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K-State Today

June 14, 2013



Spring 2013 Engagement Incentive Grant award winners

By Chandra Ruthstrom

The office of the provost and the Center for Engagement and Community Development, or CECD, have awarded five engagement incentive grants for spring 2013. We had outstanding applications from a variety of academic disciplines and wish all of the applicants the best of luck in their future engagement endeavors. Our five funded proposals are:

• "Engaging the Design Students in Developing Rehabilitation Facility Prototype to Assist the Wounded Warriors Returning From Iraq and Afghanistan: A Service Learning Project." Vibhavari Jani, associate professor in the department of interior architecture and product design, leads this project.

Members of this project will work with wounded soldiers, their family members and their caregivers to identify the rehabilitation needs of veterans returning to Kansas from the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Based on their findings, interior architecture and product design graduate students in the College of Architecture Planning and Design will design prototypes for a specialized rehabilitation facility for these soldiers. The prototypes will promote community engagement activities so that the members of the community can provide a buddy system for the wounded veterans and give them the support they need to overcome their ailments, continue their treatments and reconnect with the community they left behind when they went to war. The research findings will be published and presented at national and international venues.

This fall, researchers will continue to understand the needs of soldiers, identify new therapeutic treatments, and develop a prototype for the facility.

• Collaboration: North Salina Community Development, Inc. and Kansas State University Salina. Greg Stephens, David Norlin and Kathy Brockway, all associate professors in the department of arts, sciences and business at Kansas State Salina, lead this project.

This project is focused on the redevelopment and improvement of north Salina through a collaborative effort involving K-State Salina, the North Salina Community Development Inc., or NSCD, and seven other organizations. This geographical space is an older part of town with a population of nearly 3,000 and an income less than the median income of Salina. To assist the NSCD in engaging and informing residents about the redevelopment project, student participants will survey residents and business owners in north Salina to organize community meetings, identify issues and leaders, and identify a communication plan for the neighborhood. Students from Kansas Wesleyan and the Salina Technical College will help assist in marketing, documentation and development of a social media and branding project, Stephens says.

The group is currently bringing collaborators together to continue planning the redevelopment project. Student participants will begin in the fall.

• "Engaging Novice Agricultural Educators in Community Based Service Learning Programs." Brandie Disberger, instructor in the department of communications and agricultural education, leads this project.

This project will promote engagement through an interdisciplinary effort that targets novice agricultural educators. Through collaboration with the College of Agriculture, the College of Human Ecology and the School of Leadership Studies, the project will engage rural communities in service learning projects with novice agricultural educators. This program will focus on providing financial education and service learning exposure to novice agricultural educators in Kansas who are currently in their second to fifth years of teaching.

A two-day conference will be in December at Salina. It will be open to all second to fifth year agricultural education teachers in the state. This two-part program will focus on: making the novice teachers more financially competent and secure so that teaching long-term is an option for them, and connecting the agricultural educators with resources and ideas to complete a service learning project in their communities. After the conference, the teachers will return to their communities and complete a service-learning project with their students during the spring semester.

The ultimate goal of the program is to obtain long-term private funding for this program to increase the retention rate of agricultural educators across the state, Disberger says.

• "Engage, Collaborate, and Counsel to Enhance Educational Capacity." Judy Hughey, associate professor with the department of special education, counseling, and student affairs, leads this project.

The project will develop and implement engagement initiatives for educators, counselors, and faculty to assist military-connected families. These individuals will work in collaboration with the Manhattan Boys and Girls Club to meet the academic, personal, social, behavioral, career and emotional needs of military connected students and families.

A multidisciplinary team will design and provide professional development of theory-based instructional and counseling interventions that will better prepare educators and counselors to work with students and members of military-connected families.

Graduate students in school counseling and current school counselors will be provided knowledge on military culture and its impact on the learning needs of students. They also will be exposed to advanced skill development in individual and group theory, and interventions specific to military trauma, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, communication challenges and family distress. Successful completion of the learning modules addressing these issues will result in counselors earning a Certificate of Competency in Counseling Military Connected Students.

• "Three Words that Changed the World..." Thomas Vontz, associate professor and director of the Center for Social Studies Education, and Arthur DeGroat, director of the office of military affairs, lead this project.

The project, which is through the College of Arts and Sciences, will produce, test and distribute a Freedom Week curriculum that aims to help students of all ages learn more about the political ideals America was founded upon.

HB 2280 is currently under consideration by the Senate Education Committee and is expected to become law. This bill will require all Kansas school districts to appropriately educate their students in the meaning of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. This education will occur during the week of Sept. 17 and will be known as "Freedom Week."

This project is a response to the legislation and will work to create meaningful, interesting and engaging curricula for students. Kansas State University's Center for Social Studies Education and office of military affairs will work in collaboration with Inland Sea Productions and its partners — the National Archives and Records Administration and the Smithsonian Institution — to design, field-test, and distribute an engaging, content-rich, and enduring Freedom Week curricula.

For more information about Center for Engagement and Community Development and the Engagement Incentive Grants, please visit our website.