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UW Faculty Members Receive Engagement Fellowship Awards

November 25, 2019
Caleb Hill, Corrine Knapp and Tawnya Plumb

Three University of Wyoming faculty members, representing a wide range of disciplines, are recipients of the 2019 Faculty Engagement Fellowship awards.

They are:

-- Caleb Hill, chemistry assistant professor, an Office of Engagement and Outreach (OEO) STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Faculty Engagement Fellowship. The fellowship is a partnership with the UW Science Initiative to help build capacity to coordinate STEM-related outreach/engagement programming. Hill will work with OEO, STEM faculty and existing STEM outreach and inreach programs to coordinate previously siloed programs and build future outreach and inreach capacity.

-- Corrine Knapp, Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources assistant professor, an OEO Faculty Engagement Fellowship. The fellowship is open to all disciplines, with preference given to projects from faculty outside of STEM and humanities disciplines.

-- Tawnya Plumb, College of Law associate librarian, an OEO-Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research (WIHR) Faculty Engagement Fellowship. The fellowship is a partnership with WIHR and OEO to help build capacity in humanities engagement/outreach programming. The fellowship will enhance joint work between WIHR and OEO in engaged teaching/service learning, engaged scholarship and community engagement/outreach.

The competition attracted proposals from a broad range of disciplines across UW, from people working in public engagement, engaged teaching, engaged scholarship and outreach focused on community impacts.

The awards are for faculty members working on projects during the 2020 calendar year. Fellows receive a stipend of $10,000 and up to $2,000 to support outreach programs and travel expenses. Recipients will work with OEO Director Jean Garrison to develop their projects and organize at least one significant outreach program series both on and off campus. Projects focus on faculty development or enhancing engagement and outreach in their respective fields of study.

This is the first faculty engagement fellowship competition, and it attracted more than a dozen strong applicants from across campus, Garrison says. She says the selection committee, composed of members of UW’s Engagement Council, had “some tough choices to make.”

“I am pleased that our three recipients represent such a wide range of projects involving UW undergraduate and graduate students representing partnerships with K-12, community colleges and county libraries,” Garrison says. “I look forward to working with each one of them as we build a team of those who champion engagement work at UW. These awards demonstrate the commitment on the part of OEO and its partners to build capacity in our statewide and outreach mission.”

She adds that the fellowships, along with UW’s Marvin Millgate Awards for faculty, staff, students and community partners, are the top awards given by OEO.

The recipients’ individual projects are:

-- Hill’s project is “Measure Anything: Educating Wyoming about Measurement Science.” The project aims to improve high school students’ understanding of scientific measurements through hands-on activities in their respective schools and through student-directed research projects that use analytical resources at UW.

During the six-month support period, 150 students will participate in class learning activities during three visits to Wyoming high schools, and seven or eight students will be mentored through independent research projects. The visits will be in collaboration with the UW Science Initiative’s LAMP (Learning Actively Mentoring Program) Roadshow, which has established strong relationships with around 40 K-12 educators in the state. Involvement in the program will provide students with tangible, hands-on experiences to help in their future studies and expand their view of what opportunities exist in STEM fields, Hill says.

“Both will have a positive impact on their attitudes toward these fields and likelihood to pursue their studies at the university level,” Hill says. “By making interactions with a diverse group of UW student mentors, a key component of this program, an inclusive environment will be created for students from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.”

Rachel Watson, LAMP Roadshow director, says Hill brings experience as a past LAMP cohort fellow.

“The outreach component of LAMP, called the ‘Roadshow,’ is the perfect collaborator for Caleb’s work because he offers extensive knowledge and background in instrumentation, while we have undergraduate and graduate students to facilitate student learning and activities,” Watson says. “We also have extensive connections with K-12 educators. We are elated to bring these programs together and spread the ripples of chemistry education statewide.”

-- Knapp’s project is “Building Transdisciplinary Capacity at the University of Wyoming.” The project is to develop transdisciplinary (TD) research on campus and in Wyoming communities, contributing to OEO’s strategic plan.

TD research is interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral and applied to the management of real-world problems, expanding engagement to work with rather than for communities, Knapp says.

Knapp will develop a short course to teach students best practices for engaging communities in co-produced research; organize a mini-conference on TD best practices; host a panel of undergraduate students with experience with collaborative research; and conduct interdisciplinary research with students on best practices for integrating different types of knowledge in TD practice.

“The anticipated outcomes will include increased awareness and understanding of TD both on campus and in Wyoming communities, and expanded internal and external capacity to conduct high-quality and engaged TD research,” Knapp says.

-- Plumb’s project is “Access to Justice: Legal Research on the Road.” Plumb says many individuals find legal research intimidating, and she adds that librarians wish they knew more about legal research. Librarians often field requests from low-income Wyoming citizens with legal issues, she adds.

Wyoming’s two public law libraries are both located in southeast Wyoming, and there are four law librarians in the state. Plumb is among the four law librarians, and her project will be “giving back to the state.” She will offer in-person, community-tailored legal research training sessions in all 23 Wyoming county libraries, the community colleges and on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

A survey of state librarians is scheduled for spring and summer 2020 that will assess the public’s legal research needs. A tailored presentation, as well as handouts that address these needs and a research toolkit that includes a list of recommended legal titles, will provide the format for the research.

“To alleviate ethics concerns, the parameters within which librarians may assist patrons, while still honoring the rules governing the unauthorized practice of law, will be highlighted,” Plumb says.

Scott Henkel, WIHR director, says he is thrilled with Plumb’s selection working as a humanities engagement fellow.

“Having greater access to legal information is vital for our state and its people in our current era of mass incarceration,” Henkel says. “Tawnya’s work is among the best expressions of engaged humanities work, with its attention to increasing access to knowledge, and a commitment to ethics and empowerment. Her work will help make our state more equitable and just.”

For more information about the fellowship winners and awards, click here.

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