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2022-2023 Catalyst Grant Winners Announced

Images of Catalyst Grant winners

The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and the NC State College of Education have awarded three Catalyst Grants that are designed to increase research collaborations between faculty and staff at both entities and seed collaborative, high-impact research that will lead to further inquiry and support. 

“This year’s projects will continue the tradition of bringing together ideas and ongoing projects at the Friday Institute with research expertise and teacher preparation programs in the College of Education,” said Hollylynne Lee, interim associate dean of the Friday Institute and distinguished professor of mathematics and statistics education in the College of Education. “We are excited to see how these collaborative efforts among the Friday Institute and College of Education can help develop transformative research and practices to help address educational issues such as climate change education, virtual schools and infusing computer science in elementary education.”

The grant review team included Lee; Melissa Rasberry, director of the Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative at the Friday Institute; Jenn Ayscue, an assistant professor of educational evaluation and policy analysis in the College of Education; and Brean’a Parker, an assistant professor of counseling and counselor education in the College of Education.

“It is exciting to see how the Catalyst Grant program has created productive collaborations and leveraged the unique knowledge and skills of researchers in the college and the Friday Institute,” said Karen Hollebrands, associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Education. “Now in its fifth year, it is rewarding to see many of the projects that were initially funded by this program receive external funding to continue the work.”

See below for a list of winning proposals and researchers.

Virtual Academies in North Carolina: Examining Profiles, Issues and Trends

The purpose of this project is to develop a North Carolina Virtual School Profile and examine the opportunities, needs and challenges of virtual academies. As a result, this project will help communicate a shared understanding of the virtual landscape in North Carolina.

Awarded to: Blake Wiggs, a research scholar at the Friday Institute, and Florence Martin, a professor of learning, design and technology in the College of Education.

Climate Change Instruction: Science Teachers’ Perspectives, Experiences and Instructional Visual Displays

Dealing with the global threat of climate change requires effective education about climate science and about climate change risks and solutions. In this study, the project team will analyze science teachers’ instructional presentations to examine climate change visual displays and will survey the teachers to document their goals for climate change instruction, the challenges they face in teaching about climate change, the sources of their visual displays and their perceptions of the trustworthiness and accuracy of the information in the displays. This study has the potential to inform the design of climate change instruction to educate a new generation about this critical and complex issue.

Awarded to: Gail Jones, an Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor in the College of Education and senior faculty fellow at the Friday Institute; Meghan Manfra, a professor of social studies education in the College of Education; Sarah Carrier, a professor of elementary science education in the College of Education; and Rebecca Ward, assistant state climatologist in the North Carolina State Climate Office and a doctoral student in the Learning and Teaching in STEM science education concentration in the College of Education.

Preservice Access to Computing Knowledge (PACK) Success

This project focuses on providing professional development (PD) for elementary education majors in computer science, especially on how to integrate computing concepts into the ‘regular’ classroom. The pre-service teachers will be surveyed and interviewed to determine any changes in their teaching efficacy in computer science and what parts of the PD may have influenced those results.

Awarded to: Rebekah Davis, a research associate at the Friday Institute, and Temple Walkowiak, an associate professor of elementary mathematics education in the College of Education.

About the Friday Institute

The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation advances K-12 education through innovation in teaching, learning and leadership by bringing together students, teachers, researchers, policymakers and educational professionals to foster collaborations that improve education for all learners. The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation is part of NC State’s College of Education, one of the leading land-grant colleges of education in the nation.