Research support mini-grants available


Learning Futures

The Office of Scholarship and Innovation has expanded the internal grants program to include research support mini-grants. The mini-grant program is a recurring monthly opportunity for faculty to receive funds to cover small costs that may arise during ongoing research projects. Funds are not available in June or July.

All full-time MLFTC faculty can apply for these funds to be used for purchasing items such as software, renewing site licenses, acquiring audio or video recorders, microphones, transcription service, etc., for use in existing research projects. There are limited funds available for this and our goal is to support as many such research projects as possible. Click here for application instructions.

In May, Katie Farrand and Meseret Hailu received the final mini-grant recipients of the spring semester. Katie Farrand has been examining MLFTC students’ perceived wellness during the pandemic. Along with Michele Gaines, the two of them are completing a year-long study to look at the overall state of student wellness during the 2020-21 academic year. They will share findings with college leadership and use the information to support students and plan for 2021-22. Farrand will use mini-grants funds for post-survey participant incentives.

Meseret Hailu is working with a team of 8 students (doctoral and undergraduate students from Barrett Honors college) on research related to Black women, Africans, immigrants and refugees pursuing degrees and careers in STEM. She is using the mini-grant funds to purchase materials to support the group’s research and writing activities.

Kate Anderson received mini-grant funding in April for a project she is working on with EPE doctoral student, Jieyu Jiang. Anderson is exploring educators’ language ideologies and how this shapes how they discuss the role of their own and students’ language practices and learning. Using discussion posts from more than 100 educators enrolled in a sociolinguistics course, Anderson and Jiang are analyzing educator stances taken in discussion posts to better understand how they see the role of Standardized English and pedagogical approaches. Anderson has applied mini-grant funds towards a qualitative analysis application, Quirkos.

Yalda Kaveh & Alexandria Estrella, and Pamela Kulinna received mini-grant funds in February. Yalda Kaveh and Alexandria Estrella are examining the expansion of a school-wide two-way bilingual education program in grades K-2 by researching both the instructional practices and the experiences of the stakeholders. At this phase of the research, they are focused on families, interviewing parents and caretakers on their language ideologies and perceptions of the bilingual program as the children complete their first year in kindergarten. Kaveh and Estrella will apply mini-grant funds to purchase gift cards in recognition of the participants’ time.

Pamela Kulinna, along with Hans van der Mars and a team of their students are working to create a national digital database of quality teaching in Physical Education. They have done preliminary pilot work in schools by creating digital video records of physical education lessons, using an equipment set-up with iPads, wide-angle lenses, a Bluetooth wireless mic, and tripods. Kulinna is applying mini-grant funds towards the cost of iPad protector covers (that allow for wide-angle lens) before distributing the equipment to the teacher participants around the country.

The January mini grant recipient was Danah Henriksen. Henriksen is examining the creative thinking and innovative mindsets and practices of highly successful school administrators to understand how they support innovation at the district level. With doctoral student Carolina Torrejon Capurro, they have identified a group of elite school leaders who can speak to these issues and who have achieved significant success and recognition for innovation and system transformation. Henriksen is applying mini-grant funds towards participant incentive gift cards.

Margarita Pivovarova received a mini-grant in December for research she is working on with Audrey Beardsley to look at purported claims made by a large, public school district in the southwest, which claims their teacher excellence initiative has (among other things) shown impact on individual student growth. In this phase of their research, Pivovarova and Beardsley are assessing student achievement outcomes across state standardized test scores and to look at whether or not gains or losses of the district’s student achievement is distinguished from other districts in the state. Pivovarova used funds to access student-level data from a state department of education, which charged fees associated with manipulating and combining necessary datasets for use in the analysis.

November mini-grants were awarded to Yalda Kaveh & Alexandria Estrella, and Andrea Weinberg. Yalda Kaveh and Alexandria Estrella are engaged in a research project examining Arizona dual language teachers’ language ideologies in the context of a history of English-only language policies in this state. Kaveh and Estrella have connected with six bilingual Latinx teachers in a Title 1 school, observing classroom practices, dual language department meetings, and conducting interviews. Mini-grant funds will be applied towards transcription expenses for teacher interviews.

Andrea Weinberg and doctoral student Lennon Audrain have been supporting the Next Education Workforce (NEW) team with survey development to gather perspectives from almost 400 educators who attended the Summer 2020 NEW Training (a 5-day online professional development to introduce the NEW model). Additionally, Weinberg has worked to develop strategic data collection methods for ongoing monthly sessions for teachers working or planning to work in team-based models. Weinberg will be using mini-grant funds to purchase qualitative data analysis software for the doctoral student researchers Lennon Audrain and Annette Schmidt to support the analysis.

