Internal grants from ASU and MLFTC support faculty research


Erik Ketcherside

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College faculty and graduate students do groundbreaking work in research and curriculum development, and ASU and MLFTC support this work through competitive internal grants.

Three MLFTC faculty members received awards this spring from the ASU Faculty Fund for Teaching Excellence and Student Success.

Interactive Geometry for Elementary Teachers Hybrid Course Development

  • Principal investigator: Terri Kurz, associate professor
  • Award amount: $5,000
  • Direct sponsor: ASU Faculty Fund for Teaching Excellence and Student Success

Mathematics content area courses can be a stumbling block for teacher candidates. Kurz proposes offering a hybrid version of MTE 281 – Investigating Space: Geometry, Measurement and Visualization, to provide students with an alternative to the course that has previously been offered in person only. The hybrid format, comprising online coursework and face-to-face classes, will allow students to learn some of the content at their own pace via the internet. If approved the course will be available to all instructors in two departments (mathematics and education) across three campuses.

Course Redesign for SPE317 – ​Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children and Youth

  • PIs: Mildred Boveda, assistant professor; Andrea Weinberg, assistant professor
  • Award amount: $10,000
  • Direct sponsor: ASU Faculty Fund for Teaching Excellence and Student Success

The grant will support a redesign of SPE317 – ​Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children and Youth, ​a required course in the MLFTC Elementary and Special Education dual certification program. Boveda and Weinberg will revise SPE317 as a co-taught hybrid course (online and in person)​, that will enable students from across all MLFTC teacher education programs to enroll in ​any​ section of the course. This will afford students greater flexibility and increase the course capacity to 35 students per section, each taught by teams of two instructors

The MLFTC Office of Scholarship and Innovation oversees an internal grants program, an annual competition with proposals from full-time faculty members evaluated by a team of peers for intellectual merit, feasibility and promise of impact, including the potential for securing external grant funding, contributing toward future projects, and sustainability.

Stepping into Interdisciplinary Learning with Dramatic Inquiry and 3D Printing

Farrand will examine teaching and learning experiences of students with visual impairments and their teachers during a weeklong braille literacy camp that incorporates dramatic inquiry and 3D printing. Creating interdisciplinary experiences such as these has the potential to support visually impaired students’ science and literacy development, while contributing to the literature on the use of inclusive teaching practices.

Teacher-Student Teams for Community-Based Energy Engineering Projects

The co-PIs plan a design-based research study bringing together middle and high school students from Title I schools in metropolitan Phoenix in collaborative partnerships with a STEM teacher from their school. Each student-teacher team will design, prototype and implement a community-based energy engineering project. The research team will explore how such participation can help minoritized youth sustain their interest in pursuing STEM trajectories and cultivate identities for themselves as community activists and future engineers.

Sustainability in Whole-of-School Health Programming

The grant provides research assistant support for a study of a whole-school health program implemented in eight districts that participated in a previous five-year study. Observations, surveys and interviews will identify sustainable aspects of the program and help researchers determine what changes may be needed to better support these schools and others in future initiatives. The program has the potential to increase physical activity and improve the health of students.

Democratic Participation Toward Educational Equity in the Era of School Choice

Arizona families with children in schools outside their residential district are ineligible to participate in democratic forms of governance, such as voting in school board elections and tax overrides. This project will use case study method to examine patterns of democratic participation of out-of-district families in Maricopa County, Arizona, particularly minoritized and low-income families. The findings will clarify democratic participation shaped by school choice policies and structural inequities and may help reconceptualize school finance policies and local school board structures.

Applying Translanguaging Theory to Testing — Designing a new technology-enhanced accommodation for English language learners

  • PIs: Yi Zheng, assistant professor; Kevin Close, PhD student (Learning, Literacies and Technologies)

English language proficiency presents a barrier to understanding mathematics exam problems for non-native English speakers. This study proposes a novel, computer-based approach to reducing this language-based measurement bias by applying the concepts of translanguaging — using both English and the native language — to test accommodations. This prototype accommodation has the potential to reduce test inequalities caused by language barriers.

The Office of Scholarship and Innovation also provides a monthly opportunity for faculty members and graduate students to apply for mini-grants — funds to cover small costs that may arise during ongoing research projects. (Read more about faculty mini-grants and previous winners.) Two doctoral students won inaugural doctoral student mini-grants which were awarded at the MLFTC Doctoral Council Education Research Conference.

Santa-Ramirez is using the mini-grant funding for logistical support for his dissertation work, a critical ethnographic case study of the everyday experiences of undocumented Latinx students pursing undergraduate degrees at a large, public, research-intensive university in Arizona. His study is guided by critical race theory, sense of belonging, and active citizenship theoretical frameworks. Santa-Ramirez discusses the PhD in Education Policy and Evaluation.

Ethiopia is working to increase the number of female students in higher education, but retention, performance and graduation rates among women remain significantly lower than among men. Halkiyo, a university instructor in Ethiopia for seven years, is using a mixed methods research design to analyze barriers to an equitable education.