Released Time for Research & Creative Works (RTR)
The Kean University Released Time for Research & Creative Works program (RTR) was established in 1976 to support faculty research and creative works. Through this program, faculty, librarians, and professional staff may apply to receive research awards of released time and limited direct costs. See program eligibility and guidelines for complete information.
Click on the links below to view program eligibility and guidelines and to download an application.
Completed applications must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline.
NOTE: "RTR Application" must appear in the subject line.
IMPORTANT DATES - 2020-2021 RTR Awards
|Application Submission||November 1, 2019 - February 2, 2020|
|Department Chair/Program Coordinator Review||February 3, 2020 - February 10, 2020|
|Departmental Committee Review Deadline||February 18, 2020|
|University-wide Committee Review||February 19, 2020 - March 19, 2020|
|University-wide Committee Meeting||March 19, 2020|
|Report to the President||March 23, 2020|
|Awards announced in March|
A Mobile Platform for Portfolio Evaluation to Empower Student Success
The goal of this project is to finalize Phase II of MGC Sync, a digital networking tool that provides design students with a platform to showcase their projects, talents, skills, and connect them to industry professionals. Studies have shown that undergraduate students who are given support, who access internship opportunities, and who build professional relationships through networking increase their odds of getting a job offer and a higher salary upon graduation. The purpose is to assemble a team of Kean’s Computer Science and MGC’s design students for the programming, implementation, and promotion of MGC Sync.
The portfolio is a designer's single most important vehicle for demonstrating design competence. Aesthetically designed and easy to navigate, MGC Sync will serve as a repository, organized by design specialty (Graphic Design, Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Architecture) that is digitally accessible through any device. The objective of MGC Sync is to empower students to reach out to a network of engaged design professionals for support and work. Students who attend and graduate from the MGC will have ongoing access to MGC Sync.
The Role of Dramatic Play in Preschool Children’s Social and Language Development
The goal of this research study is to investigate how preschool children, ages 3-4, from socioeconomically, culturally, and linguistically diverse backgrounds, “scaffold” or guide one another, in what Vygotsky termed the zone of proximal development (ZPD) (the difference between what a child can achieve unassisted and what he can achieve with assistance), to acquire and apply more advanced social and language skills during dramatic play. Dramatic play is generally defined as a form of child-directed activity during which a child pretends to be in the role of someone else by imitating speech and actions. Considered developmentally appropriate in early childhood, this type of play is also known by other names, such as pretend play, imaginative play, make-believe play, and what Vygotsky (1978) called “symbolic play.”
Despite the vast benefits of dramatic play for child development, it is not all that clear how the process of dramatic play specifically promotes peer interactions and advancement of social and language skills among preschool children with various “play” skillsets, language abilities, and cultural characteristics. Thus, in my study, I seek to address this overarching research question:
How might preschool children from socio-demographically (socioeconomically, culturally, and linguistically) diverse backgrounds scaffold one another during dramatic play to advance their respective social and linguistic skills?
My study is unique because it views the scaffolding process through a different lens, notably how children themselves guide one another during dramatic play to enhance their respective social and language skills. At the practical level, situated within a broader developmental learning context, my research holds the potential of providing researchers and educators alike with a greater understanding of how dramatic play (as a child-initiated, developmentally appropriate activity) serves as a learning mechanism that facilitates optimal child development, especially in terms of social interaction and language acquisition. Specifically, the findings will help provide a strong ground for the development of new techniques that can be applied to other play situations to encourage social- and language-promoting peer interactions among children from diverse backgrounds.
Creating Optimal Virtual Reality Experiences for Liberty Hall Museum & the Michael Graves Residence
The overarching mission of this research is to create refined virtual reality and augmented reality experiences of the Michael Graves Residence. Audiences will experience representations of the rooms inside the residence and spaces surrounding the residence through mobile devices and mixed reality headsets. They will be immersed in experiences that connect with historical information about Michael Graves and his residence.
There are three project goals, which build from my current research with students at the Michael Graves Residence and connect with my current SpF research application. First, our research team will conduct additional user testing on the new, virtual reality 360-degree video content that has been created at the Michael Graves Residence. Second, our team will research virtual reality platforms that respond to the challenges identified in user testing, create new content, and move existing project content to those platforms. Third, our team will create prototypes of augmented reality scenes which enable audiences to interact with different kinds of digital assets related to Michael Graves and his residence.
The impact of this proposed research is far-reaching. The project will provide visitors with mobility and accessibility concerns with improved interactive experiences of the interiors of the building without having to be in the building. Our research will provide the Michael Graves Residence with improved interactive resources to share with classrooms and the public off-site.
Digital 3D Archiving of the Cultural Heritage Objects in The Warehouse, Michael Graves Residence
The main goal of this project is to focus on archiving, refining and exhibiting digital assets of the products designed by Michael Graves, which were used in his residence, The Warehouse. Dusing the summer of 2019, Industrial Design students will analyze and gather all the information about every single Michael Graves designed product in each room of The Warehouse. Then, they will transform physical objects into high-resolution, digitized 3D models using 3D scanning and 3D modeling technologies.
