Project title: Critical Geographies of Place, Culture, and Cities
Name of Contact: Christian Anderson
Position/Rank: Assistant Professor
Other RIG members: Jin-Kyu Jung, Ben Gardner, Lauren Berliner, Dan Berger

Summary: We will pursue several overlapping interests. Broadly speaking, we will focus on the intersections among cultural, social, political-economic, and historical-geographical processes in space. Alongside pertinent theoretical considerations, we will collaboratively explore how our different methodological approaches (spanning discourse analysis, ethnography, GIS and Geo-visualization, and other qualitative methods) could be integrated to produce innovative research and teaching on these topics. Integral to these ends, we will identify and pursue opportunities for place-based/community engaged collaborative research in the Seattle metro area and beyond. We will also act as an incubator for the elements of and connections between the Lake City Collaboratory and Beyond the Carceral State initiative.

One explicit activity this RIG would like to sponsor would be a conversation on Critical Geography and the Carceral State in February with Rashad Shabazz from Arizona State (who will already be in town) and Tamara Spira from Western Washington University (Dan Berger is helping organize/fund this on other fronts as well).

Funding awarded: $1000

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Project title: Rethinking Economies
Name of Contact: S. Charusheela
Position/Rank: Associate Professor
Other RIG members: Susan Harewood, Christian Anderson

Summary: The Rethinking Economies RIG aims to constitute a ‘research institute’ at IAS.  The idea for this RIG began as part of the redesign of the MACS degree to promote more integration of community engagement, research, and scholarly activity within the program.  While the RIG has its origins in curricular redesign, our purpose is to not only facilitate connections between our research and teaching, but also to promote spaces for collaboration in our research, by coordinating community and global education elements into our course work and scholarship. 

Group aims for this year are:

  • To cultivate and develop the Lake City Collaboratory;
  • To work on cultivating transnational links for graduate scholarship.  One aim for the coming year (or two) will be to set up options for course collaboration between graduate students at IAS and graduate programs at the University of the West Indies, Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town, and University of Western Sydney;
  • To work on constituting some community oriented/public scholarship oriented elements for our courses reflecting the development of approaches to rethinking economies. 

This RIG aims to be able to unveil at least one graduate elective in 2016-2017 that has the elements of public scholarship and/or transnational collaboration with other universities.

Funding awarded:  $1000

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Project title: Hybrid Epistemologies of Socio-Environmental Change
Name of Contact: Santiago Lopez
Position/Rank: Assistant Professor
Other RIG members: Jin-Kyu Jung; Felipe Murtinho, Assistant Professor, Seattle University

Summary: In this RIG, we will pursue several overlapping interests.  We will focus on the challenges and opportunities of applying a hybrid epistemological framework in environmental change research. We will specifically explore ways on how to integrate mixed-methods approaches in socio-environmental research (grounded theory, ethnography, qualitative and quantitative spatial analysis and geovisualization, spatial econometrics, remote sensing, GIS) to produce innovative work in topics related to the human dimensions of global change.  To these ends, we will build on ongoing research activities in South America and pursue new opportunities to engage in collaborative community-based research locally and internationally.

RIG goals will be:

  • To expand our collaborative network and identify intersections between our different types of work.
  • To engage in applied research that combines qualitative and quantitative methods to advance the understanding of global environmental change.
  • To enable the completion of ongoing research in South America and pursue new collaborative opportunities to engage in innovative and community-based research and teaching.

The expected outcomes of this RIG are multiple. First, we will produce materials (maps, reports, and audiovisuals) that will be used in future academic presentations and publications and that will be shared with the communities we worked in the summer of 2015. Second, we will publish at least two articles from this RIG next calendar year based on the material we will generate and data that we are currently processing.  Third, we will develop and share teaching materials for curriculum development promoting hybrid methods.   Fourth, we will expand and enhance our collaboration network with local researchers from the Seattle area who also work in the Andean region and have overlapping interests.

