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Quality First Initiatives- Earlier Projects

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University Planning Council

Earlier Projects


A Multi-Faceted Professional Development Program for Examining and Addressing Issues in Retention
The Kean University Writing Project has engaged in a range of activities involving both high school teachers and Kean faculty staff to support students' transition to and retention in college. Completed activities include (1) round table discussions between high school teachers and Kean / faculty staff that underscored the need for continuity in classroom strategies for engaging students and (2) four summer session I workshops for Kean faculty on assessment, responding to student writing, the writing skills of international students, and academic content reading strategies. To date, over 85 high school teachers and Kean faculty / staff have benefited from the program. Future activities will focus on strategies for engaging students and data collection on retention outcomes. Submitted by Linda Best, Department of English

ACT to Keep Undergraduate Students at Kean
This project tests the feasibility and efficacy of a brief series of workshops based on Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT). Specifically, it aims to foster the development of skills that allow first year students recruited through Transition to Kean (T2K) seminars to: live more fully in the present moment (while experiencing pulls in many directions, as well as thoughts and feelings about the past and future); clarify their values, purposes, and goals; and take steps in line with their values even in the face of challenging emotional experiences. Workshops conducted during Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 received positive feedback. Follow-up assessments (e.g., examining student retention) are underway during summer 2012. Submitted by Jennifer Lerner and Andrew Wolanin, Department of Advanced Studies in Psychology

Research Experiences for Undergraduates at Kean: Assessment of Impact on Graduation Rates and Student-Faculty Retention
This research project qualitatively and quantitatively assessed two established undergraduate research programs at Kean University to determine the impact of these programs on student graduation rates and student-faculty retention. Findings revealed that faculty retention corresponded highly with undergraduate research opportunities. Student success, as measured by overall GPA and time-to-degree, was also positively impacted by research experience. Submitted by Patricia Morreale, Department of Computer Science

Studio Classes for Transition to Kean
This pilot project examined the effectiveness of reflective learning and interactive classroom activities in the context of T2K. During Spring, 2011, students assigned to the project attended the meeting of the College Conference on Composition and Communication in Atlanta, Georgia, to participate in CCC Writing Studio Special Interest Group discussions. Suggestions and materials from the conference were then incorporated into the Studio Program developed for the Kean University EEO Summer Academy. Training materials, assessment rubrics, and studio practices developed for the Summer Academy Studio Program were adapted for use in T2K Courses. Findings suggest that studio work can be valuable in engaging students but must be accompanied by faculty training on studio theory and practice. Submitted by Sally Chandler, Department of English



Premier Stages Human Rights Initiative
The Premiere Stages Human Rights Initiative featured a debut professional production of Tammy Ryan’s Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods, a new play that explored the relationship between a young Sudanese refugee and a privileged white woman in suburban America. Box office sales broke all records for Premiere Stages productions. Submitted by John Wooten, Producing Artistic Director

Hidden History: Introducing the Liberty Hall Manuscript Collection
This project organized a one-day teachers’ institute on the grounds of the Liberty Hall campus to introduce high school and middle school teachers to the Liberty Hall manuscript collection. History teachers from throughout New Jersey were invited to Liberty Hall campus to hear a series of presentations about slavery, women’s history, and journalism history. Teachers were presented with a series of lesson plans focused on individual collections available online on the Liberty Hall Museum website. Submitted by Sue Ellen Gronewold, History Department

Headline News: The Traveling Exhibit
A traveling version was created of the exhibit, “Headline News: The Life and Transformation of the Great American Newspaper,” which was originally presented in the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery and closed in October of 2009. The traveling exhibit targeted audiences in high schools, middle schools, public libraries and senior citizen centers throughout New Jersey. Each participating institution kept the exhibit for up to 10 days, and each exhibit opened with a presentation by members of the Kean University community. Submitted by Pat Winters Lauro, Communications Department

Project Reach: The KU Concert Series for the Deaf
This project brings varied musical experiences, emphasizing auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, and visual modalities, to children with hearing loss and other special populations in New Jersey. Each concert features a unique composition performed by members of Kean music education faculty and students, and an instrument “petting zoo” whereby participants will have opportunities to play instruments. The project continues, with two concerts planned during the spring of 2011. Submitted by Lyn Schraer-Joiner, Music Department

Thinking Creatively Design Camp

The camp provided high school juniors and seniors with challenging and experimental college-level studio exercises in creativity and design applications. The camp also introduced students to professional designers and to the professional field in order to guide them in a career path. Submitted by Rose Gonnella, Robert Busch School of Design

