SEIRI announces 2020 seed grant program recipients

IUPUI's STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute, or SEIRI, has awarded $74,231 to four faculty-led projects, providing funding to develop, implement and evaluate the impact of pedagogical innovations across STEM courses on campus.

The SEIRI Seed Grants program is a competition that facilitates and supports improvements, innovation and research in STEM education at IUPUI within the School of Science, School of Engineering and Technology, School of Informatics, and IU School of Medicine, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of instruction and success of students, including low-income and underrepresented students.

Female student wearing a mask, safety goggles and gloves using a microscope.View print quality image
The SEIRI seed grants facilitate and support improvements, innovation and research in STEM education at IUPUI. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Additionally, it helps faculty gather preliminary data and prepare to apply for external funding from the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies.

"We're pleased to be working with SEIRI on building a path to expand pedagogical best practices in undergraduate STEM education," said Daniel Walzer, whose project looks at digital storytelling and how it can improve communication and critical-thinking skills in undergraduate capstone courses. "The SEIRI grant will allow us to explore using digital storytelling across multiple courses and expand our interdisciplinary collaboration on campus."

Projects receiving seed grant funding in the 2020 cycle are:

  • "Engaging Undergraduate Students in Geo-Equity Challenges": Catherine Macris, assistant professor, Department of Earth Sciences, School of Science; Kathy Licht, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, School of Science; Gabriel Filippelli, Chancellor's Professor and director, Center for Urban Health, Department of Earth Sciences, School of Science.
  • "Restructuring the Physics Introductory Labs": Gautam Vemuri, professor, Department of Physics, School of Science; Andrew Gavrin, chairman and associate professor, Department of Physics, School of Science; Brian Woodahl, senior lecturer, Department of Physics, School of Science; Aparajita Sengupta, lecturer, Department of Physics, School of Science.
  • "Digital Storytelling and STEAM Education: Expanding Critical Thinking and Research Skills in Music Technology": Daniel Walzer, assistant professor, music and arts technology, School of Engineering and Technology; Timothy Hsu, assistant professor, music and arts technology, School of Engineering and Technology.
  • "Improving student achievement in General Chemistry": Partha Basu, professor and chair, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, School of Science; Marie Nguyen, senior lecturer and instructor of general chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, School of Science; Lin Zhu, senior lecturer and instructor of general chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, School of Science; Margaret "Peggy" Stockdale, professor, Department of Psychology, School of Science.

Abstracts of the projects are available online.

"Receiving the SEIRI seed grant will give our team a huge advantage when we look to expand the GeoEquity project and apply for an NSF IUSE grant," said Catherine Macris, whose project will engage undergraduate earth sciences students in discussions about issues related to equity in geosciences. "The seed grant funds help us to provide proof-of-concept for this novel initiative that combines earth sciences, ethics, equity and education and provides expert support from assessment specialist Grant Fore."

For faculty interested in applying for future SEIRI seed grants, the next grant solicitation will be posted on the SEIRI website in December. For more information, contact Pratibha Varma-Nelson, SEIRI founding executive director, at pvn@iupui.edu.