2017 Earl Award Winners Announced

May 25, 2017

Wheelock awarded grants to four projects through the annual Sylvia Earl Innovation Award program. Launched in 2012 through a generous grant from Jim and Sylvia Earl, the annual Sylvia Earl Innovation award provides funds to support the generation, development, and piloting of new ideas that can create a measurable impact in the teaching, learning, and support of education in any and all areas of the College. The College looks at four key criteria to ensure that winning projects are technology driven, innovative, clear and measurable, replicable and scalable.

Wheelock faculty, staff, students, deans, administrators, and staff are eligible to submit proposals individually or in groups. This year, 11 proposals were received  from groups representing students, faculty, and staff.

The winning 2017 projects were:

Handheld Analytical Chemistry: Applications in Science, Archaeology, Service and Sustainability
Submitted by Professors Lisa Lobel, Ellen Faszewski, Akeia Benard, and Jud Hill

This technology provides a tool to be used in the innovative, hands-on and problem-based teaching and learning style practiced at Wheelock. The tool is basically a hand-held x-ray gun used to analyze elements. Access to this level of technology can inspire students and faculty to ask new questions and approach new problems.

Eye Tracking Project
Submitted by Prof. Samuel Cook

This project builds on an initial study Dr. Cook is conducting with Dr. Juan Pablo Mejia-Ramos of Rutgers University to use eye-tracking technology to begin to understand how students read text books. The Earl Grant will boost the impact on the field by allowing the purchase of multiple pairs of glasses, such that enough quantitative data can be collected to conduct proper quantitative studies in realistic time periods. The initial project will be textbook comprehension, including providing quantitative data to support or refute published qualitative textbook understanding research studies. The potential research impacts are limitless with these glasses as the researchers can lead studies that go beyond text books and beyond math.

Patriot Recording Studio
Submitted by Prof. Dan Owusu and student Joshua Simmons

This project builds on work done using a 2016 Sylvia Earl grant to build an on-campus recording studio. The additional funds will be used to hire and train students, improve the quality of digital audio arts, prepare students for audio arts careers, hire a professional audio consultant, upgrade and maintain equipment, and create a business plan to market the fee-for-service aspect of the studio.

Boston Oral History in the Digital Age
Submitted by Prof. Leland Clarke

Working in collaboration with high school seniors from the Boston Green Academy who are completing their required Capstone Community Action Project and Sustainability Internships with Dr. Clarke, along with Wheelock undergraduate students, Boston Oral History in the Digital Age will include visits to landmark sites and a collective variety of source-types—live performances, sound recordings, written documents, material sites, objects and artifacts, moving and still images, and life-history material—providing faculty and students opportunities to explore the common research practices of selection, interpretation, and representation.

Learn More

Visit the Sylvia Earl Innovation Award web page to learn more about the program and to see previous years' winning projects.

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