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Center for Teaching Excellence

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Past Recipients

USCreativity Innovation Grants

USCreativity grants fund teaching and learning innovations, curriculum and instructional development, and creativity in experiential learning. Creativity is considered a crucial skill for 21stcentury learners and an important aspect of learning in higher education, as it is necessary to guide learners to more effectively use resources to develop knowledge and skills and solve problems. Higher education can hone creativity by incorporating pedagogies that maximize opportunities for students to practice being inventive, and harvest and build upon the creativity that every student already possesses and uses.

Award Recipients 2018-2019

Dirk Brown, Assistant Clinical Professor, McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise, Office of the Provost, Multiple Courses 
Collaborators:  Patti Fabel, Dean Kress, Joel Stevenson, Robert Fowler, Jonathan Fletcher, and Kristina Hooks

Dirk Brown is using this grant to integrate design thinking and creative arts into entrepreneurship and innovation-related courses to enable students to think broadly and non-traditionally about what the future will look like in their chosen fields, and what “core value propositions” they need to develop in themselves to bring to the market.  This enables students to more clearly visualize their future reality in the context of the theoretical frameworks of the course and of their own “designed future.”  Creative design thinking-based content, incorporating diverse creative arts, will be included to materially impact a broad range of courses including COLA 298, MGMT 777, PHMY 794, and SCHC 387.  Innovative instructional content will include, among other things, exercises in which students dramatize their jobs of the future and express their future in the visual arts to give a visceral sense of future roles and responsibilities and the skill-sets needed to be successful.  

Dick Brown

Christy Friend, Professor, English, College of Arts and Sciences, Director, Incubator for Teaching Innovation,  Outside-the-Box Event Design Challenge
Collaborator:  Nina Moreno, Associate Professor of Spanish, Assistant Director, Incubator for Innovative Teaching, College of Arts and Sciences

Christy Friend proposed holding a half-day "Outside-the-Box Event Design Challenge" in Spring 2019, to bring together diverse teams of faculty and others involved in teaching to generate creative ideas for future Incubator programming.  Specifically, each team will propose and present ideas for a big event the Incubator could host to foster creative teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).  The CAS Incubator will agree to implement the best idea (or ideas) as part of its programming during the 2019-2020 academic year.  The Outside-the-Box Event Design Challenge will be a facilitated half-day workshop that includes an introduction to creative problem-solving, a practice exercise, and a structured team design project that culminates in an informal presentation to a team of the Incubator's faculty associates.  The faculty workshop is designed to inspire faculty in CAS to adopt innovative, interdisciplinary approaches in their teaching. 

Christy Friend

Sharon Gumina, Instructor, Integrated Information Technology, College of Engineering and Computing, ITE 245: Introduction to Networking
Collaborators:  Anthony Dillon, Internship Director IIT and Anna House, Professor, School of Visual Art and Design

Sharon Gumina proposed integrating creativity into ITEC 245 – Introduction to Networking. The course provides an introduction to technologies, terminology, and skills used in data networking. The course focuses on practical applications of networking and computer technology to real-world problems. While it prepares students for entry-level jobs as a networking technician, it also prepares them for learning more advanced topics in networking. Integrating creativity into the course would encourage students to approach network design from a human-centered perspective. The students would be tasked with coming up with a network design that fosters an interactive experience of artwork using networking technologies to develop potential strategies for their client, McKissick Museum.

Sharon Gumina

Dick Kawooya, Interim SLIS Director, Associate Professor, College of Information and Communications, CIC USCreativity Design Challenge
Collaborators:  Andrea Tanner and John D'Ignazio, School of Library and Information Science

Dick Kawooya suggested an initiative to join the two schools within the College of Information and Communications (CIC), the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) and the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).  The goal of the college’s Data, Media Data, and Media and Society Initiative is to unite the schools and to position the college as a leader in data science and communication teaching and research.  This initiative’s first step is the design of a facility that would support the college’s contribution to these emerging areas and would encourage stronger faculty and staff collaboration and provide a space for teaching and research.  The CIC-oriented CTE USCreativity Design Challenge proposal is entitled “2 Schools, 1 Room (2S1R): Designs for a Space Supporting CIC Teaching and Research Collaboration.”  The target of the proposed CIC’s USCreativity Design Challenge is an underused, quality room on the first floor of Davis College (Davis 110). The design challenge will allow indigenous ideas to surface on how such a space can serve both schools by innovatively facilitating the delivery of courses, both online and face-to-face (f2f), while bringing research into the classroom, and activating this room as a space for research.   With such planning and participation, the CIC USCreativity Design Challenge can achieve its goal of building bridges and activating synergistic collaboration between the schools for stronger course offerings and research.