The success of this RIG will be evaluated based on number and quality of publications, reports, maps, teaching materials, and future research proposals that will be generated throughout the year.

Funding awarded: $3000

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Project title: Identifying Overlaps in Research Questions for Teaching Science, Art, and STS
Name of Contact: Becca Price
Position/Rank: Associate Professor
Other RIG members: Tyler Fox, Amy Lambert

Summary: This RIG has two goals: (1) to identify overlaps in how IAS faculty approach teaching life sciences, arts practice, and STS, and (2) to, if possible, generate a grant proposal to NSF about developing and assessing modules for using science-arts to teach students about the connections between science and society. IAS—and UWB more generally—have a number of faculty who teach in these areas, but we have not had the chance to carve out space to share our ideas. Moreover, true to our interdisciplinary vision, we often have formal training in only one of these areas.

The time is ripe for these conversations within the biology education research community, as well. The Vision and Change Report (AAAS, 2011) highlights biology and society as one of six core competencies. Specifically, the Report states that every biology students should “Have the ability to understand the relationship between science and society” and that “biology is conducted in a social context.” While the other five competencies have generated lots of research within the biology education community about how best to teach them, the competency around biology and society remains largely untouched. Perhaps this gap exists because biologists lack training in STS. The unique combination of life scientists, STS scholars, and science artists in IAS (and at UWB more generally) make this a great place to identify strategies for filling this gap. Eventually we would like to submit a grant proposal to NSF, but it is currently unclear whether this is achievable within a year.

The core members will meet monthly and, possibly, biweekly once we begin to write the grant proposal. We will refine ideas generated at weekly and quarterly meetings to identify the areas of overlap that the RIG identifies. In the initial stages, the bulk of the work will be done at meetings. However, once grant writing begins, we recognize that the core members will need to present deliverable products at each meeting.

Funding awarded: $1500

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Project title: Advancing SoTL
Name of Contact: Linda Watts
Position/Rank: Professor
Other RIG members: not named

Summary: This spring 2016 RIG will support the efforts of IAS faculty members seeking intellectual community around specific projects contemplated or underway in the scholarship of teaching and learning.  It proposes to:

  1. provide ongoing structure and support for faculty exploration of SoTL
  2. promote best practices in SoTL at UWB
  3. encourage dissemination of instructional innovations and insights, both at and beyond UWB

The RIG responds to the expressed needs of participants in two currently active faculty learning communities (Reflective Practice FLC and CBLR Fellows Program) for mentoring, peer guidance, and ongoing support for projects (especially first forays) into SoTL. Participation is not limited to these groups, but will likely bring together IAS faculty members of both groups with IAS faculty who have not been a part of those two specific ventures.

During Spring quarter 2016, 4-8 participants will meet every other week for 60-90 minute discussions. Each session will combine multiple elements: guidance in best practices of SoTL, touch-base conversations about works-in-progress, and targeted discussions/feedback on individual participant's projects.   Funding is set aside for production for 'Advancing SoTL' participants to produce and present poster sessions on work at conferences and symposia if claimed by June 2016.

Budget granted: $1000

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Project title: Contemplative Practice as Pedagogy
Name of Contact: Alice Pedersen
Position/Rank: Lecturer Full-Time (IAS)
Other RIG members: Kristin Gustafson Amy Lambert

Summary: This RIG convenes faculty who are interested in integrating contemplative practice into their classroom pedagogies. “Contemplative practice” includes, but is not limited to, silent meditation, guided meditation, somatic movement, forms of self-study, and varying mindfulness practices. As a group, we bring many years of collective contemplative practice to the table, and have seen how it enriches our own lives. For example, contemplative practice can help to create a healthy work environment, contribute to deepened reflection on the scholarship of teaching and learning, disrupt unhealthy patterns related to work load and anxiety, enrich our conversations with colleagues, and in general help us to become more compassionate instructors. We are curious, therefore, how introducing these practices into the classroom will impact the learning environment, and what forms of knowledge, ways of knowing, and encounters with the material they might make possible for students. We represent a wide spectrum of disciplines, from the humanities to the social sciences to science and art. While it is not our intention to universalize the experience of contemplative practice, we do want to explore how making space for non-rational, embodied experiences can contribute to our teaching and students’ learning in these diverse spaces.

