At the June 13 Board of Regents meeting, 28 Eastern Michigan University faculty research projects were approved.These projects, called sabbatical leave projects, would not only benefit the Ypsilanti community, but people all around the globe.
The projects can either take one or two semesters to complete. If the teacher's project takes two semesters to complete, the university will pay up to $12,000 in research support.
Two of these projects include Geography and Geology Professor Yichun Xie and Tana Bridge, a professor in EMU's School of Social Work.
Yichun Xie's project, "Modeling Grassland Ecosystem Recovery under Ecological Subsidy Policy in Inner Mongolia, China," will focus on investigating "a policy-driven recovery grassland ecosystem ... that consists of many ecological, policy-human and economic components."
According to Xie, grasslands occupy about 40% of Earth's land surface, support nearly one third of the human population and are facing degradation, particularly in Asia and Africa. With this project, Xie hopes to further his research of the Mongolia Plateau, in which he has already spent 15 years researching.
In its southern portion, Mongolia has faced many hardships including "continental climates, disturbances related to grazing, farming, mining and challenges for ecosystem resilience and sustainability," Xie said.
Fortunately, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR) wants to slow down the progression of this degradation. IMAR is seeking new strategies, including the ecological subsidy, to help reverse the negative trends of ecological degradation.
With the help of EMU students, Xie said he hopes to provide scientific data and evidence-based recommendations to national, regional and local policy-makers concerning IMAR sustainable development.
Tana Bridge's project, "Improving the Handling of Child Abuse and Neglect Cases through Policy Revision, Protocol Development, and Education," will focus on "identifying opportunities to better support systems of care that serve substance-using parents and their infants," said Bridge.
Bridge's inspiration for this project is the current opioid epidemic and how it affects families.
"While we often think about the adults struggling with use and addiction, infants and children are also negatively impacted," Bridge said. "There has been an increase in the number of children entering care, and more children born substance-exposed. While many professionals are working tirelessly to support parents struggling with substance use and their exposed infants, there are opportunities to improve assessment of risk, service delivery and quality of care."
Bridge said she hopes that her research will not only help children living in abusive homes, but help her students at EMU learn how to "prevent trauma and serve those impacted from direct service through systematic change."
With the help of EMU students and staff, helping the world become a better place may be an easier goal to achieve.