Summer Musical Theatre Institute for Grades 8 – 11
The summer musical theatre institute was designed for students in Grades 8 to 11 to provide a training ground for aspiring theatre artists featuring classes in voice, movement, acting, improvisation and Alexander Technique through the participation of Affiliate Artist faculty and alumni. Submitted by Hope Hudson, Affiliate Artist

SuperComputing at Kean: Computational Thinking Summer Camp
High school students and their teachers studied modeling and simulation in a week-long non-residential camp program and a year-long enrichment program to introduce students and teachers to the field of computational applied mathematics (CAM) as well as to careers in CAM and computer science. The camp allowed student teams, paired with a teacher-mentor, to learn computational applied mathematics techniques and apply them on modern computational hardware and software, including Kean University’s TeraFlop computer cluster. Submitted by David Joiner, NJCSTM



Be Compelling! was an in-service day at Kean University for K-12 teachers which took place on Friday, October 16, 2009. Teachers participated in three faculty-led workshops and presentations and earned four professional development credits. Teachers participated in a two-hour Be Compelling! session led by Sandra Bodin-Lerner that introduced participants to techniques and tools to be credible and dynamic classroom presenters. This was followed by two break-out sessions where teachers had the opportunity to meet with faculty members in smaller groups to discuss specific topics related to communication in the classroom. Submitted by Sandra Bodin-Lerner, Department of Communication

The Musical Theatre Institute was held in Wilkins Theatre during the month of July 2009 for students in grades 9 through 12. The institute provided a training ground for aspiring theatre artists featuring classes in voice, movement, acting and improvisation. The institute was two weeks in length and featured training in all areas of musical theatre performance, including individual vocal and dramatic coaching, song preparation, scene preparation, audition techniques, career management, dance, and master classes with Kean University’s distinguished Affiliate Artist faculty. The culmination of the two week period was an incredible musical review that was an exciting example of the collaboration that had occurred among the participants, faculty and alumni. Submitted by Hope Hudson, Affiliated Artist, Department of Music

Educating the Creative Mind was an international conference that took place March 4 to 6, 2010 to increase the awareness of the significance of the arts in children’s lives and education. Through sharing theories, research and practices of arts education in early childhood, educators, policy-makers, school administrators, teachers and parents were brought to conversations on ways in bringing a well-rounded education to children. A keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University, and the conference included presentations by national and international scholars from across the US and 12 other countries from five continents. Five hundred participants were exposed to a wide array of topics in panel discussions, paper sessions, workshops, symposia, posters and roundtable discussions. The presentations helped participants understand arts-based education from an international perspective, which is much needed in this increasingly globalizing environment. Submitted by Dr. Lily Chen-Hafteck, Department of Music

KUnow! (Early College Opportunity @ Kean) is an outreach program that is designed to attract and bring prospective high-school (senior- and junior-year) students to Kean’s main campus. Students attending partner-schools enroll (as non-matriculated) in selected courses offered during summer session II 2009, fall 2009 and spring 2010 semesters. Student-participants are enrolled in evening and Weekend College courses. The University provides academic instruction in essential courses to foster students’ college-readiness. Student-participants are actively engaged in the University community as evidenced by faculty-student engagement, use of library resources, computer labs, etc. Such outreach is significant in the recruitment of qualified first-time, full-time freshman to Kean University. Submitted by Charlotte M. Diakite, Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Dr. Kenneth Sanders, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

Living with Aphasia was a world-class day-long conference for persons with aphasia, their families, and the professionals and vendors who serve them. The April 4, 2009 conference was jointly offered by the Kean University Institute for Adults Living with Communication Disabilities (a specialized clinic within the Department of Communication Disorders and Deafness which provides rehabilitation services to adults from the community with communication disabilities following stroke, head injury, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions) and the Adler Aphasia Center, a social program for adults with aphasia in Maywood, NJ. The conference welcomed 86 persons with aphasia and their families, four vendors including Dynavox and Lingraphica and a large number of practicing professionals as well as Kean graduate students who acted as aides. World-class speakers included individuals from the Stroke Comeback Center in Virginia, a physical therapist from JFK Hospital in Edison, NJ and a panel of “experts” including four stroke survivors. Submitted by Dr. Mary Jo Santo Pietro and Wendy Greenspan, Department of Communication Disorders and Deafness

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