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2010-11 Mission Micro Grant Award Projects

Summaries of the 2010-11 MMG
Proposals that Received Funding

Jocelyn Bennett-Garraway (School Counseling Program, Department of Counseling and Addiction Studies): Material support to provide refreshments and learning materials for parent support workshops for the Detroit Public Schools Parent Resource Center.

The Detroit Public School Parent Resource Center is a part of the Detroit Public Schools Office of Parent and Community Engagement 2.0 initiative. These centers are a resource and network for parents and grandparents of DPS students, as well as community supporters of DPS. Parents can visit any of the 8 existing centers to receive information and guidance regarding parenting, student academic achievement, and educational resources.


The University of Detroit Mercy Mission Micro Grant provided funds for refreshments/meals and learning materials for parent support workshops at the Detroit Public Schools Parent Resource Center. This project supported and promoted the UDM’s identity of urban and service. This University recognizes the need to outreach to the community in which it resides. Therefore, this project was an opportunity for UDM to collaborate with and offer support to the Detroit Public Schools, in particular the Detroit Public School district parents.

This project was a continuation of workshops/seminars presented by Jocelyn Bennett-Garraway during the 2010 summer. The staff of and parents involved at the Parent Resource Centers requested particular workshops to address current issues and challenges that are occurring in the schools. The intent of the workshops were to provide needed support to a school district, in particular the DPS families, that are experiencing many financial and emotional challenges, as well as strengthen the University’s relationship with Detroit Public Schools. Three workshops were presented:

Bullying: What Parents Need to Know: Central High School
This workshop engaged parents and grandparents in a discussion about the definition, misconceptions, mental health ramifications, and legal implications of bullying. Information was shared regarding identifying and understanding the victim and the bully. Helga Bakk, Counseling Graduate Research Assistant, assisted with the facilitation of the discussion.

Parenting for Academic Success: Barton Elementary School
This workshop engaged parents and grandparents in a discussion of appropriate environmental, cognitive, and emotional behaviors for academic success in the format of home behaviors, ready to learn behaviors, and motivational behaviors. Information was shared regarding strategies and techniques that could be used in the home to encourage and foster an environment of learning.

Depression: Sherrill Elementary School
This workshop engaged mothers and grandmothers in a discussion of managing stress and mental health. The topic was a special request for the Mother’s Day Event hosted by the Parent Resource Center at Sherrill Elementary School. Information was shared regarding the causes of clinical depression, the emotional and physical signs of clinical depression, self-care, and suicidal ideation. Information was distributed regarding the UDM Counseling Clinic, the UDM Psychology Clinic, and other state-wide resources available to address mental, physical, and emotional health needs.

Project Benefits

Although the parents and grandparents found the information shared during the workshops educational and beneficial, the greatest benefit were the relationships and support networks that were established. The parents and children of DPS have and continue to experience trauma and turmoil as a result of the series of school closures within the district. Parents and grandparents openly and honestly shared their issues with each other and welcomed guidance and feedback to assist with the challenges they were experiencing. As a result, the workshops became a forum for parents and grandparents to express their frustrations and fears, to seek professional guidance, and most importantly, to be heard and validated by a school counseling professional.

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Claudia Bernasconi (Architecture): Material support for the development of a new service-learning course on “architectural graphic representation” in the Fall 2011 semester. This course would allow UDM architecture students to learn about graphic representation by teaching middle school students in a Detroit public school. During Spring 2011 Bernasconi would like to organize two activities as a preparation for the service-learning course: 1) An event at UDM to bring educators from the middle school together with faculty from the UDM School of Architecture, the UDM School of Education, and community/board representative (and possibly alumni) to brainstorm about the project and define possibilities, objectives an strategies; and 2) A one- or two-day workshop on “architecture and graphic representation” conducted by UDM students and Bernasconi (and possibly the Education faculty person too) in one middle school (to be determined). The purposes of the workshop (and, in the long-term, the service learning course) are to: 1) provide middle school students with a perspective on architecture and their city through the experimentation with graphic techniques and tools; and 2) to provide architecture UDM students with a teaching experience that would better allow them to grasp the importance of the topic and question themselves about learning/teaching methods, as well as, maybe most importantly, 3) provide architecture UDM students the opportunity to give some of what they have learned to younger students.

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Libby Blume, (CLAE / Architecture): Material support for students of ARCH 1210: Visual Communication II, co-taught by Blume and Sr. Marie Henderson, RSM.,to tour a special exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts: “Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus”. Rembrandt van Rijn is universally known as one of the greatest painters of the 17th century’s Dutch Golden Age. This exhibition will feature eight paintings created by Rembrandt and his students that feature the presumed visage of Jesus. Also included are more than 50 related paintings, prints and drawings that will examine the religious, historic and artistic significance of the core eight works.

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Amy Dereczyk and Debra Knight (CHP): Material support for a modern, mounted poster display to take to conferences and promotional activities.

Description: Description: UDM mission sign.jpgThe physician assistant program at the University of Detroit Mercy is one of the oldest programs in the country. UDM’s PA program has over 900 alumni. Yet only a small percentage of these alumni are actually involved with the program or university. One of our goals is to increase alumni involvement. By increasing involvement we can improve the quality of our program and eventually increase donations to the program and university.