The October mini-grant recipients were Brian Nelson and Steve Zuiker. Brian Nelson and LLT PhD students Luis Pérez Cortés, Jesse Ha, and Man Su are developing an Augmented Reality (AR) based curriculum for Arizona middle school teachers to support collaborative and situated learning experiences about ecological sustainability. His research team used mini-grant funds to purchase assets for a prototype build of this curriculum, based on Arizona’s local geographical context. Steve Zuiker received mini-grant funds to support transcription costs associated with a Collaboratory design and research project, in which Zuiker and Michelle Jordan and MLFTC master’s students partnered with local middle school teachers and students in iterative design thinking to enhance and better understand STEM learning.

The September mini-grant award, the first of 2020-21, went to Katie Farrand. Farrand and Wellness Counselor Senior, Michele Gaines are continuing to partner in their research and wellness work to support the well-being of MLFTC students. Farrand and Gaines are using mini-grant support to incentivize student survey responses on a survey designed to assess how COVID-19 has impacted college student perceptions about wellness. Survey findings will be used to design supports and wellness activities for the 2020-21 academic year.

February mini-grants were awarded to Yalda Kaveh and Alexandria Estrella-Silva, and Frank Serafini.

Yalda Kaveh and Alexandria Estrella-Silva received mini-grant funds to support their research project examining language ideologies, practices, and challenges facing community members in a local dual language program sustaining the use of Spanish. For the current phase of the project, Kaveh and Estrella-Silva are conducting interviews with students, parents, teachers, school-community liaison, and the principal to learn more about their language ideologies, perceptions of the current dual language program, and visions for its future. Support from the mini-grant program will be used to offer incentive gift cards to interview participants. Frank Serafini continues to develop and refine the methodology, multimodal content analysis, which is a sophisticated approach to content analysis that accounts for and more explicitly theorizes the myriad of ways texts are defined, produced, disseminated and experienced. Serafini is utilizing multimodal content analysis (with the assistance of a qualitative software supported via the mini-grant) in several projects, two to highlight are Semiotic Resources of Young Children’s Drawings – which focuses on understanding how children in a first grade classroom construct narratives through visual, textual, and design resources used in their emergent writing; and Semiotic Resources of Commercially Available Wine Labels – which was initially developed to support the publication of the multimodal content analysis methodology using wine labels from the Wine Spectator magazine Top 100 wines of the past four years to demonstrate how the methodology worked.

Several faculty received mini-grant funding support in January. Jessica Debiase and Martha Cocchiarella are working on the Igniting Student Interest: Expertise Expansion Series research project. This study is in response to the Elementary and Elementary/Special Education dual certification program faculty’s approach in thinking about responsive and creative solutions to providing students with more flexibility, personalization, and distributive expertise. Debiase and Cocchiarella are using funds to provide incentives to speakers to lead professional development sessions, as well as incentives for students to participate in surveys and focus groups to gather feedback and input according to their own interests/professional growth needs. Meseret Hailu received funding for a research project examining women’s pursuit of STEM degrees in three eastern African countries. This international research will involve collaborating with students and faculty for interviews, observations, and reviewing institutional and student-level data. Hailu is applying her mini grant funds towards a reference management software to ease her ability to collaborate internationally. Michelle Jordan is researching a near-peer mentoring program where high school students mentor middle school students in designing community innovation projects and learning to use tools to forward their projects (3D printers, laser cutters, Arduinos). Jordan is interested in how the designed structures, processes and tools foster near-peer mentoring interactions that support productive engagement in community innovation projects, and with what outcomes for mentors and mentees. She is using mini-grant funds to purchase audio recorders to record the meetings between mentors and mentees.

Melanie Bertrand received mini-grant support in December to continue her research on the influence of youth participatory action research (YPAR)—youth-driven, equity-oriented research and advocacy—on schools. Bertrand, along with doctoral student Ashley Domínguez, are examining several existing YPAR groups in high schools in one metropolitan area to understand school adults’ responses to the YPAR students’ research findings and recommendations for change, pinpointing the conditions that are necessary for recommendations to become action. Bertrand will use mini-grant funding to cover qualitative analysis software and transcription costs.

