Elon Innovates issues inaugural grant awards to seven projects

Elon Innovates has announced grant awards totaling $16,000 to seven proposals for the implementation of innovative projects on campus.

Seven innovative projects proposed by Elon faculty, staff and students, will have the support of Elon Innovates’ first-ever grant awards.

Elon Innovates is an initiative arising from the “Boldly Elon” strategic plan that is committed to supporting the innovative engine at Elon. Elon Innovates has announced it will award a total of $16,000 in grants to those seven proposals for the implementation of innovative projects on campus.

The seven winning proposals were selected from a pool of nearly two dozen grant applications, each offering unique ways to improve campus life and/or education at Elon. Faculty, staff and students were asked to develop proposals for innovative projects that help reimagine the university’s practices and deepen its values, its intellectual community, and its impactful work.

While only a handful of projects could be supported in the inaugural year of this initiative, Elon Innovates committee members Crista Arangala, Christopher Waters, Alyssa Martina and Haya Ajjan found all of the applications were driven by a passion to serve and engage the community at Elon.

“I am very excited to see my esteemed colleagues develop such impactful proposals that highlighted their commitment not only to our students but to the innovate process,” said Ajjan.

The committee identified the following seven proposals that especially advanced the work of Elon Innovates, which supports Elon’s model of student- and learning-centered higher education:

Comprehensive experiential transcripts: Helping Elon students tell their story by Rodney Parks, Casey Hayes and Alexander Taylor.

This project aims to build on the Elon Visual Transcript, which is dedicated to recording experiential and applied learning experiences for students. The record is used as a tool that expresses a student’s co-curricular experiences at the university. Funding from the Elon Innovates grant will allow the group to create a mobile-friendly platform that captures more of the depth of a comprehensive student experience. Project partners hope this new system opens the door for students to reflect and talk about their experiences and accomplishments and helps advisors and mentors track student progress using a single tool.

Repository for Interdisciplinary Data by Laura Taylor, Ryne VanKrevelen, and Mark Weaver.

This project involves the development of a repository of data from across disciplines on campus to be used in introductory statistics courses. The repository will emphasize and encourage the interdisciplinarity of the field of statistics, teaching students the utility of statistics in other disciplines. Additionally, this project highlights the importance of data and data skills with students taking introductory statistics courses. Through this, the beneficiaries of this project will be the instructors of introductory statistics courses and others teaching courses that need open datasets, who will have access to contextualized data for use in classes, and students, who will see the variety of disciplines that benefit from statistics.

Building a Community for Underrepresented Business Students by Nicole Filippo, Dinora Guadarrama Flores ’21, Jovani Mendez-Sandoval ’22, and A’Shaela Chaires ’22.

This project aims to take steps toward building a community where Martha and Spencer Love School of Business students from underrepresented populations feel welcome, seen, safe and supported. Those steps include hosting a series of community activities and educational events, as well as expanding the mentorship program at Elon.

Elon Contemporary Chamber Ensemble Concert Series by Jonathan Poquette, Cora S. Palfy, Linda Cykert, Katherine Thomas, and Meagan Skogen.

Elon Music Department faculty plan to create a new contemporary music chamber ensemble, the Elon Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, within the next two years. The chamber will feature Elon faculty, local musicians and rotating guest solo musicians who will host three to four performances each academic year. The goal of the ensemble is to enrich the cultural calendar at Elon, highlight the talent of Elon faculty and raise the university’s national profile as a leader in supporting the arts.

Infusing Sustainability into the COR 110 Curriculum by Robert Perdue, Tom Arcaro, Samantha DiRosa, Elaine Durr, and Kelsey Bitting.

This project aims to encourage faculty to infuse sustainability and climate change-focused material into their COR 110 courses. Funding from the Elon Innovates grant will allow the group to provide five Elon professors from diverse disciplines with a stipend to develop a module/section of sustainability and climate-centered content for their COR 110 courses.

Marketplace Under the Oaks by Aidan Steinbach ‘23, Kobie Williams ‘22, Trinity Swepson ‘24 and Claire Bach ’21.

Marketplace Under the Oaks is an inclusive initiative providing opportunities for students to develop their entrepreneurial skills. The initiative offers weekly workshops led by Elon faculty, staff and alumni, and hosts other events to help students from a variety of backgrounds jumpstart their own businesses. The project will use grant funding to support students in creating LLCs or corporations, registering their business names, obtaining permits and licenses, and much more.

Connecting Community: Access, Inclusion, and Diversity in Dance by David McGraw, Wen Guo, Lauren Kearns, Jen Guy Metcalf, Renay Aumiller, Casey Avaunt, and Keshia Wall.

Arts Administration faculty and students are partnering with Dance faculty to host a two-day dance workshop for high school students and the local dance community in November 2021. The workshop aims to increase the accessibility, visibility and equitable dissemination of dance education resources and dance career development to students and community members with an interest in dance. The workshop integrates a series of workshops on dance career development and dance auditions and invites students to see Elon’s Fall Dance Concert to witness a range of performance styles and collaborations.