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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • Graduate Student Field Work

Past Recipients

Teaching Excellent Grants in Integrative Learning

Full-time faculty members interested in helping students connect what they learn in the classroom to beyond-the-classroom experiences applied for grants of $500 - $3,500 to develop instructional materials or pedagogical strategies that help students meaningfully connect theory and practice in ways that reinforce course learning outcomes.

Award Recipients 2016–2017

The Center for Teaching Excellence, in collaboration with the Office of Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning awarded 10 grants to applicants or teams of applicants to incorporate integrative-learning activities into a course that they teach or to implement program-level initiatives to enhance students' learning over a series of several courses or within a major or other academic program. Submitted projects targeted either existing or new undergraduate courses or programs.

Darin Freeburg, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Science
(SLIS 41O, SUS 726: Knowledge Management for Library & Information Professionals)

Knowledge Management for Library & Information Professionals is an introduction to the theory and practice of Knowledge Management (KM) in organizations. The proposed project will enhance student's understanding of how knowledge differs from information and data, and what its role is in an organization. The project will also help students identify the appropriateness and efficacy of KM­ as well as its limitations-in different organizations, in ways that case studies simply cannot replicate. Rather than rely on existing information about an organization, students will go out and interview organizational leaders with specific KM-related questions. Students will analyze this data about processes and infrastructure, relying on classroom readings, lectures, and discussions to identify areas where KM is being practiced effectively, as well as opportunities to increase KM. Taking the course will give students a career advantage once they graduate, as they will have experience with integrating KM into organizational practices.

Darin Freeburg


Patrick Hickey, Clinical Associate Professor, College of Nursing
(SCHC 392: Perioperative Environment: Basic Survival Skills)

SCHC 392 Perioperative Environment: Basic Survival Skills is a one-credit hour elective exclusively for Capstone Scholars or Honors College students. The course was designed to meet a need for students that were interested in the surgical setting of healthcare. The course outcomes of describing the historical evolution of surgery, the roles of the surgical team, and the standards that maintain quality of care are not hard to address in lecture format. However, instructional education on patient and staff safety risks, infection control, aseptic and sterile technique, patient positioning, and proper utilization of surgical equipment would be better delivered in a "hands-on" integrative learning format. This project will develop an integrative learning opportunity that effectively reiterates/demonstrates lessons learned in the classroom. Students will participate in an educationally purposeful beyond-the-classroom experience which consists of physically going to an operating room environment. The addition of integrative learning processes will include also include sharing group PowerPoints in order to expose more PreMed/PA students, and presenting surgical case at Discovery Day.

Patrick HickeyHickey

R. Mac Jones, Assistant Professor of English, Extended University
(PALM 493, PALM 494, UNIV 401: E-Portfolios for BLS and BOL Degree Programs- Palmetto College)

 Mac Jones' project will develop a plan for the program-wide use of e-portfolios in the core courses for the Bachelor of Organizational Leadership (BOL) and Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) degrees offered by Palmetto College. BLS and BOL are interdisciplinary degrees, and the aim of the e-portfolios will be to provide students with a transportable repository of materials and complementary assignments to aid them in articulating their unique academic experiences to potential employers and graduate programs. The e-portfolios will challenge students to produce a narrative of their academic career and highlight their capacity for dynamic critical thinking across disciplines. Students will leave the degree program with this narrative and artifacts, in the form of assignments collected from the core courses that are reflective of this capacity for independent, interdisciplinary thought.


Zhenlong Li, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography
(GEOG 554: Spatial Programming)

GEOG 554 Spatial Programming aims to help students achieve deeper understanding of geographic information systems (GIS) concepts and equip them with fundamental spatial programming skills to solve practical spatial problems. Feedback from students identified two issues. First, the students have a wide variety of backgrounds and interests, and the reasons for taking the course vary greatly. Secondly, most students lack the ability to analyze the spatial problems to solve them programmatically. Because of these issues, Li felt the need to improve the instructional approach by redesigning the instructional strategies and revising the course materials/presentation style. This project will incorporate integrative learning components into the instructional approach to help students improve their problem solving skills using spatial programming. A problem-oriented instructional strategy will be added to the course, including learning through reflection activities and connecting coursework to career goals.

Zhenlong LiZhenlong Li

Haylee Uecker Mercado, Assistant Professor, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, Sport and Entertainment Management
(SPTE 590: Sustainable Sport and Entertainment Facility Management)

In the new Sustainable Sport and Entertainment Facility Management course students learn how sustainable management practices affect all functional areas of sport and entertainment facility operations. Course projects will expand students’ understanding of environmental sustainability in the sport and entertainment sector and develop students' management skills, analytical tools, and program development. General Managers from various facilities will visit the class early in the semester for several round-table discussions about the sustainability efforts of their building. Students will then be assigned to a specific facility as the basis of a class project. Specifically the students will do a sustainability audit of their facility and will evaluate at least four aspects of a sport organization specific to sustainability. This immersive method of gaining experience, knowledge and skills provides a positive outcome and a greater understanding of the characteristics of effective sustainable management creating an environment in which students graduate with industry specific skills.