November mini-grants were awarded to Teresa Foulger and Sherman Dorn for their respective projects. Teresa Foulger is working on an ongoing project as part of the technology infusion team, including Ray Bus, Keith Wetzel (professor emeritus) Jodie Donner (lead technology strategist and doctoral student), and Man Su (doctoral student). The team is investigating teacher candidates’ intentions to integrate technology into their future classroom instruction, using an instrument they are developing. They used mini-grant funds to incentivize a small group of teacher candidates to review and provide feedback on the instrument to support validity and reliability testing of the instrument. Sherman Dorn is researching the history of postwar educational broadcasting. As part of this project, Sherman is working with an external collaborator (Kathryn Ostrofsky) to develop a short podcast series on the history of Sesame Street. To build a demonstration episode, with mini-grant support Sherman was able to pay for an American Sign Language interpreter for one of his interviews, which will appear in a segment on representation of individuals with disabilities on Sesame Street.

Mini-grants were awarded to Katie Farrand and Melanie Bertrand in September; Katie Farrand received mini-grant support to purchase materials for a research project examining the impact of wellness activities on MLFTC students’ perceived wellbeing as measured via pre and post surveys. Farrand will be offering wellness resources and strategies for online students who participate in a weekly, face-to-face study hall. Michele Gaines, wellness coach at MLFTC, will partner with Farrand at least once a month which will also provide an opportunity to promote the college’s existing supports for student wellbeing and emotional health. Melanie Bertrand was awarded mini-grant support to cover transcription costs associated with a research project she and Dawn Demps, Ph.D. candidate, are working on. Bertrand and Demps are analyzing data from participatory art sessions and focus groups with African American youth who have disproportionately experienced exclusionary practices as compared to their non-Black peers in a midwestern high school. The students in the focus group were asked to create artwork in response to two prompts, “How do you view yourself?” and “How do you believe your school/teachers view you?”

The August mini grants were awarded to support faculty working on two different projects. Lauren Harris and Leanna Archambault received mini grant support for research they are conducting with LLT alum and now assistant professor at CSU Stanislaus, Catharyn Crane Shelton. Given the growing popularity of P-12 teachers creating and selling academic resources to other teachers online, the trio is interested in examining the quality of such resources. Archambault and Harris will use mini-grant funding to purchase and then analyze educational resources within one content area (11th grade U.S. history) from The second mini-grant was awarded to Mildred Boveda and Andrea Weinberg, who are researching teacher educators’ and preservice teachers’ understanding and perception of a coteaching and collaboration protocol they developed which expands upon existing models using intersectional competence and sociocultural frameworks to establish and maintain collaborative collegial relationships. Boveda and Weinberg will use the mini-grant funds to incentivize participants for two focus groups with teacher educators.

The final mini grant of the semester was awarded to Leigh Wolf. In May, Wolf received funding support for a qualitative analysis software that she will be using to research the use and effects of Open Educational Resources in the Educational Leadership and Innovation EdD program. For this research, she is collaborating with ASU Libraries and will be analyzing data from student interviews, course syllabi, and social media analytics. As a bonus, Wolf is also able to use the qualitative software for teaching advanced qualitative methods in the EdD program with free licenses provided to the students in her course.

April was a busy month for faculty receiving mini-grants. Katie Bernstein and Kate Anderson are researching how pre-service and in-service teachers’ attitudes toward linguistic diversity vary when they are asked to think about multilingualism for different learners—in particular, Spanish-speakers learning English and English-speakers learning Spanish. Also MLFTC internal research grant recipients, Bernstein and Anderson applied for mini-grant funding to cover additional incentive pay for participants to complete their survey as they had a stronger participation response than originally anticipated. Eileen Merritt is researching the benefits that participating in school garden programs, particularly journaling in gardens, has on children. Merritt and a graduate student have interviewed teachers and students about their experiences with nature journals, and whether or not these activities fostered creativity, connection to nature and self-reflection. Merritt received funding for transcription support and a student license for a qualitative data analysis tool.Molly Ott and co-PI Joshua Beaumont (PhD student in ASU’s College of Health Solutions and Sun Devil Sports Associate Athletics Trainer) are researching the careers of mid-level administrators in intercollegiate athletics.In particular, their mixed methods project is considering how the backgrounds and professional experiences of mid-level employees in intercollegiate athletic departments converge with and diverge from their colleagues holding similar positions in other areas of the university. Ott received transcription support for interviews with mid-level athletics department staff, which focused on their job experiences, relationships with colleagues, executives, and student athletes, and opportunities for professional advancement.

