Thursday, April 6, 2017  
STEM faculty develop creative approaches to teaching | Sony animation industry expert to give public lecture
Sharing progress on their innovative STEM teaching curricula are Venture Grant recipients Dr. Eric Mandell (left) and Jadwiga Carlson (right) with grant administrator Dr. Moira van Staaden.
A ‘SEA Change’ in teaching
STEM faculty develop creative approaches to boost student learning

Faculty at BGSU and Owens Community College are “venturing” into new territory to find novel approaches to teaching that they can employ in their undergraduate classrooms. Next semester, eight innovative projects will get underway, thanks to internal Venture grants sponsored by Project SEA Change: Improving Instruction and Enhancing Student Success in the STEM Disciplines. Faculty initiatives include using Lego robots to teach basic principles of computer coding and a video game in which the heroes (students) learn the laws of physics to overcome challenges as they make their way through the game scape.

SEA Change is a five-year, $3 million National Science Foundation grant received by Dr. Moira van Staaden, biological sciences, to introduce new ways of thinking about STEM pedagogy — an area of high need in the United States today. The aim is to get undergraduates off on the right foot, encouraging them to persist, and enhance retention. It builds on some of the best practices that arose from the earlier SETGO five-year NSF grant administered by van Staaden, which also included Owens.

In addition to evidence-based teaching practices, SEA Change also includes a biweekly meeting for faculty to share and network with one another. “We want to broaden the conversation and bring more people in, and develop faculty leadership,” van Staaden said. “You can combine teaching and research very successfully but you need people around you to provide support.”

Given the many demands on faculty, the Venture grants are designed to allow them the time, support or additional resources they need to actually develop and try curricula specific to their disciplines and their own personal teaching style and interests, van Staaden said.


E-Week and The Hatch – The Blade, Sentinel-Tribune, WTOL
Winter Session – BG Independent News
Autism lecture – Sentinel–Tribune
Collab Lab – BG Independent News
Bravo! BGSU – BG Independent News, Sentinel-Tribune
Matching Faces with Places – BG Independent News

Animation artist draws on expertise for BGSU visit

The University’s Digital Arts program welcomes animation industry expert John Nevarez to campus this weekend for workshops and a public lecture.  

Nevarez, an animation artist providing story and art for Sony Pictures Animation, will speak from 5-6 p.m. Saturday (April 8) in 204 Fine Arts Center. His talk is free and open to the public. Free parking on the weekends is available in Lot N, north of the William T. Jerome Library. Nevarez also will present two workshops for BGSU students during his visit to campus.

For the past 18 years, Nevarez has worked for a variety of animation companies. He started at Disney Television as a storyboard revisionist and storyboard artist on such shows as “Pepper Ann” and “Kim Possible,” where he then transitioned over as a designer for DisneyToons, where he worked on “Tinkerbell,” “Kronk’s New Groove” and “Brother Bear 2.”


Paul Causman in “An Iliad”
Beerman enhances ‘An Iliad’ with original music, performance

Dr. Burton Beerman, Distinguished Artist Professor Emeritus, brings his singular talents as a composer and performer to a new interpretation of Homer’s tragedy “The Iliad.” The Valentine Theatre in Toledo will present the one-man show “An Iliad” this weekend, performed by Toledo actor Paul Causman, accompanied by Beerman onstage and through multimedia elements.

In this version of the ancient story, the man most of Toledo knows as Scrooge through his yearly performance with The Toledo Rep’s “A Christmas Carol” takes on a markedly different role. Causman will have no chorus, no props, no dialogue — he will be the single actor, a storyteller, with a script based on a story that has stood the test of time.