Nearly 30 ‘forward with integrity’ projects have been funded by McMaster University, with a total of  $122,245 awarded to successful applicants.

In September, a call for proposals went out for projects that would enhance the student experience. The call was answered by 54 applicants, which included students, staff and faculty from a number of departments.

“We wanted to encourage students, faculty and staff to think about what we can do to improve and how we could work together,” said Laura Harrington, Forward with Integrity project director.

The budget for the projects was originally $100,000, but was increased after the proposals were received.

Harrington said each of the 54 proposals was reviewed by three different members of an advisory group, which commented on each proposal and made funding recommendations.

After the first round, 27 projects have been funded primarily by the President’s Fund. Two were endorsed and will seek funding from other sources.

While some projects will start immediately, some will take a bit of time to get started while the applicants conduct research and search for participants.

Later this month, a call will go out for proposals for the second wave of projects, which will focus on interdisciplinary research and development.

“There are a lot of people out there with great ideas. This is one way to stimulate those conversations,” said Harrington.


Forward With Integrity projects endorsed or funded (December 2012):


Title: iMMERSE (Integrated McMaster Engineering Real‐world Supplementary Experience)

Applicant: Kelton Friedrich Faculty/Area: Engineering

Summary: iMMERSE is intended to facilitate unpaid extra‐curricular activities for students who do not participate in co‐op experiences. Students would work independently or in groups on a project defined by local or global partners. A cohort of Engineering alumni will serve as mentors. Funding will support the development of this initiative through research conducted by a summer student


Title: Validation of Reflection: A proposal to investigate how to enhance an Engineering student’s Learning Portfolio

Applicant: Lynn Stewart Faculty/Area: Engineering

Summary: The project will investigate ways to create opportunities for reflection among Engineering students, particularly those who are not part of a structured co‐op experience. The project will also consider how reflection can address the specific learning requirements of an Engineering education. Funding will go toward research existing tools and rubrics to support reflection in Engineering, as well as means to validate reflection and to demonstrate the value of reflection to the students.


Title: Neighborhood Action Plans Informing Campus‐Community Engaged Scholarship

Applicant: Catherine Tompkins Faculty/Area: School of Nursing

Summary: The applicant will organize a three‐day “think tank” with community partners that will explore ways for the University to engage and foster collaboration with priority Hamilton neighborhoods. The aim is to identify opportunities for enhancing the student experience through participating in community‐engaged education and research, with a particular focus on the Neighborhood Action Plans.


Title: CreativeEnterprise and the Social Entrepreneur

Applicant: John Ford Faculty/Area: School of the Arts/Humanities

Summary: The project focuses on the establishment of an International Artist/Designer in Residence, beginning with Jennifer Price fromEngland. The Artist will engage students at all levels in the School of the Art, and participation will also be sought from other Departments/Faculties. She will work with students and staff to create a large‐scale participatory project, and public events will be held in collaboration with Hamilton Artists Inc. and other partners. The start date for this project is not yet determined.


Title: Pilot Performance Cycle on Student Success

Applicant: Catherine Graham Faculty/Area: School of the Arts, Student Success Centre

Summary: The proposal builds on an existing collaboration between the SOTA and SSC which supports the creation of a dramatic production intended to welcome first year students to campus and facilitate their thinking on student success. A series of workshops will be held with students to learn about the varying definitions of success at the University. The results will provide material for use in the next cycle of dramatic productions. Funding will be used to hire a research assistant to help in the development of the program.


Title: MappingParadise: an Environmentally Responsible Art Initiative

Applicant: Judy Major‐Girardin Faculty/Area: School of the Arts

Summary: The project supports student creativity in collaboration with the Cootes to Escarpment ParkSystem Initiative. Students will be exposed to leaders from the Arts, Engineering, History and from within the community (RBG). Students will be preparing a map that is linked to a focus on environmentally responsible art practices which will be displayed during an exhibition and public reception in February. Funding will support an undergraduate assistant and the workshop/reception.


Title: Student Activism Projects in Women’s Studies 1AA3: Women Transforming the World

Applicant: Karen Balcom Faculty/Area: Humanities

Summary: Students registered in the course can choose to participate in activism projects related to what they learn in the classroom. The projects are designed in collaboration with stakeholders such as the Anti‐Violence Network, OPIRG and community partners, and students are involved in the design. Funding will support a research project that will enhance the connections between the projects and course components and to develop a more sustainable and efficient model for coordinating the projects themselves.


Title: A Framework for Supporting Experiential Learning atMcMasterUniversity

Applicants: Elkafi Hassini, Jeannie An, Mandeep Malik Faculty/Area: Business

Summary: This project involves developing a web presence that will facilitate communication about existing and potential experiential opportunities for students. This group will coordinate with other University stakeholders to compile and share information about the opportunities that are available.