During the course of this RIG, we plan to share readings and resources on how to facilitate contemplative practice in the classroom; workshop our own ideas and develop them into lesson plans; implement the lesson plans and debrief them with the group; lead one another in our lessons/practices; and, if possible, begin developing our findings into an article. We would also be happy to share our best practices, or findings, with the wider IAS faculty.


Fall: create bibliography of resources; initial meeting to discuss our own practices and goals for introducing contemplative practice in the classroom

Winter: workshop and develop lesson plans; implement lesson plans; debrief

Spring: retreat to Whiteley Center: each participant will lead the group in a practice that they use in class, and explain how it supports the Learning Objectives of the course. Debrief on the stakes, obstacles, and issues that come up from using these practices in the academic classroom. Discussion of next steps as a RIG, including potential publication.

This proposed RIG is the extension of a TLC started in Fall 2016. One of our primary aims is to solidify our work together, heighten its visibility on campus, and thereby be able to offer these practices and insights to the wider community from a place of support and collaboration.

Budget granted: $1000

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Project title: Urban Gardens
Name of Contact: Martha Groom
Position/Rank: Professor
Other RIG members: Christian Anderson, Jennifer Atkinson, Jin-Kyu Jung, Amy Lambert, Lauren Lichty, Santiago Lopez, Rebeca Rivera, Adam Romero

Summary: This research interest group seeks to support members’ individual interests in urban agriculture and to explore potential collective work.  At present, RIG members are engaged in separate initiatives.  They share common interests in enhancing curricula in ways that help engage students in food system research on campus and near campus community gardens and working farms.  The Urban Gardens RIG is intended to promote exchange around these efforts and explore they might fruitfully be grown. Monthly meetings (rotating among community gardens/farms; at the site of the future UWB Campus Garden, etc) will discuss connected research interests and promote greater knowledge of local opportunities.

Funding will support group travel to local garden/farm sites in the region (using UW vehicles), pilot projects that could help support larger funding requests, and regional speakers for a colloquium series.

We will consider the project successful if we have a stronger plan for both research and teaching about urban gardens/agriculture/food systems, with our efforts better mapped across our curricula, and individual or collective efforts advanced to new stages.

Budget granted: $1500

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Project title: Investigating Racial Disparities in Health
Name of Contact: Shauna Carlisle
Position/Rank: Assistant Professor
Other RIG members: Andrea Stone (Assistant Professor, NHS), Geetha Thamalirasu (Assistant Professor, STEM/CSS)

Summary: The purpose of this research group is to examine social and racial inequalities that result in health disparities. We will examine the social context and social predictors of poor health across multiple chronic health indicators and across a diverse group of foreign- and native-born respondents. A key focus of this group is to examine the relationship between perceived and actual racial/ethnic discrimination and health.  We will launch two studies 3-4 months apart.  The first is an adolescent health study for which we are seeking IRB approval, and a second the Black women's health study for which we have just received IRB approval.

This truly interdisciplinary research interest group has drawn on the expertise and interests of each member in its project design and development.  Geetha Thamilarasu (and her undergraduate student) have contributed to the development of a health information AP that will assist in collecting health related qualitative data from participants.  Shauna Carlisle and Andrea Stone have developed the survey instruments, research design, and have recruited a team of 5 undergraduate students to work on both research projects.  We intended to launch and complete data collections for both pilot studies and use the findings to write or resubmit grant proposals for a larger study, according to the timeline below.  We anticipate that each investigator will have one first authored publication in draft form by the end of the RIG.

Budget granted: $3000