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From Improv to Book Design, Five Faculty to Broaden Skills through New Grant Program

Five Duke University faculty members have been awarded Faculty Teaching/Research Enhancement Grants (FTREG) to acquire skills, knowledge, or experiences outside or beyond their main disciplines.

A key goal of Together Duke is to invest in faculty as scholars and leaders of the university’s intellectual communities. FTREG is a new grant program intended to enhance faculty members’ capacity to carry out original research and provide transformative learning experiences for students.

iO Summer Five-Week Intensive in Improvisation

Jody McAuliffe, Theater Studies and Slavic & Eurasian Studies, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

To deepen her knowledge of improvisation, McAuliffe will take part in the Summer Five-Week Intensive offered by the iO Theater in Chicago. Each week, a different iO teacher will instruct the class in a particular aspect of the curriculum. The program culminates in a performance in the iO Theater. This intensive experience will enhance McAuliffe’s ability to teach improvisation to undergraduate and graduate students at Duke, including Master of Engineering students enrolled in the Design Thinking course. She will also offer a new course in improvisation to undergraduates in Theater Studies.

Alexander Technique Training Workshops

Eric Pritchard, Music, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Pritchard will attend workshops on the Alexander Technique at Holy Names College in Spokane and the Barstow Institute at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He has been offering an Alexander Technique course for performing musicians, MUS 116, every semester since Fall 2017, and would like to open the class to undergraduates who are studying dance and theater. The workshop in Washington will give him access to a team of distinguished instructors grounded in multiple artistic disciplines. The Nebraska workshop will provide access to a different group of teachers than the ones he has worked with before.

Book Design and Typography

Christopher Sims, Center for Documentary Studies, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

A monograph of Sims’ photography project, Theater of War: The Pretend Villages of Iraq and Afghanistan, will be published in Spring 2021. To leverage this opportunity and gain insights into the field of book design and print publication, Sims will attend two workshops. The San Francisco Center for the Book “Introduction to Book Arts” course is a two-day intensive workshop designed for experimentation across disciplines. Lensculture’s “Book Design Masterclass” in Amsterdam is a six-day collaborative workshop covering the practical aspects of book-making as well as how to solve the challenge of the printed book medium—shifting from singular images to the book as an object.

Linking Community Forest Carbon Management and Wildlife Movement with Geospatial Technologies

Jennifer Swenson, Environmental Sciences and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment

Swenson plans to explore how her research can be applied in a unique indigenous land management context. In Mexico, she will meet with a nongovernmental organization, Integrator of Indigenous and Campesino Communities of Oaxaca (ICICO), and community leaders. Together they will consider how to complement their current field efforts for wildlife (e.g., camera traps) with geospatial models of connectivity. Using data gathered through previous monitoring, she will help the communities select species for conservation efforts. Then, using geospatial analysis combined with participatory land use planning techniques, they can determine the siting of biological corridors or conservation areas for these species. If their efforts are successful, this will be Mexico’s first wildlife corridor that is based on community lands. Swenson, Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza, and John Poulsen have assembled a group of three master’s students to contribute to this work.

Enhancing Teaching of Marine Science and Ethics through Faculty Collaboration

Rebecca Vidra, Environmental Sciences and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment

The grant will support a two-week summer residency at the Duke Marine Lab, where Vidra will meet with colleagues, visit their classrooms, and participate in some of their research projects. Drawing on the strengths of Marine Lab faculty, Vidra will develop a three-week module on marine issues for ENVIRON 102: Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy, and will prepare a course proposal for an undergraduate/graduate seminar on the ethics of marine conservation and policy. Vidra will also forge new collaborations that build on her research on community-based fisheries management in Kauai, in order to bring this work into her teaching.

See all current initiatives in the Together Duke academic strategic plan.

Image, left to right: Jody McAuliffe, Eric Pritchard, Christopher Sims, Jennifer Swenson, Rebecca Vidra