Our Engaged Faculty

American Voices: A Teaching American History Grant Project

John Tully, Academic Director
Marie Gray, Project Director

Beginning in 2009, the American Voices grant project funds professional development seminars and workshops for elementary and middle school teachers using literacy to teach American history presented by faculty from the CCSU History and Reading/Language Arts Departments.  This grant project has worked with teachers from 12 school districts in central Connecticut over a three-year period providing enhanced content knowledge and pedagogical skills and techniques.  Learn more… (link “American Voices: A Teaching American History Grant Project” article)

Contact
John Tully
Associate Professor
Department of History
TullyJ@ccsu.edu

Project CLIMB Higher

Joan Nicoll-Senft 

Starting in February 2012, the Special Education Department and New Britain's CLIMB program began a new partnership.  The CLIMB Program assists New Britain's students with disabilities, ages 18 to 21, with job preparation, life skills, and their ability to be a productive member of the community.

Our three students, Michael Abreu, Rhiannon Gunn, and Arnaldo Sanchez, come to CCSU each week to get experience with the specific technologies used in Academics at Central. So far they have worked with Adobe Captivate, Turning Point, blogging using CCSYou, SMARTBoard and many other media the Center offers.

CCSU students can serve as mentors and role models to CLIMB students.  This is especially important for students that are preparing to be teachers.  CLIMB students receive vocational training, socialization, and opportunities to engage in many activities on a college campus.

Contact:
Joan Nicoll-Senft
Associate Professor
Department of Special Education
nicoll-senftj@ccsu.edu 

Vietnam Veterans Magazine Project

Mary Collins

In spring 2012, the students in Professor Mary Collins’ ENG 483 class  interviewed Vietnam Veterans in CT and helped them transform those interviews into essays. The students also wrote personal essays of their own on themes related to war, Vietnam, recruitment, etc. The finished 125-page book will be handed out for free at the Homecoming event for 1500 CT Vietnam Veterans on March 31.

Students worked as professional editors on a five week project that required a writing and editing pace you'd normally only see in a professional organization.  While students had no immediate connection to Vietnam whatsoever, the project brought that war into their lives and world view and altered their understanding of American history. They also validated the Vietnam Veterans, many who felt ashamed of their service and had never talked about it.

Contact:
Mary Collins
Associate Professor
Department of English
collinsmae@ccsu.edu

Skilled Manufacturing Training Program

Eric Daniel Kirby 

The Skilled Manufacturing Training Program provides interested students the opportunity to build their manufacturing skills to meet the needs of local hiring manufacturers.  ITBD has solicited local manufacturers who are interested in putting up tax-deductible funds for this program.  Manufacturing-oriented students have been selected from New Britain and Goodwin Technical high schools, and Hartford Job Corps.  The students are given approximately 140 hours of classroom and laboratory instruction at CCSU, 40 hours of on-the-job training at partner companies, and 12 hours of professional/interpersonal skills training at ITBD.  At CCSU, students are given instruction through demonstrations, online training courses, and laboratory exercises that build skills that they need to meet the needs of the partner companies. 

This program indirectly helps CCSU students by allowing CCSU faculty to develop training methods and curricula based on first-hand experience with local manufacturers who communicate this need to us and later evaluate how well our students meet their needs.  Specific skills in-demand can be directly ascertained, and more effective learning methods developed for these skills. 

Currently, manufacturers around the state are having a difficult time filling skilled manufacturing positions, and most high-school graduates only have basic skills.  This program allows local manufacturers to sponsor a basic apprenticeship program with tax-deductible funds, and the bulk of the training taking place off-site.  Manufacturers have a lower amount of resources needed for on-the-job training, and can hire local employees who are ready to work and have ties to the community.  Job seekers have a way to build up their skills with this free program, and find a job with a forward-thinking company that is well-invested in hiring them.  The community benefits because this creates jobs locally, and gives manufacturers a chance to hire competent employees who can help them stay competitive.

Contact:
Eric Daniel Kirby
Assistant Professor
Department of Manufacturing and Construction Management
kirbyerd@ccsu.edu

Innovation Acceleration

Drew Harris

In Fall 2011, the School of Business and the ITBD co-hosted, with the UConn School of Engineering a seminar and poster competition on Oct. 20, 2011. The following month ECSU held a follow-up competition in which our students participated. The seminar was on selling, especially to investors and government agencies. The poster competition involved students from four universities presenting posters on business concepts. There was a preliminary round of judging at CCSU with a final round at the ECSU event. Approximately 80 community members voted in the CCSU event.

CCSU students had the opportunity to try out business ideas on an audience of business people, engineers, investors, attorneys, entrepreneurs and other members of the business community. They had extended conversations and feedback about their ideas and presentations. Most students expanded their professional network. The process provided added engagement for students' course work. The publicity enhanced the reputation associated with CCSU's programs and education. Students made contacts with other students at near-by universities, expanding their peer network.

People learned more about CCSU and experienced our students skill in an engaging and impressive activity. For many, there were opportunities to learn something about a particular market the students had researched. For UConn School of Engineering it enhanced their reputation as innovative, partnering outside their university campus.

Contact:

Drew Harris
Professor
Department of Management and Organization
harrisdrl@ccsu.edu

 

CCSU-Shipman & Goodwin Elevator Pitch Competition

Drew Harris

Every semester, CCSU’s Entrepreneurship Club collaborates with Shipman & Goodwin, LLP to fund a public speaking competition where students make a one minute presentation of a business idea. A judging panel of 5-15 business leaders evaluate the presentations and award cash prizes in several categories. The judges also give students feedback about their presentation skills and business ideas. The program is run every semester. The ENT301 - Introduction to Entrepreneurship course is linked to the competition, but it is open to all CCSU students. We have averaged about 2 non-School of Business students per semester. 

