Horizon Grant Gallery: 2020-2021 Projects

Bringing Interdisciplinary Nanoengineering and Environment Water Studies Collaborative Research Experiences to Community College and High School Students

Anna Marti-Subirana, Frank Marfai, and Nichole Spencer, Phoenix College
This project entails 1) researching applications of Nanotechnology to water pollution remediation, specifically that caused by acid mine drainage; 2) the participation of Phoenix College STEM/STEAM students and instructors, and partners at Arizona State University (ASU) Schools of Engineering, University of Arizona (UoA) Dept. of Hydrology and Atmospheric Studies and Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (AZDEQ), and City of Surprise Water Treatment Plant (CSWP) in the design and implementation of high impact CUREs for undergraduate and high school courses that use nanoengineering design for water pollution remediation.  This project is intended to increase student interest in interdisciplinary studies involving Environmental Sciences and Engineering, invest in pipeline projects that expose underserved students to collaboration, emerging technologies, and high impact interventions that have been demonstrated to increase recruitment, persistence, and success in STEM fields.  The project will take place at Phoenix College and partner institutions, either remotely or in person, from Jan 11 to Dec 17, 2021.

Designing support strategies in STEM courses for all modalities of learning: a model to increase student success

Francesca De Martini, Luke Mumaw, and Erica Morley, Mesa Community College; Hannah Phipps-Yonas, Jacqueline Cala, and Kimberley Patterson, Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Biology classes for majors and health care such as BIO 181 and BIO 201 record high withdrawal rates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, data is showing higher withdrawal rates also for non-major classes such as BIO 100.  The Life Science Department of Mesa Community College (MCC) decided to start a collaboration with Chandler-Gilbert College (CGCC) with the goal of increasing the success and the completion rates of our students. During Spring and Fall 2021 we will integrate a structured educational approach to our online Biology courses that will proactively identify and support students that are struggling. Our approach will use course-embedded peer tutors, welcome videos, skill-building workshops, and Dropout Detective. Research shows that academic interactions between students and faculty and participation in peer study groups increase retention rates. Our project will provide a structured educational experience to support our students in line with the objectives of the Guided Pathways initiative to guide students from the first contact to graduation. Our long-term goal is to extend our approach and to encourage other disciplines to utilize the same strategies.

Implementing Indigeneity: Co-Creating Institutional Spaces for Indigenous Innovation

Roland Walker, Nicholas DelSordi, Rowdy Duncan, Hershman John, William Schaffer, Crystal Kill, and Jennifer Nez, Phoenix College
The newly formed Committee on American Indian Initiatives, Programs, and Projects (CAIIPP) at Phoenix College will host four unique learnshops during the Weeks of Accountability during Spring and Fall 2021 covering topics of colonial entanglement, de-colonization, contemporary positionality of intertribal narratives, as well as modern perspectives of the American Indian college student experience. The goal of these learnshops is to answer the call from our Chancellor of continuing the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the United Tribal Employee Committee (UTEC) to expand their voice by promoting Indigeneity, a framework that welcomes and reinforces the essential contribution of American Indian peoples to spark Indigenous innovation and social transformation. Our hope is that participants gain increased and heightened awareness of the barriers encountered by American Indian peoples and the students who identify as such, in order to better serve them. With the theme of holism, we intend to co-create the institutional spaces that will aid in the betterment of the American Indian collegiate scholar experience within the MCCCD.

Meet Your New Student Digital Assistant, Alexa

Jeannette Shaffer, South Mountain Community College
“Hi, Alexa, what time does the library open today?”

Meet your new digital assistant, Alexa. Alexa will keep students informed, connected to campus events, and engaged with course content posted in Canvas, SMC’s learning management system. Work, family, and academic life can get hectic so Alexa will help to simplify campus and Canvas information for students by permitting students to ask Alexa questions like:

"Alexa, what assignments do I have due tomorrow?"

“Alexa, do I have any course announcements?”

“Alexa, what events are happening at SMC today”

This project will provide real-world hands-on experience for students to build skills and knowledge in the area of cloud computing using Amazon Web Services. The Coding Club and programming course students will be invited to participate and learn how to build Alexa Skills for the Student Digital Assistance.

Nursing Student Success Pathway Assessment Tool (NSSPAT): Phase II

Karin J. Sherrill, GateWay Community College; Kaitlyn Ryan, Scottsdale Community College; Amy Johnson, Estrella Mountain Community College
In 2019-20, the MCLI Horizon Grant funded the Nursing Student Success Pathway Assessment Tool (NSSPAT). This funding included the development, piloting, and validation of a nursing specific student success measurement tool.  Because of COVID and the changes in teaching, the team was unable to place the NSSPAT tool into the TracPrac™ application and returned grant funding to MCLI. All other aspects of the work were completed including dissemination of the NSSPAT outcomes to faculty at the August 2020 Virtual Maricopa Nursing Faculty Meeting, a recorded presentation, and an article for publication in Nurse Educator peer-reviewed journal.

The project this year will include the migration of the NSSPAT to TracPrac™. Additionally, the funding will provide an online portal to supplement Phase II of the Nursing Student Success Pathway Program: Integration. The online portal will contain a repository of materials for nursing students to complete based on their Student Success Pathway as identified by the NSSPAT.

Online Learning Mentors for Multidisciplinary Learning Communities

Kelly Romirowsky, GateWay Community College
The purpose of the project is to accelerate students through blocks of 8- week ENG/CRE/HIS courses to get students closer to transfer or career paths. A team of faculty collaborated and created a learning community opportunity that provides embedded content- knowledgeable writing mentors inside 8-week general education courses. Students will need faculty and peer support as well as access to additional resources inside and outside the block. The student will be bolstered and guided through online learning with a team of support. Faculty will work closely with the embedded writing mentor meeting weekly to collaborate about progress and areas of needed support. Compressed courses allow students to maintain the same contact hours with the instructor as a traditional length course (Edgecombe, 2011; Kretovics et al., 2005). The same number of hours allows for the same academic rigor but requires instructors to restructure how lessons are delivered and assessed (qtd. in Gamboa, 2013).

Wilderness Immersion Research Study Pilot and Establishment of GateWay Outdoor Adventure Club

Andrew Lenartz, GateWay Community College; Jason Kaufman and Elliott Floyd, Minnesota State University, Mankato
An enhanced connection with nature contributes to improved mental and physical well-being. The current nationwide push to online education and activities is creating the opposite effect, a rapidly escalating disconnect from nature resulting in heightened anxiety, depression, and physical health issues (Aiyer, et al., 2020, Islam, et al., 2020).

This project has two key lasting elements intended to reverse this trend and contribute to an enhanced nature connection for students and faculty at GateWay Community College (GWCC). This will fund the establishment of a GateWay Outdoor Adventure club and equipment locker, where students interested in outdoor exploration can rent gear from the college at no cost.

Additionally, a pilot research study will be conducted to explore the intersection of cognitive science, the natural environment, and college teaching. Research suggests that bringing Nature and meditation into the classroom can foster improved student performance (Leung, et al., 2019; Dadvand, et al., 2018), the study will determine whether immersion in Nature can improve college-level teaching.