Mi Yeon Lee was awarded research mini-grant support in March to support transcriptions costs. Lee is researching preservice teachers’ understanding of distributive reasoning which is emphasized in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Distributive reasoning is required to understand important mathematical concepts such as numerical operations (e.g., multiplication/division of whole number/fractions), distributive law, and unit ratio. Lee has conducted surveys and interviews with MFLTC preservice teachers, with the aims of better understanding the types of distributive reasoning training needed in teacher education programs.

Yalda Kaveh was the first mini-grant recipient in 2019, awarded in February. Kaveh is researching language policies within bilingual immigrant families by examining the participants’ perspectives from the intersection of home, school, and society. Kaveh has collected data from parent surveys, language logs filled out by children, and interviews with both parents and children. The participating families spoke Cape Verdean Creole, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish as their heritage languages. With support from the mini grant funds, Kaveh will purchase qualitative data analysis software to use in analyzing the data.

The final research mini-grant recipients of 2018 were Michelle Jordan and Carrie Sampson. Jordan and her team, including doctoral student, Wendy Wakefield, and local teacher, Mia DeLaRosa, are investigating the design of a high school student summer solar energy engineering research experience. Jordan was awarded mini-grant funding to purchase a 360 recording device to capture within-group interactions among the students, and also their interactions with materials from the engineering research experience. Sampson, along with a small research team, is exploring the role of different modalities on graduate students’ ability to engage in critical dialogue in an online course.The course aims, in part, to engage students in critical dialogue that will expand their understanding of contemporary, and sometimes controversial, issues related to educational inequities. Sampson was awarded mini grant support for transcription expenses and to purchase qualitative analysis software.

Hyejin Park received research mini-grant funding in October. Park is researching the impact of shared reading including characters with disabilities on parents’ and their children’s attitudes towards disabilities. Also a MLFTC internal research grant recipient, Park applied for mini-grant funding to cover the purchase of additional audio recorders as she had more parent-child dyads sign up to participate in her study than originally anticipated.

September mini grant recipients were Carrie Sampson and Melanie Bertrand, and Katie Farrand. Sampson and Bertrand are examining strategies used by a grassroots organization advocating for a school district to address injustices experienced by Black children in the district, as well as how the district leaders responded to these strategies. Sampson and Bertrand received funds to support video transcription services for series of discussions that took place during school board meetings. Farrand and Tim Wells, an academic associate on the course and Learning, Literacies and Technologies doctoral student, are researching how future educators utilize resources and strategies to be successful in their online coursework, as well as assessing students’ perceived beliefs about their ability to be successful in an online course. Farrand received funding to purchase incentive gift cards for students to participate in the study and provide feedback about the online course.

The August mini-grant recipient was Amanda Vickery. Vickery is interested in reimagining civics education so that students are inspired to take action towards creating a more equitable and just society. Vickery will analyze the transcribed interview data, as supported by the mini-grant, to better understand teachers’ views on civics education and how they teach notions of citizenship in their classrooms.

Leanna Archambault and Ying-Chih Chen received mini grant funds in May, and both will be applying funds towards transcription expenses. Archambault is researching technology integration among international teachers from developing nations who have participated in technology professional development at an U.S. university. Data from this project includes interviews with the international teachers to understand factors that influence technology use in instructional planning. Chen is researching how both middle school students and science teachers react and respond to uncertainty, which is a critical function of how scientific knowledge is generated. Chen has collected observation and interview data from fifth-grade science teachers.

April recipients were Lindsey Moses and Yi-Chun Hong. Moses received funds to publish comics written by 4th grade students in a Title 1 school as part of a writing workshop and research that focuses on the importance of audience and publication of children’s writing to cultivate authentic writing experiences. Hong is researching the collaborative interactions of 5th grade students with a curriculum that uses robots to engage them in computational problem solving that requires integration of STEM knowledge. Hong applied for funds to support video transcription services of the students engaging in the curriculum.

The March recipients were Katie Farrand and Wendy Oakes, who applied for videotaping and editing service to develop footage for their model of using dramatic inquiry to increase students’ engagement in learning activities and positive peer social interactions for MLFTC early childhood special education graduates as they start their teaching careers. Farrand and Oakes will also use the videos as part of their proposal materials with an external funder.

The first recipients in the month of February were Steve Zuiker and Michelle Jordan, who both applied for transcription services to help them analyze data related to their research. Zuiker is working with education staff from the Phoenix Zoo, K-12 and graduate students on a design challenge and research project focused on the Zoo’s Night Camp events. Jordan is investigating how engineering faculty, K-16 teachers, high school and graduate students learn and manage uncertainty collectively as a community processing complex photovoltaics engineering.

Mini-grant requests are due the 5th of each month via email to Clarin Collins.