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Personalizing Education: Empowering Student Experiences One Grant at a Time

Swanson School captures three grants for 2019

Originally posted @Pitt. Read the full article with all awardees here.

Personalizing education “is a culture and a way of life,” Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd told the recipients of this year’s Personalized Education Grants at a March 19 reception honoring them.

“It’s a commitment to our students that says we’ll do our best to understand you and to offer the best opportunities to you and to help you achieve your goals and your dreams,” said Cudd.

Initiated in 2018 by the Office of the Provost to engage the campus and support efforts to personalize students’ experiences, the grants this year were awarded to 17 proposals; three of those were projects that had been funded last year and will receive continued support.

“This year’s award-winning proposals came from all corners of this campus and our regional campuses,” said Cudd, who called the scope and breadth of ideas “truly inspiring. … All have aligned their goals with our goal of doing everything within our power to make sure that students are best positioned to thrive and to live lives of impact.”

Civic engagement driving student experiences

With Classroom to Community, Joseph Samosky, assistant professor of bioengineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, aims to provide space, resources and mentorship for teams of students designing solutions for human-centered, real-world problems. The pilot program intends to provide support to student projects beyond the course in which the designs originated and to be able to provide real-world impact.

Recognizing student needs and learning styles

At the Swanson School of Engineering, Jenette Phillips and Kent Harries, professor of civil and environmental engineering, will study the interaction between the learning styles of neurodiverse STEM students (that is, individuals from different neurological backgrounds, including but not limited to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, etc.) and pedagogical practices in STEM courses. The ultimate goal of their project, Interaction Between Engineering Education Pedagogies and Neurodiverse Learning Styles, is to refine classrooms to provide the best education possible for the broadest spectra of individuals.

Mental wellness

Cheryl Paul, director of engineering student services, will map out the initial stages of a comprehensive plan for the Swanson School to begin inviting conversation and training among students, faculty and staff around mental wellness through her proposal Inclusive Dialogue: Inviting Mental Wellness Understanding & Planning into Everyday Academics. Through implementing three interventions, Paul said that the goal of the project is to propel students to experience unprecedented support, success in their studies and prepare for life beyond the University.

Author: Author: Will Entrekin, University Communications

Contact: Will Entrekin