Updated Feb. 17 at 3:10 p.m. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that GameAbove announced the first round of funding for the Faculty First initiative. The initial funding has come from GameAbove, but it’s the Provost’s office that approves and announces the faculty projects. GameAbove is not involved in choosing which projects get funding.
The first round of funding for various faculty projects was announced as a part of the “Faculty First” initiative which has been funded by the alumni group GameAbove. 14 faculty members were given funding, totaling $47,950. This is the first of $2 million total that has been dedicated to faculty at EMU.
According to EMU Today, the purpose of the Faculty First initiative is to “facilitate faculty professional development.” Research and curriculum development are major goals of the initiative, along with community service programs and professional travel and training opportunities.
The funding is for faculty of several departments across many different fields, including the Department of Biology, the School of Nursing, the School of Engineering & Technology, the School of Music and Dance, and the Department of Teacher Education, among others.
Dr. Howard Cass of the School of Music and Dance was given funding to purchase up-to-date software and equipment which students will use to compose, perform, and record productions at EMU.
Dr. Tareq Khan of the School of Engineering & Technology received funds to develop a smart mailbox that connects to the internet and notifies the owner when mail arrives. He will be developing the smartphone app to accompany the mailbox as well.
Dr. Michael McVey of the Department of Teacher Education and his colleagues were given funding for their project OTIS, the Online Teaching Institute for Summer which aims to increase the quality of online teaching at EMU.
Other projects to be funded include the development of an online capstone course for science literacy programs which will be uploaded into a shell on Canvas in Fall 2020, the development of new concert experiences for those in the neurodiverse community, and research on the “European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education” program which was recently implemented, and bringing any new insights from the program into the specialist of special education administration program at Eastern.
In November 2019, GameAbove announced $3.5 million would be donated as a part of 2 new initiatives, “Students Matter Most” and “Faculty First”. $2 million of that is to “support all levels of Eastern Michigan University faculty across all five academic colleges and the University Library.” The other $1.5 is dedicated to the Students Matter Most initiative.
GameAbove was created last year and several initiatives have been funded by the group of EMU alumni, including a $500,000 donation to OzoneHouse, $8 million for a new golf-training facility, $1 million for EMU’s new Student Athlete Performance Center, and a yearly $500,000 donation for EMU STEM programs for middle and high school students.
A total of $13 million has been donated to EMU by GameAbove so far. For a full list and descriptions of the 14 faculty projects recently funded, see the EMU Today story.