Student prepare and experience a meaningful public speaking presentations. They develop judgment skills in deciding what elements of a business plan need to be expressed in a very short amount of time. Students report that the competition increases their engagement and sense of relevance with their course work, especially ENT301 students. Because of the publicity created by this event, the reputation of CCSU and, especially, the School of Business is enhanced.

The judges get exposed to high quality presentations from our students. They learn from our students, get an early view of potential employees and/or companies to invest in (At least five students have received follow-on inquiries from investors who have served as judges). Through publicity in the event, about a hundred members of the business community are reminded of the innovative resources available at CCSU.

Contact:

Drew Harris
Professor
Department of Management and Organization
harrisdrl@ccsu.edu

TRiO Educational Talent Search (ETS) Program

Tom Menditto

The Federal grant funded CCSU Trio Educational Talent Search (ETS) Program will involve 500 CSDNB students representing each of the District's middle schools, New Britain High School and the New Britain Adult Education Program.  TRiO provides free of cost:  academic and/or personal advising, career exploration, career competency development, tutorial services, guidance on post-secondary education and secondary school reentry/GED, cultural events, field trips, exposure to college campuses, and information on admissions/scholarships/loans/financial planning.

CCSU students tutor CSDNB middle, high school and adult education program students in the academic areas of math, language arts, and science.  The CCSU students are honing their tutoring skills and are working with the University Learning Center to become College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) certified.

CSDNB schools involved with TRiO services benefit from the academic support given to their students and from the exposure they receive to opportunities in higher education.  In addition, TRiO offers sessions in career competency development at the middle, high school and adult education program levels to prepare New Britain students for NBHS graduation requirements and the workforce.

Contact:

Tom Menditto
CCSU Trio Educational Talent Search (ETS) Program
Menditto@ccsu.edu

 

Clinical site for the Community Health Center, Inc.'s Nurse Practitioner Residency Program

Christopher Diamond, MD

The Community Health Center Inc. Nurse Practitioner Residency Program is a unique post-graduate training program for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.  Students have the experience of being part of the education of future healthcare providers.  They get a better understanding of the training involved to become a healthcare provider and learn about the types of medical providers they may encounter in their lives.  The community benefits whenever healthcare providers have diverse and high quality educational opportunities.

Contact:

Christopher Diamond
Director
Health Services
diamondchr@ccsu.edu

Engaged Blue Devil Bystander Workshop

Christopher Diamond, MD

In Spring 2012, the department of Student Affairs collaborated with Community Central on a workshop for about ten Americorps volunteers to help them understand how people will or won't act as empowered bystanders when appropriate.  The workshop provides a framework for explaining empowered bystander behavior, review some relevant research, and teach some basic skills for intervening using The 5 Decision Making Steps (Notice it, interpret it (know it for what it is), own it, know what to do, do it) and The S.E.E. Model (Safe, Early, Effective). 

Students learn how to act when faced with problematic situations and how to teach others to do so.  At some point, we hope they will take this type of training into their classrooms.

Contact:
Christopher Diamond
Director
Health Services
diamondchr@ccsu.edu

 

Literature as Art: Arts Integration in the Language Arts

Catherine Kurkjian

The Literature as Art project is an ongoing collaboration between students in Professor Kurkjian’s  RDG 589 and Prudence Crandall Center.  In this community engagement project teachers enrolled in a graduate course in language arts engage in inquiry with children who permanently reside in a shelter for battered women. This project treats literature as art with music, movement, drama and the visual arts.  It is designed to encourage a love of literature and the arts among participants and to open doors for teachers to explore their own inner artist. It also explores the role of the arts in the teaching of language arts. Groups of teachers rotate in three times during the semester and work with 10 children ages 6 to 14 on arts integration. The fourth session will be an open house which will involve all participants and parents, and other invited guests to showcase projects. 

Anticipated benefits: CCSU students benefit by learning about and trying out arts integration strategies that they can bring back to their classrooms. They also have the opportunity to engage in small group and whole class collaboration. This means that teachers have the opportunity to learn from teachers from various grade levels: some teachers are early childhood and elementary level, others are middle school teachers and others are at the high school level. They must plan together to create and implement an actual unified curriculum project together.

Professor benefits by being a provided with a real setting to contextualize teaching, and a forum in which to conduct teacher research to inform instruction and to build curriculum. Data will be collected from student artifacts, reflections, online teacher to teacher small group conversations, interviews from staff at the center, and from the children who are the participants.

It is anticipated that children at the Center will benefit by exploring the joys of the arts as a way to learn about the world. Each of the three sessions spotlight one of the arts in integration with others. It is anticipated that children will develop skills in visual arts, poetry, the dramatic arts/movement, and music. More importantly the goal is to invite students in further engagement in using these communication systems for inquiry and self-expression.

Contact:
Catherine Kurkjian
Professor
Department of Reading and Language Arts
kurkjianc@ccsu.edu

CCSU Mural Program

Mike Alewitz

The CCSU Mural Program is a unique public art initiative and the site of one of the largest concentrated collections of murals in the country. With a focus on community outreach--both on and off campus--the CCSU Mural Painting Program has helped educate aspiring muralists, fine artists and art teachers since its founding in 2001.

Muralists have interacted with other artists, students, governments, churches, and working people. Images have been applied in painstaking fashion to fresco plaster and with the agility of a spray can. In keeping with this tradition, the mural painting curriculum is distinct from many other fine-art programs. Students not only go through a rigorous planning and proposal process but must then work with the local community--which, on campus, means other students, faculty and staff.

Read more about this program: http://www.ccsu.edu/page.cfm?p=7753

Contact:
Mike Alewitz
Associate Professor
Department of Art
alewitz@ccsu.edu

 

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