More about the grant program and funded projects is at:

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga expertise is well-represented among 25 winning proposals for the first-ever “One UT Collaboration and Innovation Grants” funded by the UT System.

UTC Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering Ahmed Eltom together with Leon Tolbert, head of the UT Knoxville Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, won for their joint proposal for a “power-balancing router”—a device to work with algorithms that control power grids toward correcting imbalances using existing, grid-connected power electronics converters.

Rachel Fleming, scholarly communications librarian for the UTC Library, authored a winning proposal to support growth and development of open and affordable course materials initiatives across the UT System through creation of virtual infrastructure for cross-campus collaboration. Given the expense of textbooks and other course materials, helping reduce the cost of education for students is a goal. Fleming’s project team includes multiple UT Knoxville colleagues.

UTC Counseling Program Executive Director Elizabeth O’Brien and Assistant Professor Kevin Doyle won for their proposal to work together with teams at counseling centers at UT Knoxville and UT Martin, along with O’Brien’s and Doyle’s counseling colleagues at UTC, to study the relationship of mental health services to student retention and graduation toward supporting both.

Michelle Rigler, executive director of the UTC Disability Resource Center and Mosaic program, and Amy Rutherford, Mosaic associate director, will collaborate with Bruce Keisling, a UT Health Science Center professor of developmental pediatrics, on another winning project: “Leadership, Advocacy and Practice in Autism Spectrum Disorder.” It calls for faculty, staff and students from the UTHSC Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities and the UTC Mosaic program to jointly create a sustainable, interdisciplinary learning collaborative across both campuses. Goals include promotion of leadership and community advocacy skills for degree-seeking students with ASD and expanded knowledge and expertise in future providers of support for people with developmental disabilities including ASD.

UTC Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning Dawn Ford, also executive director of the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning is a member of the project team for the winning proposal, “High-Impact Practices in Online and Hybrid Education.” The group includes other experts in online learning or information technology at the UT Health Science Center, UT Knoxville and UT Martin who will collaborate in creating a webinar series and symposium as faculty resources for online and hybrid course development toward enhanced student success.

Renee Murley, director of the UTC School of Education, has a role to play in two successful proposals. She is a member of the multi-campus project team for “Sharing Best Practices in Teacher Education: Ethics for Educators,” which will produce an online series of interactive learning modules based on real-world ethical scenarios frequently faced by classroom teachers. Murley also supported development of a proposal to create a systemwide resource to better prepare future teachers to pass math tests required for licensure as a math teacher in Tennessee. By helping education graduates succeed in licensure exams for teaching math, the project also aims to enhance math preparation of Tennessee high school graduates and reduce the need for remedial math instruction in college.

Two faculty members, Engineering Management and Technology Assistant Professor Aldo McLean and Education Associate Professor Jennifer Ellis are the UTC collaborators who will work with UT Knoxville colleagues on a project that could, ultimately, support growth of Tennessee’s STEM workforce. The project aims to enhance K-12 STEM education by creating and conducting professional development for STEM instructional coaches.

Another funded project that impacts STEM studies—promoting the field with girls—is one of two on which UTC Engineering and Computer Science Dean Daniel Pack will be a researcher. “Girls Achieving in Mathematics, Engineering, Science,” or GAMES, is to develop a program to encourage girls interest in those fields using “chess and other strategy games.”

Pack also is a member of the research team on a project to “ease the burden of Alzheimer’s dementia by forming a cross-campus, cross-discipline research team” to develop statewide strategic initiatives to enhance research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The team will integrate technologies from robotics, neuroimaging, cognitive science, machine learning and dementia caregiving toward developing and piloting “a social robot system that can comprehend, assist, relieve and evaluate patients” with dementia.

All proposals were required to support one of three focus areas: education, research or outreach and engagement. A total of more than $1 million will fund all of the winning proposals.

“We wanted to support innovative ideas that create collaborative opportunities and advance the university,” UT President Randy Boyd said. “The selected grant winners do just that.”

Almost 300 projects were submitted and went through multiple rounds of evaluation based on proposed innovation, collaboration, impact and alignment with the UT System Strategic Plan.

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call 423-425-4363.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

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