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NECC Faculty Receive Academic Innovations Mini Grants

Submitted by on October 4, 2016 – 8:50 pm

Sheryl Savage of Georgetown and NECC Biology/ Engineering student Julien Alejandro of Methuen analyze handwriting on a suicide note as part of a mock crime scene event funded by an Academic Innovation Mini-Grant.

A new series of mini-grants—awarded for the first time last year— funds academic research and development, supporting Northern Essex faculty who are experimenting with new ideas designed to address teaching and learning challenges.

Five Northern Essex teams were awarded 2015/16 Academic Innovations mini-grants, and applications for 2016/2017 awards which will range from $100 to $2500 are due by Sunday October 23.

Professors Paul Cavan and Mike Cross were awarded a grant in support of NECC’s forensic science course. The two used the funding to host a mock crime scene event on the Haverhill Campus last spring, during which prospective students and community members were guided through the various forensics research stages. Funds also supported research into the success rate of criminal justice students enrolled in forensic science, with the possible aim of making the course a required part of the criminal justice curriculum.

In addition, grants were awarded to the following areas:

·         ALP Maker Space: funding to implement a Maker Space—a DIY environment through which students are encouraged to create, invent, and explore.  Students built and used cardboard cameras, gaining a better understanding of the value of creating, developing, and collaborating.  Professors Clare Thompson and Elle Yarborough

·         Art: funding to launch an ePortfolio initiative as part of the capstone portfolio course.   The funding received will help professors launch an ePortfolio template and train other faculty members to use and incorporate it into their curricula. The implementation of this initiative will ultimately enable art students to better track their creative process.  Professors Trish Kidney and Dyan Gulovsen

·         Music, Physics, and Engineering: funding for a live musical performance event, using classical guitar, to demonstrate how the physical properties of strings, wood, and air work together to create musical sounds. Professors Oscat Azaret and Johnny Yoon

·         Math/First Year Experience Learning Seminar: funding to support a linked learning community that combines a developmental math course with a first year seminar. Professors Jim Sullivan and Rebecca Rose

In deciding on this year’s awards, priority will be given to proposals that support the recruitment of new adult students and the retention of current students, according to Kim Burns, dean of academic innovations and interim dean of professional development.

Academic Innovations mini-grants are open to all full-time and DCE faculty and interdisciplinary teams of two or more. (Teams can include students as members.) The grants provide, among other things, seed money for creative pursuits and time to explore solutions that will better the classroom learning experience. Funds can be used for faculty and student stipends, focus groups, research, and collaboration. Awards range from $100 to $2500 depending on the amount requested.

Here’s a link to the application form.  Please contact Kim Burns at for more information.