Title: Sustainability Office Strategy

Applicant: Kate Whalen Faculty/Area: VP Administration

Summary: The project is a continuation of the work performed by the Sustainability Office. This group has developed a range of opportunities for students to learn about and participate in projects related to sustainability at the University and elsewhere. The funds will be used to support the salary of a manager who will oversee an expanded Internship Program and foster the incorporation of sustainability issues and challenges into teaching and learning.


Title: Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program (Endorsed, not funded)

Applicant: Allison Sekuler Faculty/Area: Graduate Studies

Summary: The proposal outlines a mentorship program in which a graduate student will serve as a mentor to the undergraduate students that are participating in Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) projects during the summer. The students will use the learning portfolio to track their progress and this pilot will compare the experiences of the mentored students with those that did not participate in the mentorship.

*The project was endorsed by the advisory group but will be supported through other funds.


Title: A multi‐phase proposal to introduce an academic learning portfolio into the life sciences program

Applicants: Kimberly Dej, Lori Goff Faculty/Area: Science/CLL

Summary: The project will introduce an e‐portfolio to students in the Life Sciences program in order to help the students demonstrate skill development (including degree level expectations), develop an academic plan and learning goals as well as reflect on experiences. The implementation will occur gradually over several terms. Funding will be used to hire students who will develop and test the online learning materials that will be used, and to evaluate the success of the project through interviews and surveys.


Title: Learning Portfolio Pilot Project

Applicants: Philippa Carter, Jennifer Nettleton, Robert Revington Faculty/Area: Social Sciences

Summary: The applicants propose to develop an interdisciplinary course that will involve using a learning portfolio. The students will assess the suitability of the existing e‐portfolio in Avenue and cultivate mentorship and reflective capabilities. Funding will be used to hire a student to assist in launching of the course, tracking the results and evaluating success.


Title: Ethnography of the McMaster Community and University

Applicant: Petra Rethmann Faculty/Area: Social Sciences

Summary: The project involves developing a course that will assist students in carrying out projects on the ethnography of the larger McMaster community. The projects will involve participant observation and hands‐on engagement with the community. Students will develop the project, conduct the study, and share the results. The applicant intends to submit an application to SSHRC following the project. Funding will be used to hire a student to develop the course, and for a video camera and other resources for the students to carry out their projects.


Title: Laying the Groundwork for Student Portfolios in Economics

Applicant: Bridget O’Shaughnessy Faculty/Area: Social Sciences

Summary: The project will fund the hiring of a summer student to investigate the potential use of the learning portfolio in Economics, which tends to utilize traditional teaching techniques and relies heavily on empirical evidence. The study will consider ways to market the portfolio to economics students, how it would be valued by students and future employers, and how it could enable continued dialogue with graduates of the program.


Title: Collaborative, Interdisciplinary Health Professions Education Research

Applicants: James Lyons, Lawrence Grierson Faculty/Area: Science & Health Sciences

Summary: The long term goal of the project is to facilitate connections between undergraduate thesis students across the University, and in particular, to build a program of research that will offer broad opportunities in health professions education. The application outlines a pilot project in which Kinesiology students will interact with Health Sciences students; future opportunities could be more widely distributed across the University for students who are interested in applying their knowledge to health professions education.


Title: Building an international undergraduate research network via videoconferenced activities within a student‐led research program

Applicant: Sarah Symons Faculty/Area: Science/iSci

Summary: This proposal requests funds to purchase equipment that will be used to videoconference with students in a similar program in the UK. Students at both sites will participate in a research symposium that spans several days – the equipment will be used to share research and educational experiences and to participate in joint research activities. Funds will also be used to support student leaders who will assist in arranging the symposium, run a trial activity and track participation and feedback.


Title: Creating a fundamental connection between research and undergraduate education

Applicant: David Venus Faculty/Area: Science

Summary: The Department of Physics and Astronomy is considering ways to enhance the research connection with undergraduate education. The project will investigate the design and implementation of project‐based courses in fourth year Physics to replace traditional lecture‐style courses. A test case for two courses will be conducted to determine the feasibility and impact of the initiative.


Title: Student Placement Facilitator for the MacWheelers Program

Applicant: Audrey Hicks Faculty/Area: Science

Summary: MacWheelers provides specialized and individualized exercise programming to individuals with spinal cord injuries and relies on 200 student volunteers to serve its 75 participants each year. The proposal requests funds to support the creation of a part‐time student placement coordinator who will assist with recruitment, training and supervision of the volunteers, and seek ways to improve the experiential learning opportunity for the students. Case management and evaluation systems will be developed, and the coordinator will initiate links between students and current research initiatives.


Title: Experiential Learning Coordinator

Applicant: Lisa Barty Faculty/Area: Science

Summary: The Science Career and Cooperative Education office is seeking opportunities to develop a framework based on best‐practices in experiential learning that will benefit students within the Faculty. Students that choose not to participate in co‐op activities can still participate in experiential opportunities, and there is currently great demand for this type of program.

