Quality Enhancement Plan Moves into Active Phase

Posted: September 12, 2011 at 1:06 am, Last Updated: September 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm

By Robin Herron

Bethany Usher, director of the Students as Scholars Quality Enhancement Plan. Mason Gazette photo

After nearly three years of university-wide discussion and planning, the Quality Enhancement Plan, “Students as Scholars: Fostering a Culture of Student Scholarship,” moves into a new phase. As Bethany Usher, director of Students as Scholars and associate director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, says, “Now we get to start doing!”

Beginning this week, information sessions will be held for faculty to help them apply for Scholarship Development Grants. These grants will help faculty create new courses and other learning experiences for undergraduate students.

The grants will be awarded in four tracks:

  • Research and Scholarship Intensive Course grants (Track A) support the redesign of courses in which students participate in the creation of original scholarly or creative projects. In the first round, applications for these grants will be accepted until Oct. 21.
  • Curriculum Development grants (Track B) support a learning experience for students that will engage them in two of the three curriculum levels: discovery of scholarship; scholarly inquiry; and research and scholarship. Applications will be accepted until early spring.
  • Collaborative Project grants (Track C) will support interdisciplinary and co-curricular projects that have a substantial undergraduate student scholarship component. Applications will be accepted until spring.
  • Pedagogical Research grants (Track D) will support faculty who want to further investigate the impact of their curricular changes on student learning. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Information sessions for faculty on the tracks and the application process will be held as follows:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Research Hall, Room 162
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in the Johnson Center, Room B, third floor
  • Monday, Sept. 26, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in  Research Hall, Room 162

The Students as Scholars program will be administered under a new office called the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities and Research (OSCAR). Space in the Johnson Center will soon be remodeled to accommodate the office, which will be located near the Center for Teaching Excellence.

As Usher explains, the first year of the program will be a “transition year” as the various elements are piloted and evaluated.

For up-to-the-minute news about the program, see the Students as Scholars blog at oscar.gmu.edu.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu