250th Anniversary Innovation Fund Awardees

In December 2016, Princeton faculty submitted nineteen proposals to the 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education. Twelve proposals were awarded funding by the selection committee, which included the dean and deputy dean of the college, the dean and senior associate dean of the faculty, the director of the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, and the director of the Princeton Writing Program.

Byron T. Ahn

Byron T. Ahn

Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Council of the Humanities

One of the core goals of higher education is to provide students with the ability to not only address problems with creative solutions, but also to learn how to ask questions and identify new problems. In syntax (the study of how sentences are built up out of their component words), students are taught to problematize that which they have never considered problematic: for example, why is it that an ordering of words as in ⑴ produces a statement, while an ordering as in ⑵ produces a question?

Syntax courses provide students with the ability to identify puzzles in language data, and then collaboratively construct creative solutions. By shifting towards online learning and in-class problem solving, we can achieve greater depth in theory and breadth in language phenomena, and analytic skills can be honed more sharply. While the skills developed are syntactically-focused, they are extensible to any domain.

Nathalie P. de Leon

Nathalie P. de Leon

Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering

Professor de Leon plans to reimage and modernize ELE 208, Electronic and Photonic Devices. The aim of this sophomore fall core course is to explain the physical properties of devices. The central challenge is to provide this foundation without the traditional complement of prerequisites. To address this challenge, we will flip the standard curriculum to start with a particular technology and build up interdisciplinary understanding towards that specific application, motivating the subject from relevant topics in modern technology.

Claire F. Gmachl

Claire F. Gmachl

Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering, Associate Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering

Professor Gmachl, in conjunction with SEAS, will be developing a new course sequence for B.S.E. and A.B. students. The first course in the sequence covers mechanics, energy, waves, and thermodynamics within the framework of understanding and developing engineering solutions to grand global challenges. By melding the classical, in-ward looking, Physics I curriculum with outward-looking global grand challenges material, they empower freshmen to combine fundamental knowledge with their desire to solve societal problems and doing Good.

Ananda Gunawardena

Ananda Gunawardena

Lecturer in Computer Science

Introductory courses in computer science have experienced a significant increase in enrollment with a far broader student type than ever before. These courses are no longer for science and engineering students alone; students concentrating in the humanities and other non-technical disciplines are embracing the use of computer technology as it becomes a part of our daily experience in one form or another. Dr. Gunawardena will be working with the department to develop a new delivery strategy for these courses and to improve upon instructional effectiveness using a data enhanced video based interactive framework.

Kosuke Imai

Kosuke Imai

Professor of Politics

Three years ago Professor Imai received funds from the 250th to develop a new FSI course entitled ‘Visualizing Data’, a course designed to provide students with the skills required for data analysis, nterpretation, and presentation. With this new grant, Professor Imai will be expanding upon the success of this course and further develop it, putting emphasis on the visualization and data-communication, engaging former FSI students and Emerging Scholars Program fellows as tutors, and conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the FSI program.

Laura Kalin

Laura Kalin

Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Council of the Humanities

With this grant, Professor Kalin will be conducting a redesign of LIN 360, Language Universals and Diversity, to unfold over two or three iterations of the course. The overall goals behind this course redesign are (i) to give students hands-on experience in working with endangered and understudied languages, (ii) to put the discovery of (as per the course title) linguistic universals and language diversity into the students’ own hands, rather than mine, (iii) to guide the students towards developing their own theory/theories of language variation, and (iv) to disseminate their discoveries via a variety of formats and venues, to speakers of these endangered and understudied languages, to linguists, and to the general public.

William A. Massey

William A. Massey

Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering

This course is part of an initiative to introduce a new sequence of courses for engineering-minded (B.S.E. and A.B.) students. Professor Massey will cover calculus of a single variable, combining this branch of mathematics with analytic geometry, using it as a language to acquire deeper knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics itself.

Barry P. Rand

Barry P. Rand

Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

Professor Rand will be enhancing the labs used in the course Solar Energy Conversion in order to provide students the opportunity to directly apply what they are learning in class and witness the energy conversion processes first hand. These enhancements will enable students to learn considerably more about the various methods of solar, wind, thermal and photobioreaction energy, as well as add to the learning experience in other courses in ENE.

Carolyn M. Rouse

Carolyn M. Rouse

Professor of Anthropology, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Director of the Program in African Studies

Professor Rouse and other faculty in the Department of Anthropology intend to use their funds to develop innovations across multiple courses that are meant to educate students, regardless of discipline, about the value of ethnography to knowledge production. More specifically, they will develop curriculum that teaches students to systematically collect and curate data. The new curriculum will allow students to apply data collection techniques to real-world problems and participate in collaborative team projects that require the integration of scientific and social scientific research. Course topics will range from politics to religion and from the arts to finance.

Gayle Salamon

Gayle Salamon

Associate Professor of English

Professor Salamon has put forth a proposal to introduce Disability Studies to the undergraduate curriculum at Princeton. The project would span three years and two courses. The first, The Disabled Body, would be an interdisciplinary seminar offered through the English Department in 2017-2018. The second, Introduction to Disability Studies, would be an interdisciplinary, team-taught lecture course offered twice, launching for the first time in 2018-2019 through the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Daniel J. Sheffield

Daniel J. Sheffield

Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies

Professor Sheffield will be using his award to support a new, blended-classroom introduction to the study of Iran. Organized thematically, the course will explore the historical background to major aspects of Iranian cultural identity. Presentations, activities, and experience with objects in PUL and PUAM will be paired with a robust website, featuring short, original videos along with a rich store of primary sources and objects. Over the semester, students will curate online exhibitions building upon the themes of the course.

Jeffrey O. Snyder

Jeffrey O. Snyder

Associate Research Scholar, Music

Professor Snyder will create a new 200-level “performance” course for Spring 2018 called Introduction to Experimental Music, which will combine a survey of the history of experimental music with hands-on participation in the performance of important works in the repertoire. The students will also create their own experimental music compositions and perform them. The course will require no prerequisites or specific training, and is intended to take advantage of the open forms and open tradition of experimental music practice to introduce musical thought and performance to students from all backgrounds.