Funding uses: To support the salary of a coordinator who will facilitate current offerings, develop new opportunities and establish a framework for a formal internship program.


Title: Graduate Student Peer Success Project

Applicant: Nathan Cooper Faculty/Area: Student Wellness Centre

Summary: This project is intended to extend an existing support program for undergraduate students to graduate students. The program focuses on increasing degree completion rates by training a number of peer support facilitators that will run peer support groups in the Faculties to identify and mitigate issues that arise as part of a graduate student’s time at McMaster and could potentially interfere with degree completion.


Title: The McMaster Social Innovation Lab

Applicants: Michael Hewlett & Brianna Smrke Faculty/Area: Arts&Science

Summary: This student proposal focuses on the development of an Innovation Lab that will foster interdisciplinary collaboration and discussion among students. The lab is intended to stimulate creative thinking to find innovative solutions to interesting problems. Funding has been awarded to bring together faculty, local and regional leaders at a workshop to investigate the feasibility and sustainability of such an initiative.


Title: CORE Student Centre for Learning and Research

Applicants: Gina Browne, Patricia Gough, Lindsey George Faculty/Area: Health Sciences

Summary: CORE (Community Organizations Reaching Everyone) is a program focused on helping at‐risk high school students obtain credit for projects involving the arts. University students participate in the program as part of an interdisciplinary practicum or internship by mentoring the high school students. The focus is on strength‐based learning for the students involving creative interventions facilitated by the University mentors.

Funding uses: To help sustain the program, enhance opportunities for student experiential learning and provide sustenance for the high school students who require this support to succeed.


Title: Online Learning Contract: A Pilot Project for PNB

Applicants: David Shore, Joe Kim, Ann Hollingshead, Irina Ghilic, Lisa Barty Faculty/Area: Science

Summary: Many students in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour (PNB) participate in independent study courses both on‐ and off‐campus. This project focuses on developing an online system for administering learning contracts to enhance the experience of the students. The contract will allow students to develop learning goals and allow for feedback and oversight from faculty members. It will also inform the development of the learning portfolio.


Title: Healthy Cognitive Aging: Taking the Laboratory to the Community

Applicants: Karin Humphreys, Scott Walter Faculty/Area: Science

Summary: This proposal requests support to extend the learning experiences of the students beyond the classroom and laboratory into the community. Undergraduate students will travel to retirement residences to conduct research on cognitive development through the lifespan. There is a plan to establish permanent relationships with these residences so that there can be continual exposure of the students to this research environment.


Title: Helping Hamiltonians through Occupational and Physiotherapy Engagement (H2OPE)

Applicants: Sarah Wojkowski, Lori Letts, Vanina Dal Bello Haas, Genevieve Hladysh, Lorie Shimmel, Julie Richardson Faculty/Area: Rehabilitation Science

Summary: The proposal outlines the formation of the Mac H2OPE Clinic which will provide Hamiltonians with direct access to occupational and physical therapy services within the community. Students will gain practical expertise working with community residents, and the Clinic will also foster research partnerships with the YMCA and other community partners. Funding will be used to support the development of e‐Portfolios on Avenue as well as staff training and therapy equipment.


Title: McMaster Conservation Corridor Teaching and Research Facility

Applicants: Susan Dudley, Chad Harvey

Faculty/Area: Science

Summary: The Conservation Corridor is a plot of land owned by McMaster at the corner of Wilson St. E.and Lower Lions Club Rd. The applicants propose to use the land as a site for teaching, research andecologically sensitive recreation. The project will create a spatial grid of the site, and create paths and signage; students will be involved in the implementation of the project plans.


Title: McMaster Capabilities and Collaborations (Endorsed, not funded)

Applicant: Gay Yuyitung, MILO

Faculty/Area: VP Research & International Affairs

Summary: The project involves the creation of a website that will match community/industry needs with expertise at McMaster. The project is supported by community and industry partners, and the overall objective is to make it easier for existing or potential partners to identify relevant expertise at the University, and to build the necessary connections to move forward.

*This project has been endorsed by the advisory group and will be funded through alternative sources.


Title: International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition

Applicants: Ben Scott, Fiona Whelan Faculty/Area: Science

Summary: The proposal describes an international competition for students in synthetic biology. Student groups work together on a research project then present their findings at the competition. The project is intended to be interdisciplinary and collaborative. Funding will be used to support laboratory costs for the student groups.


Title: The Global Health Research Learning Portfolio

Applicant: Lisa Schwartz Faculty/Area: Health Sciences

Summary: The proposal is intended to enhance the learning and participation of students in GlobalHealth Research. The group will conduct research on the use of e‐Portfolios among students in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, particularly for those participating in global outreach activities.


Project details were provided by the President’s Office.



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