Haylee Uecker MercadoHaylee Uecker Mercado

Damien Picarello, Assistant Professor, Political Science and GLD Advisor USC Sumter
(UNIV 401: Graduation with Leadership Distinction)

Graduation with Leadership distinction (GLD) has a significant and growing role on the USC Sumter campus. Through the process of offering UNIV 401 for the first time, both the staff instructor and faculty advisor became aware of the limited availability of beyond the classroom activities on the USC Sumter campus. Picarello’s project will enhance and expand GLD on the Sumter campus. Making a wider variety of beyond the classroom activities available to USC Sumter students will enhance the experiences of current GLD students, provide more points of entry for potential GLD candidates into the GLD process, and enable far more USC Sumter students - whether or not they ultimately pursue GLD - to connect their learning within the classroom to a range of activities and experiences beyond the classroom.

Damien PicarelloDamien Picarello

Charles Pierce, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
(ECIV 101: Introduction to Civil Engineering, ECIV 201: Computational Methods for Civil Engineering)

Pierce’s proposal aims to develop and implement the foundation for a programmatic Integrative Learning Plan (ILP) within the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) focusing primarily on the first two years of the curriculum. The goal of this proposal is to create a structured curricular approach for raising student awareness about purposeful involvement and integrative learning. The two proposed ILP courses are distinctly different from one another in terms of instructional content and delivery, making them good candidates for introducing integrative learning from two different perspectives. The plan will elevate and, hopefully, institutionalize student awareness of the GLD program. However, even if students choose not to pursue GLD or do not meet the GPA requirements, the ILP will expose all students to the value of pursuing meaningful extracurricular activities and reflecting on how these experiences are connected to their academic learning.

Charles PierceCharles Pierce

Susan Rathbun-Grubb, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Science
(SLIS 735: Metadata, SUS 732: Indexing and Abstracting)

SUS735-Metadata and SUS 732-lndexing and Abstracting require students to plan and design digital collections and to create and use taxonomies for information. While the courses assess the students' ability to plan for a system, the instructor was unable to adequately demonstrate, teach, or assess skills related to implementation and testing of the planned systems. A 16-month subscription to the Microsoft SharePoint content management system will allow the instructor to bridge the theory-practice divide by enabling students to practice implementation skills and to evaluate usability. Moreover, the system will enable students to make the vital connection between metadata design "best practices" and the demonstrable evidence of a real system that can be utilized and tested. The addition of a reflective portion to the assignments will also give students the opportunity to assess the effectiveness of their design decisions in a system they are very likely to encounter when they join the workforce as a professional.

Susan Rathbun-GrubbSusan Rathbun-Grubb

Armen Shaomian, Assistant Professor, Department of Sport and Entertainment Management
(SPTE 590: The Business of Broadway)

This entirely new course designed to explore and understand the multibillion-dollar Broadway industry will focus on knowledge and skills that will assist students in promoting positive change in professional settings. As an integral part of the live-entertainment industry, this course will fill a large gap in the entertainment management portion of the Sport and Entertainment Management degree, not only by increasing students' knowledge and awareness of the business and management aspects of Broadway, but also channeling them into entertainment management careers through the benefit of their high-level of management expertise accrued in specific relation to this course. Shaomian intends for this course to be an exciting and new course option, using integrative learning methods for management students engaged in the USC Connect Graduation with Leadership Distinction (GLD) program. Students will be provided with unique insights into the creative and artistic world that translate across all managerial disciplines by including several peer leadership opportunities throughout the course.

Armen ShaomianArmen Shaomian

David Weintraub, Senior Instructor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications
(JOUR 499-001: Freelancing for Creative Professionals)

Weintraub’s project will retool the existing special-topics course, Freelancing for Creative Professionals, into an elective course with a permanent place in the curriculum. The course examines the theory and practice of entrepreneurship as they apply to creative professionals. Students learn the skills and techniques necessary for starting and operating their own successful freelance business. An important component of the course is integrative learning, in this case exposing students to professionals working in creative fields through interviews with local entrepreneurs; sales pitches to actual clients; business proposals to clients or investors; guest speakers in the classroom, field visits to business run by local entrepreneurs, and Skype interviews with leading experts. The goal of this project is to retool both the course content and the instructional methods to provide students with an enriched integrative-learning experience.

David WeintraubDavid Weintraub

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.