs and activities that foster learning through theoretical and practical leadership training methods, providing support for over 280 student organizations and serving as a central point of contact for volunteer and engagement activities. The Center provides a combination of more than 100 workshops and retreats each semester to support 1,000 + students currently enrolled in the Leadership Certification Program and hundreds of students in specific campus programs and organizations.

The Presidential Strategic Planning Grant will help to fund the expenses associated with workshops for students in the certification programs and help to develop a sustainable “train the trainer” program for professional staff, graduate students and undergraduate students who are pursuing their Level 3 capstone completion. This group will then provide some training to future participants. In addition, a recruitment program will be developed for student leader alumni who will return to BU and share their expertise as workshop presenters, leadership consultants and assist in nurturing community partnerships. These initiatives will expand and diversify the pool of presenters and create alumni networking for Bloomsburg University students and the Center.

BU Institute for Liberal Arts: Educating for Life, Phase 1

Project Leaders: James Brown

Grant Award: $30,000

This project will encourage access and success for liberal arts and undeclared students by offering a scaffolded, high-impact, and flexible program that includes exploration of available study/career pathways; synthesis of diverse viewpoints and approaches to knowledge; application of academic learning to real-world challenges and opportunities; and articulation of the student’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and dispositions in relation to personal and professional success. The activities will result in increased retention of undeclared students by leading them earlier to a declared major and providing activities to facilitate their growth in their chosen fields.

Phase one focuses on exploration of study and career pathways and synthesis of diverse approaches to knowledge. The activities include a videography project designed to document formerly undeclared students’ journeys from Liberal Arts seminars through successful completion of degree programs. Also supported in this phase are a recent graduate speaker series and a liberal arts symposium designed to provoke conversation on the value of the liberal arts. Phase two is envisioned to promote application—deeper integration with Professional U through discipline-specific sophomore experiential learning and professional mentoring—and articulation through professional portfolios and a professional transition program.

Sports Leadership Academy

Project Leaders: Stephanie Anderson, Susan Kocher

Grant Award: $15,000

The Bloomsburg Sports Leadership Academy is a summer camp that will be open to girls and boys who are currently in middle school or high school and have an interest in sports. Athletics will serve as the primary tool by which they will be taught leadership skills such as interpersonal communication, confidence, courage, and teamwork.

The academy will be structured as a three-day event which will include sports related instruction, classroom workshops, and Quest outdoor workshops. Partnerships with Quest and The Center for Leadership and Engagement will not only provide additional formats for teaching leadership traits, but will also provide current Bloomsburg University students with the opportunity to apply knowledge from their prospective training in a practical setting by facilitating workshops for the academy.

Center for Visual and Performing Arts

Project Leaders: Stephen Clickard

Grant Award: $14,500

The Center for Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) will use the President’s Strategic Planning Grant award to create an Applied Arts Conference. This conference will strive to exhibit how skills learned in an arts major can be applied both directly to an arts field and perhaps less directly in many other career paths. Frequently parents and prospective students question “what can be done with an arts major” or current students need assistance as they prepare to enter the job market.

Successful alumni, regional artists and other professionals with experiences and techniques to share will be featured at the Conference. The ultimate goal of this high impact practice is greater recruitment and retention of students, along with higher graduation and job placement rates for students of the arts.