Promoting Academic Excellence at UNL

Achievements & Accomplishments Initiative for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ITLE)

Winning proposals announced for ITLE Year 5


Winning Proposals
  1. Japanese Visual Culture in Context
  2. Capstone Course for English Majors

(This article is also in the March 2009 Academic Affairs newsletter and the March 5 Scarlet.)

Two proposals won funding in Round Five of UNL's Initiative for Teaching and Learning Excellence. They are: 1) a project to fund a summer study abroad visual literacy course in Japan and 2) a project to create a capstone course for English majors.

Projects nominated for ITLE 5 were to help students meet the requirements for four of the 10 outcomes under the new Achievement-Centered Education program. UNL's new general education program, ACE, begins with the 2009-10 school year.

Dana Fritz, associate professor of Art, is coordinator of the Japanese Visual Culture in Context project. Co-directing is Frauke Hachtmann, associate professor of Journalism and Mass Communications. Both have long been associated with UNL's Visual Literacy program.

Visual literacy is the ability to read, interpret and evaluate images for meaning and context. Many consider it to be an essential skill for the 21st century.

Fritz and Hachtmann's project would involve up to 30 students in the study abroad course. After an introduction to Japanese visual culture, students would travel to Japan to visit advertising agencies, museums, cultural institutions and other opportunities to learn to understand a culture through visual analysis.

The project will help students meet ACE student learning outcomes 2 (communication competence) and 9 (global awareness/human diversity).

The $13,000 grant, funded by the University of Nebraska Foundation, will support planning during 2009. The course will be offered in summer 2010.

Melissa Homestead, chair of the Department of English assessment committee, is heading the second funded project Creating a New Capstone Course for English Majors. Co-coordinator is Susan Belasco, chair of undergraduate studies for the Department of English.

The project proposes to create the capstone course for the approximately 100 students who earn degrees in English each year. The course would allow students to fulfill ACE outcome 10, which requires creation of a scholarly product integrating ACE and the major field of study.

The $20,000 grant will allow the department to create a new capstone seminar that would allow students in all the department's concentrations to share the same classroom environment under the direction of a single teacher to create scholarly portfolio. The portfolio would require students to reflect on the body of work they have created and also include new scholarly or creative products. ILTE5 A byproduct of the course would be that representative samples of student portfolios could be used by the department for programmatic assessment purposes.

The department proposes to name six faculty to a faculty inquiry group to research and design a draft course proposal. The group would also create a resource book for future instructors. The proposed course would follow all existing course development and approval processes before being first offered in Fall 2011.

This Initiative for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ITLE) continues the deep commitment of the university to teaching excellence and undergraduate student learning by making significant investments in undergraduate general education. Now in its fifth year, ITLE is distributing $33,000 for projects that fulfill the promise of UNL's new general education program: Achievement-Centered Education (ACE). All funds awarded must be expended by May 2010.

ITLE Sections

  • Two proposals win funding - see our March newsletter.
  • Call for Proposals - due to deans Oct. 17, 2008.
  • Deadline for Deans to submit Year 5 ITLE proposals from their colleges was Oct. 28, 2008.