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Winners of 2022 CURE Grants Announced

By Annette Finley-Croswhite

The Office of Academic Affairs and the Center for Faculty Development are pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Course-based Undergraduate Research (CURE) competition. The winners are Lin Guo, Mahesh Gopinath and Cathleen Rhodes.

Associate Professors Guo and Gopinath from the Department of Marketing developed a project entitled "Learning by Doing; Informed Decision Making Through Research." Their plan is to revise Marketing 407, "Marketing Research," to include active learning and experimental learning components in the section offered in fall 2022. This course is required in the major. The course already contained instruction in data analysis and the use of case studies. The new version will integrate semester-long group projects to provide students hands-on experience with marketing research and engage them in solving real-world business problems.

Guo and Gopinath explain: "Students will form teams of 5-7 members. Team members will work together to choose an actual management problem to investigate. Functioning like a marketing research supplier or research consultant, the role of each team is to provide research information for a client organization in our local community and help make informed marketing decisions."

Three project workshops are also incorporated into the class to help students focus specifically on research skills needed to complete the project. The workshops prepare students for: 1) secondary research analysis; 2) questionnaire development; and 3) data analysis. Students will also complete IRB training.

The CURE that Drs. Guo and Gopinath are developing offers broader impacts tied to community engagement; the more that the Strome College of Business interacts with local companies, the greater the potential for ODU students and graduates to find internships and jobs. Business clients will also be invited to student presentations of their projects, and the best projects will be submitted to an undergraduate research conference. The CURE proposal was awarded $2,000 for summer stipends from Academic Affairs and $2,200 in matching funds from the Dean's Office in the Strome College of Business.

Senior Lecturer Cathleen Rhodes from the Department of Women's Studies developed a project entitled "Queering the Tidewater: An Immersive Virtual Tour of the Sights, Sounds, and Experiences of Tidewater's LGBTQ Past." Her project expands Women's Studies 303/English 395, "Queer Studies," a course that explores the experiences of the LGBTQ community by examining the social construction of gender and homophobia. It is focused on a public-facing research project that involves the expansion of an LGBTQ walking tour framed as the student research project. This tour is based on extensive research with archives and oral histories and uses video equipment to create an immersive virtual reality walking tour of the local LGBTQ community and the recovery of spaces associated with that history but long lost to time. The research design subsumes students in the acquisition of critical theory while conducting primary-source research, framing narrative, and honing technology skills. The course design builds on earlier offerings by Cathleen Rhodes that focused on an in-person walking tour. The end product of this course version to be offered in fall 2022 will make the LGBTQ tour and history accessible to a wider audience. To embed the research component, students will work in teams and identify a person, organization or business to research. They will then develop a proposal about how to integrate that material into the walking tour. Rhodes explains that students will study research methodologies and LGBTQ local history, conduct research, gather oral histories, identify digital artifacts, create designs of buildings that no longer exist, record community member testimony, produce a script, integrate music and sound into recordings, use cameras to capture video footage, and upload finished products to YouTube for dissemination. Broader impacts include the expansion of LGBTQ local history, the promotion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work, and the development of more local Hampton Roads community partnerships. The CURE proposal was awarded $2,000 for technology equipment from Academic Affairs and $1,884 in matching funds from the Department of Women's Studies and the Dean's Office in the College of Arts & Letters.

The CURE committee evaluation team included Annette Finley-Croswhite, professor of history and director, Center for Faculty Development; Jing He, professor of computer science; Ingo Heidbrink, professor of history and chair of history; Anil Nair, professor of management and chair of management; and Robert Strozak, master lecturer, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and former CURE grant winner. All committee members praised the projects. The committee report was delivered to Kate Hawkins, vice provost for faculty affairs and strategic initiatives, who reviewed the proposals, endorsed the committee recommendations, and forwarded all proposals and findings to Provost Agho, who made the final decisions.

Congratulations to our winners, who have produced fantastic high-impact learning opportunities for our ODU students. We look forward to learning more about the projects and outcomes and will report again in an upcoming newsletter once the CURE projects are complete and the courses have been taught.