My intention is to utilize the created content in a meaningful way; exhibitions, publications and presentations. Also, to keep the collaboration open with other programs and departments within the institution. Other disciplines at Kean University will be able to connect with this digital archive and future partnerships will become possible. A range of experiences could be created using this content at The Warehouse and off-site, including immersive augmented reality experiences, resources for art and design history courses, and 3D-printed scaled versions for public exhibitions.
Another exciting opportunity of this research project could lead to a Michael Graves Residence, The Warehouse exhibition in our Wenzhou Kean University campus. I will work on the logistics with Michael Graves College’s Associate Dean Rose Gonnella once we have the content ready.
Dynamic Recommendation of Substitute Locations for Inaccessible Soil Samples during Field Sampling
Field sampling is an essential step for digital soil mapping and subsequent precision agriculture as well as environmental modeling efforts. Various sampling strategies have been designed for achieving desirable mapping results. Unpredictable complex circumstances in the field, however, often prevent some samples from being collected based on the pre-designed sampling strategies. Such circumstances include inaccessibility of some locations, change of land surface types, and heavily-disturbed soil at some locations, among others. This may result in the missing of some essential samples, which could impact the quality of digital soil mapping.
Previous studies have attempted to design alternative samples for the selected ones beforehand to address this issue. It cannot solve the problem completely as those predesigned alternative samples could also be inaccessible in the field during the time of sampling. With this project, we propose to develop dynamic methods to recommend alternative samples for those unavailable samples in the field during a field sampling campaign. The identification of alternative samples should be based on (1) the original sampling strategy, (2) the substitutive degree of the substitute location to the unavailable soil sample, and (3) the spatial accessibility of these candidates.
For the convenience of fieldwork, the proposed approach will be implemented as a mobile application on a smartphone platform. A prototype system will be developed to validate the methodology and preliminary field experiments conducted to test the efficiency of the system.
This project is a continuation of the applicant's long term research efforts in digital soil mapping for precision agriculture. During her collaboration with researchers in China applying methodologies she and collaborators developed in this area, it has come up that missing samples are a huge problem for soil mapping in China, where land development and environmental change happen all the time at very fast speed. Such problem has posed challenge to many digital soil mapping projects and this proposed research is much needed for the continuation of collaboration in this research area between Kean University and Chinese institutions.
Molecular diversity of fungal communities of dead wood
The goal of this project is to create a database of dead wood fungal species of New Jersey, compare species of dead wood fungi among managed and unmanaged forests in New Jersey, and to identify critical communities and microhabitats in need of focused management and conservation. The project has a world-wide significance due to the lack of data on diversity of dead wood fungi in the East Coast area. The lack of data is explained by the cryptic (hard to identify) nature of dead wood inhabitants which are microscopic and their identification requires biochemistry techniques such as analysis of DNA in an equipped laboratory (such as Laboratory of Applied Genomics), which has all necessary tools to perform such analysis.
Fungal species living in dead wood are important to study as they are an essential element of a healthy forest ecosystem. Dead wood per se protects against erosion, provides energy and forest elements such as nitrogen, facilitates regeneration of trees, improves water retention and creates multiple habitats for plants, animals and fungi. Together with bacteria, microscopic dead wood fungi are the major decomposers of dead trees. Fungi are the only organisms that can digest lignin, a major component of wood, returning the energy and elements stored in it back to the ecosystem for other organisms to use. No forest ecosystem can be considered healthy without well-balanced fungal communities. Diversity of microscopic fungi inhabiting dead wood greatly depends on the forest and park management practices, such as removal of logs, burning wood etc. The research on dead wood fungi diversity is necessary for sustainable forest and park management.
Fungal diversity is a hot area in the current biodiversity research. Out of 8.7 million of eukaryotic species estimated to exist in the world, 1 million is presented by fungi, and only 7% of it is described. Most of the fungal species, especially dead wood fungi, do not look like common mushrooms, appearing instead as dense fibers or being microscopic, thus complicating their discovery. In the Laboratory of Applied Genomics I started at Kean University in 2017, undergraduate students participate in field work, collect fungal samples, and practice core molecular biology techniques including isolating and analyzing DNA, bioinformatics and statistical analysis in order to identify collected species and communities. The territory of US lacks a thorough survey on cryptic dead wood fungal diversity, and our research fills in the gap in basic knowledge on dead wood fungal species inhabiting East Coast, as well as allows us to evaluate the ecological impact of human management on dead wood. We share our data via publications, presentations, and online media, and receive recognition from biodiversity professionals.
Our observations are deposited into the online biodiversity media iNaturalist (iNaturalist.com). Our observations are research-grade and are used by other biodiversity researchers and resources such as GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility), an international organization located in Denmark that focuses on making scientific data on biodiversity available via the Internet using web services.