Dick Kawooya

Gina Kunz, Research Associate Professor, College of Education, Dean’s Office, Classroom Creativity Design Challenge
Collaborators:  Margo Jackson, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, College of Education and Ryan Inzana, Assistant Dean of Business Operations, Office of the Dean, College of Education

This proposal is to integrate creativity into the College of Education’s Administrative Council (AC) that meets monthly throughout the fall and spring semesters. The proposal recommends a change in the focus of the charge for AC from updates provided from each department, unit or area of the college to a design challenge that is geared to address a real-world challenge facing teaching and education in South Carolina.  The AC is comprised of 30 faculty and staff members in the College of Education (CoE), including the Dean of CoE, who represent each department (e.g., Department of Educational Studies), centers or units, and offices (e.g., IT Office, Office of Communication, Grants and Contracts Office). During the fall 2018 and spring 2019, the “Creative Recruitment Design Challenge” is to “develop an innovative and effective recruitment plan to help increase enrollment in and completion of the Initial Teacher Certification Programs in the CoE at USC.”

Gina Kunz

Sabrina Habib and Tara Mortensen, Assistant Professors, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Information and Communications, Photovisual Communication III (JOUR 448) and Graphics for Visual Communication (JOUR 346)

This proposal includes innovating and integrating two courses: JOUR 448: Photovisual Communication III and JOUR 346: Graphics for Visual Communication. Both courses are a part of the Visual Communication sequence in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC).  JOUR 448 is a video production course that focuses on camera operation, lighting, script writing, storytelling, and video-editing.  JOUR 346 teaches students graphics software as a means to create visual persuasive messages.  As many Visual Communications students categorize themselves into one of two niches: “graphics” people or “photo” people, this project would encourage students to dedicate to both areas in order to graduate as well-rounded incoming professionals. This grant will allow us to pilot collaboration between the two courses and bridge the perceived gaps.  All students will work for an entire semester on a chosen theme as part of the USC Year of Creativity initiative. 

Sabrina Habib

Tara Mortensen

Katherine Ryker, Assistant Professor, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, College of Arts and Sciences,  Environment of the Earth (GEOL 103) and Intro to the Earth (GEOL 101)
Collaborator:  Wolfgang Ashley 

Katherine Ryker was inspired to integrate the arts into GEOL 103 by her participation in the Great Gamecock Design Challenge and through interaction with USC artist Sara Schenecklot.  She plans to use part of the funds from the grant to support a two day design competition to come up with ideas for a hallway mural that could be added to the 100 hallway of Earth and Water Sciences. This plan would encourage our graduate and upper level geoscience students to develop the same set of skills learned in that process. All SEOE students would be invited to participate in the mural design challenge through our majors and graduate listservs.  Students would be given the challenge to create a geologically-inspired mural for the existing blank side of the 100 hallway that could be incorporated into one or more introductory geology classes.

Students would be provided with similar training in design-based thinking, and would need to pitch their mural ideas to members of the SEOE (including faculty, staff, and other students).  Undergraduate and graduate SEOE students regularly pass through this hall, and Katherine predicts that having this mural will invoke not only interest from non-majors/grad students, but an appreciation for the artistry among undergraduate part of their labs, and a sense of pride from the graduate and upper level undergraduate students who participate in the design challenge.

Katherine Ryker

Marius Valdes, Associate Professor, School of Visual Art and Design, College of Arts and Sciences, Senior Projects (ARTS 447)
Collaborator:  Coach Jaime Smith, USC Women’s Soccer Team

Marius Valdes plans to develop an innovative teaching experience for graphic design students that would also benefit the diverse group of student athletes on the USC Women’s Soccer Team.  This proposal highlights a unique collaboration between the art school and athletics.  The proposal directly impacts the course ARTS 447: Senior Projects.  The ultimate goal is to provide a mutually beneficial creative experience for graphic design seniors and USC Student athletes by having them work together to create a unique design project that will be exhibited at Stone Stadium during a USC Women’s Soccer game.  The Combination Creative Arts Integration + Classroom Creativity Design Challenge will take place over the course of the Spring 2019 semester and will culminate with a presentation and display at an event for USC Women’s Soccer.  Learning will take place in the classroom, in an art studio, on a soccer field, and at a crowded soccer event.

Marius Valdes

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.