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6 faculty receive Curricular Innovation funding

PeltonPresident Lee Pelton has announced the six faculty recipients of the 2014 President’s Fund for Curricular Innovation.

The fund is designed to support Emerson faculty who have proposals for curriculum that are bold, innovative, and aligned with the priorities of the College as a whole.

“To the grantees, I offer my heartfelt congratulations,” Pelton said in a message to the recipients. “[I] wish you good luck in pursuing your various projects, and I am already looking forward to the results.

“To everyone who submitted proposals, I want to say how much I appreciate your commitment to curricular innovation. It is an essential component of academic excellence and to ensuring that we are offering our students the richest educational experience possible.”

Below is a list of the selected faculty projects with brief descriptions:

Jean Stawarz, associate professor, Visual and Media Arts; Global StorytellingStawarz

Global Storytelling is a proposed month-long educational course for indigenous peoples that will be intended to invite, teach, encourage, and foster storytelling among the group through the use of mass media, such as film, television, new media, and photography. The aboriginal students will have the opportunity to use these platforms to learn how to write in these markets, and how to transport and share skills and knowledge at home. Participants might be offered an opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and work within the media industry, offering a much-needed cross-cultural exchange that will broaden the storytelling perspectives of the industry.


Angela Cooke Jackson, assistant professor, Communication Studies; Engaging Urban Communities in Health and Media Literacy

This proposed course would be co-taught by Cooke Jackson and Assistant Professor Paul Mihailidis of Marketing Communication, and would function as an applied laboratory for learning about health and media literacy. Students would work directly with community organizations and public schools to design and implement media and health literacy initiatives with Boston youth and community members, and would listen to several guest speakers. The class hopes to build a digital portfolio and rich curriculum by the end of the course that can be used by schools and community organizations that address media and disparity issues.

Judith Hull, part-time faculty, Visual and Media Arts; Rediscovering Boston’s Downtown

The proposed course, being developed in collaboration with Jeffrey Cohen, architectural historian and senior lecturer at Bryn Mawr College, takes Cohen’s research on views of nineteenth-century cities as its starting point. In this course, students would research two sets of detailed street views of downtown Boston: one made before the Civil War and the other afterward. In preparing the course, Hull would identify readings, images, and documents for students to use to research the specific enterprises in this area and to contribute to a larger project. She and Cohen, who would give several guest lectures, would determine the format of that project—which could be anything from a website to a traditional art exhibition to a mobile app or augmented reality—and look forward to implementing it in collaboration with other Emerson faculty.

Spencer Kimball, scholar-in-residence, Communication Studies; “Emerson College Polling Society”Kimball

The Emerson College Polling Society is a student-run organization overseen by Kimball since 2012 that conducts scientifically based, thought-provoking research and analytics on the public’s attitude toward hotly debated topics affecting the nation. The polls are often conducted on important political races and results are published by a wide variety of news media outlets. Upcoming polls will examine the California and Texas governor races, as well as the Massachusetts sixth-district Congressional election.

McCarryCharles McCarry, production designer-in-residence, Visual and Media Arts; “Cross Disciplinary Application of 3D Modeling”

This interdisciplinary project between Visual and Media Arts’ new production design curriculum and the Department of Performing Arts’ well-established scenic design curriculum will introduce and test the concept of using Google’s SketchUp to produce small design-study models on shared 3D printers as part of the design process.

John Craig Freeman, professor, Visual and Media Arts; “Center for Innovation in Communication and the Arts”Freeman

The proposed Center for Innovation in Communication and the Arts would establish curriculum and infrastructure to better connect art education initiatives between Emerson’s Boston and Los Angeles campuses, among other goals. It includes a curricular plan to allow students to engage in faculty research for course credit; establishing standards by which a research project would qualify to accept students for course credit under the proposed curriculum; establishing robust telecommunication infrastructure between Boston and Los Angeles that could be replicated by Emerson and its academic partners; and establishing a pilot program that includes a research project and supplementing courses.

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