endowed chairs celebrate and share innovative work

Update provided by The Grove, Valencia College.

On Wednesday, April 11, the 2011-2012 Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership recipients gathered at the Grand Bohemian hotel in downtown Orlando with members of the Valencia Foundation’s Board of Directors for dinner and a celebration of the faculty’s innovative work.

As the endowed chair projects draw to a conclusion, the winners came to share their results with the Foundation board and receive cords to be worn with their academic regalia at the upcoming commencement ceremony on May 5.

The evening’s program featured remarks from the Foundation board president, Linda Landman Gonzalez (vice president of community relations and government affairs for the  Orlando Magic), who praised the faculty for their strong focus on testing new ideas designed to engage students and aid in their success.

The faculty presentations showcased the impact of the endowed chair funding on their ability to implement new strategies in the classroom and were a small representation of the 28 chairs awarded last year totaling $119,600.

Professor Kitty Harkleroad’s project focused on helping dental hygiene students learn about techniques and tools to prevent physical injuries commonly associated with the repetitive processes and awkward postures required to thoroughly clean a patient’s teeth. Her project created opportunities for students to experience a pre-class, yoga-stretching routine, and allowed her to purchase tools with larger diameters to prevent repetitive motion injuries and saddle stools that will enhance posture, preventing back and shoulder injuries. Harkleroad and her students produced a clever video (see below) to highlight the results of the endowed chair award.

Brenda Schumpert, professor of biology, and Suzanne Salapa, professor of dance also presented results from their endowed chair awards, and other recipients were seated with Foundation board members to exchange project ideas and share results.

Endowed Chairs for Learning Leadership are funded through donations to the Foundation specifically for the purpose of supporting faculty in developing their practice. Donors frequently specify the types of projects, individuals, topics, and/or programs they wish to directly support with their donation.

Chairs range from supporting a particular discipline such as the Sue Luzadder Chair in Communications or the Raymer F. McGuire Jr. Chair in Mathematics, to supporting a specific population such as the Abe and Tess Wise Endowed Chair in the Study of the Shoah. Each year in April or May, a faculty-elected committee (supported by the office for employee development) reviews the applications using a rubric to select the Endowed Chair for Learning Leadership recipients.

The 2012-2013 Endowed Chair for Learning Leadership applications were due on April 9 and the peer review committee will meet later this month to select the recipients.

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