Thursday, April 20, 2017

Recognizing Faculty of Excellent Service & Innovative Research

At Tuesday's TFO meeting, LETU Provost Steve Mason awarded $12,000 in faculty research grants to selected faculty members to continue the wonderful work they are doing to advance their academic disciplines. 

The Grant Application Review Panel, chaired by Dr. Duane Trogdon, carefully reviewed each application to determine the eligibility of the applicants and proposed activities. Assisting with the presentations was TFO President-elect Dr. Wayne Jacobs. The following were awarded:

David Dittenber, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
$4,500 - Modular Light Gauge Steel Wall Panels for Disaster Shelters
The SafeHome senior design team has begun developing a promising and innovative wall panel system for use in disaster relief shelters.  This modular wall panel is manufactured from light-gauge steel tracks, studs and sheets of various sheathing materials.  Constructing and adapting two load frames will allow for testing of these modular panels, opening new avenues for continuing research and development.  The goal is to design housing that can ease human suffering for people who are displaced from their homes, such as in the Syrian refugee crisis or following weather disasters.  Funding was awarded to Dr. Dittenber and the design team for equipment and materials to conduct the proposed research.

Kotaro Sasaki, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
$4,000 - Transfemoral Amputee Knee Stabilizer
The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a mechanical assistive device to stabilize prosthetic knee joints for transfemoral amputees (also called "above-knee" amputees), and help increase their mobility and safety. Dr. Sasaki's specific goals of this project include: 1) to design and refine a prosthetic-knee stabilizing device that is affordable and simple enough to be used in under-resourced settings; 2) to validate the efficacy of the device by comparing physiological and biomechanical data obtained from "simulated transfemoral amputee)" with and without using the device.

Robert Wharton, Professor of Business Administration, with co-Principle Investigators: 
Karen Jacobs, Associate Professor Business Administration
Doug Waldo, Associate Professor Business Administration (not pictured)
$1,800 - Study of Emotional Intelligence in College Students
Studies have indicated a relationship between linking Emotional Intelligence to human performance, personal health, and resilience. Emotional knowledge, skills, and intelligence hold a major key to improving education and helping students, teachers, faculty, and student development professionals attain higher degrees of achievement, career success, leadership, and personal well-being. The grant awarded to Dr. Wharton's team would provide for the dissemination of the instrument to all incoming freshmen in fall 2017 and the accompanying research.

Jodie Hilburn, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
$1,100 - Across the Pacific - Educational and Cultural Perspectives
The grant awarded to Jodie Hilburn will allow her to accept the invitation extended by Hannam University to travel to Daejeon, S. Korea during the summer of 2017. She will explore the Korean Summer Studies Program (KSSP), develop corresponding/supplemental curriculum for LeTourneau based on the KSSP, and provide a faculty member chaperone to accompany the LeTourneau students participating in the KSSP.

Vicki Sheafer, Professor of Psychology
$600 - Faith Integration and Metacognition
The focus of Dr. Sheafer's project is to develop an assignment that accomplishes three goals:  (1) the integration of faith and learning, (2) the development of metacognitive skills, and (3) the improvement of student learning outcomes as reflected by exam scores. The assignment is called "Question, Quotation and Reflection" (QQR) and is completed for daily assigned readings.

Congratulations to all these fine grant winners! We will look forward to hearing about your research next year at the LETU Research Symposium.

Also, at Tuesday's TFO meeting, Steve awarded the Teaching Faculty Organization Excellence in Teaching Award to theology associate professor Luke Tallon. This award recognizes outstanding teaching from faculty members who have contributed to students, to scholarship and to this campus in ways that advance performance in the classroom and the student experience.

Previous Excellence in Teaching winners for 2016-2017 include applied aviation sciences instructor Ricky Hellings, civil engineering associate professor David Dittenber, associate professor in computer science Ken Rouse, math professor Larry Anderson and engineering instructor Joel Koblich.   

Our faculty are the primary reason our university excels in preparing students for the future as they pursue God's calling on their lives to serve him in every workplace in every nation. We are indeed blessed that our faculty continue to serve Him so eloquently here at LeTourneau University.