Physician assistants in general go into medicine because they want to help their fellow human being. A large portion of our graduates work in the city of Detroit serving the underserved. If we can increase alumni involvement in our program we can therefore increase our role in the university mission of education in an urban context while integrating the ethical and social development of our students.
This year we produced an updated, modern promotional sign for the UDM PA program. We have been able to display this sign at program gatherings and have received many compliments. Please see below for a photo of the sign:

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Beth Ann Finster, SSJ (University Ministry): Material support to create an urban garden on campus.

The 50ft. by 50ft. garden is located west of the Lansing Reilly parking lot. The money from the grant was spent on soil analysis, soil amendments, membership in the Detroit Garden Resource Program, herbs, rhubarb roots, black and red raspberry plants (for Fr. Hendry), a 300ft. soaker hose, and a few treats for Jesuit Volunteer assistant weeders. Once we (the Jesuit Volunteers and I) had roto-tilled the soil and weeded, we began to plant.

As a member of the garden resource program, I was eligible for 104 plants, including heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, green peppers, tomatillos, cantaloupe, watermelon, winter squash, cucumbers, ground cherries, and broccoli, as well as a number of seed packets, too numerous to mention. In addition, compost to enrich the soil and burlap bags for walkways, were available. In addition to the free plants from the resource program, I was also the beneficiary of some free marigolds, asparagus roots, some traditional (not heirloom) tomato plants, and some white sage brought back from the Pine Ridge reservation by Fr. Staudenmaier.

The garden began slowly, although you could almost see the asparagus take root and throw out shoots of leafy fern. By late June it began showing promise... and lots of weeds. Many afternoons after work and Saturday mornings were spent weeding, followed by adventures for ice cream (there is no such thing as free labor)! Gradually we began to see tiny tomatoes begin to form, and tasted the first ground cherries, a sweet pineapple-tasting, tiny yellow orbs. Squash and melon blossoms began to appear as well. The first ripe cherry tomato manifested itself in late June.

As the hot summer continues, a multitude of green tomatoes began to appear, but to also mysteriously disappear. Then we discovered we weren't just hoping to feed ourselves (and the Jesuits) but we were also providing a banquet for the neighborhood wildlife. Squirrels regularly harvested the fruit of the ground cherries, which aren't ripe until they fall to the ground, and the bunnies have returned to feast on the garden's bounty (marigolds don't deter them.) Cantaloupe, and cucumbers have been chewed off the vines, and tomatoes have disappeared (and I don't think all of them are due to 4-legged culprits.) However, as August goes by, the produce is more plentiful, and we have begun harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as seeing more small melons and squash. The weeds have taken over part of the garden, (the eggplant and broccoli and green peppers are almost invisible) and occasionally the bunnies are disturbed during their banqueting. Despite the frustrations of having to share with the wildlife (I just wish they could weed), it has been a very enjoyable experience. Raspberries and asparagus will be harvested next Spring, and hopefully a blueberry patch will be added. Fencing to hopefully deter the freeloaders would be nice... or perhaps I should plant a few rows of carrots, and label them, "for bunnies only!"Description: 201011 Finster Garden 1

I also have the members of Sigma, Sigma, Sigma sorority interested in helping (in addition to the Jesuit Volunteers.) The garden is well on its way to being productive, and the Tri-Sigs have suggested expanding it next year, and growing enough to sell to students, in a mini farmers market, and then using the profits for Campus Kitchens, or for other groups concerned with hunger in Detroit. The goal was to create a local sustainable food source, and we have made a good beginning. However, there is still a great deal of work to be done, but with the help of others (and maybe another grant) we will become even more successful.

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Deborah Gibson (CLAE): Material support to purchase test preparation materials for the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC).

The Education Department submitted the proposal to fund a Teacher Education Program Resource Room. After completing an internal investigation, the Teacher Education Council (TEC) found that students were scoring low in high need subject areas for teachers. As a result, the TEC decided to create a resource room for all teacher candidates to utilize study materials. These materials will be available to all education students during office hours and anytime when faculty members are available. It was the intention of the Education Department to use the Mission Micro Grant towards purchasing Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) Practice Test materials for the Teacher Education Department Resource Room located in Reno Hall, 237. The above mentioned materials can be utilized at no cost to the student.

Mary-Catherine Harrison (CLAE): Material support for an arts and literature project at Gesu school that Harrison undertook along with 13 UDM students.  

Description: 201011 Harrsion Gesu Group Picture

Professor Mary-Catherine Harrison, of the English Department, organized a storytelling and mask-making event with the third grade class at Gesu School. This event brought together 14 UDM undergraduates, most fromUDM’s African American Student Association, with Patty Doyle’s third grade class at Gesu. The university and elementary students worked together to make African masks using recycled materials collected by a local Detroit non-profit organization, Arts and Scraps. Along with this collaborative art project, the leadership of the UDM African American Student Association read and performed traditional African-American folktales to offer a cultural context for the masks and incorporate a language arts component to the project. The UDM Mission Micro Grant supplied the art kits from Arts and Scraps and a healthy snack for the students.

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Richard Heide (CLAE): Material support for the purchase of mailing supplies for SPA 1100 project connecting students with El Paso homeless shelter. SPA 1100 students will write letters in Spanish. Students will also donate items for immigrant shelter in El Paso. Letters and donations will be sent in flat rate boxes.

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Gary Hillebran and Anjanette Turbiak, Anjanette (CES): