Maricopa Institute for Learning Research Fellowship: 2021-2022 Cohort

Bob Gibney, Phoenix College


Bob Gibney grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and earned his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Arizona, his Master’s Degree at Northern Arizona University, and his Doctorate Degree at The University of Nebraska--Lincoln.  He serves Phoenix College as residential English Faculty, as ENG101 Lead, and as co-chair of the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee during the 2020-2021 school year.  He continually strives to put Equity and Inclusion at the center of every decision he makes in his research and teaching.

This project will explore the ways that students experience a Threshold Concepts approach to an online, asynchronous ENG101 course at Phoenix College.  It will seek to answer these 3 questions: How does students' writing improve? What shifts do students experience in mindsets toward writing and themselves as writers within the context of a Threshold Concepts curriculum? To what do the students attribute these shifts?

A Threshold Concepts approach centers on student experiences, student voices, self-reflection, personalized processes, social connectedness, and disciplinary knowledge.  At the same time, it decenters a single, dominant standard for judging writing success.

Lynn Clark, Paradise Valley Community College


Lynn F Clark, CPA is in her 4th year as a Residential Faculty at Paradise Valley Community College where she teaches a variety of Accounting courses and is the Online Learning Coordinator.  Lynn has a BBA in Accounting from Adelphi University and an MS in Accounting from Grand Canyon University.  She began her career at the New York office of Ernst & Young, and currently is a member of the Arizona Society of CPAs where she has held many leadership positions and is a member of the American Accounting Association.  Currently, Lynn is the Business and Technology/DECA advisor, serves on the Business Instructional Council, and is the Accounting Program lead.  Lynn enjoys spending her free time with her 2 daughters (both PVCC graduates), gardening, practicing yoga, and hiking.  

The goal of her fellowship project is to update ACC111 - Accounting Principles I ("ACC111") to intentionally incorporate Universal Design for Learning principles.  ACC111 is the gateway course into the Associate in Business Degree, and for many students, this is the first truly challenging course that they experience.  Universal Design for Learning ("UDL") is a method of teaching and learning that is based on neuroscience; it is shown to increase student learning.  UDL is a proactive approach that designs instruction to remove barriers for all students and give them an equal opportunity to succeed.  The goal of the project is to see higher success rates in ACC111 which results in higher retention of our students and completion of an Associate in Business Degree. 

Anthony Griffith, Mesa Community College


Anthony Griffith is in his  8th year as a residential faculty member at Mesa Community College (MCC) and currently teaches Developmental Reading (RDG100) and Critical Reading and Critical Thinking (CRE101) courses. Dr. Griffith earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Planning from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He worked as a Correction Officer with the New York City Department of Corrections at Rikers Island where he served on the Hostage Negotiation Unit and Gang Intelligence Unit before attaining his Master of Science degree in Elementary Education from Hofstra University. He commenced his teaching career in the Elmont Elementary School District briefly before relocating to Phoenix, Arizona, where he taught in the Phoenix Elementary and Alhambra School Districts. In his leisure time, Anthony enjoys a variety of fitness activities, in addition to reading, writing, spending time with his family, and traveling. Anthony has traveled frequently throughout the United States, Asia, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The purpose of his fellowship project is to facilitate student learning through a contextualized online Developmental Reading course to improve student success rates and outcomes. The goals include enhancing the reading skills of students, increasing student engagement, and fostering peer collaboration. Research supports contextualization as an effective approach associated with the completion of developmental courses, improved academic performance, successful completion of college-level courses, and students' commitment to their schoolwork. Consequently, the goal of this fellowship project is to help students learn in a way that makes sense to them, enhances their understanding of concepts, and makes them more relatable by using purposeful contexts, learning activities, and literature to help them analyze, conceptualize, and synthesize information grounded in real-world situations.

Mickey Marsee, Chandler-Gilbert Community College


Mickey is in her fourth year as a residential faculty member of Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s (CGCC) Composition, Creative Writing and Literature Department and holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of New Mexico. Before CGCC, Mickey was an Associate Professor of English and Division Chair of English and Humanities at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos. During that time, her projects included developing the First-Year Experience Program, participating on the New Mexico Higher Education Department’s General Education Steering Committee, and hosting Educators and students from Russia through the Los Alamos-Sarov Sister City Initiative. Currently, Mickey serves as a Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee member at CGCC. She was also awarded a Council for Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and spent January 2020 in Jordan for the faculty development seminar, “Jordan: On the Margins of Sustainability.” From that experience, she has brought in virtual exchange programs between her first-year students and students in MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) countries through the Soliya Connect Program and the IREX Global Solutions Business Sustainability Challenge. Outside of the classroom, Mickey loves to spend time with her family, traveling, and volunteering at Paz de Cristo. She is currently learning Arabic to enhance her virtual exchange communications with colleagues from Jordan and will participate in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on the visual culture of the Civil War.

The goal of Mickey’s project is to support the development of virtual exchange programs by providing data to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual exchange on attaining ENG 101: First-Year Composition student learning outcomes. For the project, Mickey will participate in a COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) exchange with an English composition class from the Universidad de la Sabana in Chia, Columbia. She will obtain the data through multiple measures using current general education student learning outcomes on Rhetorical Knowledge and Critical Thinking using past ENG 101 assessment data of critical thinking and synthesis indicators as possible benchmarks as well as VALUE rubrics from AACU (Association of American Colleges and Universities) rubric in global learning, intercultural awareness, written communication, and inquiry and communication.

Shannon McGrath, GateWay Community College


Shannon McGrath is in her eighth year as residential faculty at GateWay Community College where she teaches English and English as a Second Language (ESL).  She currently serves as the Language, Literacy, and Literature Division Chair, International Education Committee Chair, and as a member of the ESL Instructional Council.  Before becoming residential faculty at GateWay, Shannon taught international graduate students at Cornell University.  In her free time, she enjoys hiking, doing DIY projects, and taking classes.

This project will examine the relationship between the use of ePortfolios and a student's sense of belonging in college.  The Association of American Colleges and Universities designates ePortfolios as a high-impact educational practice because they enable students to create a portable and shareable collection of work that connects their educational experiences with their academic, personal, and professional pursuits.  By implementing ePortfolios in Developmental English and ESL courses, I hope to encourage students to showcase their unique voices and perspectives as well as foster their sense of belonging in college, which has been identified as a key factor in success and persistence.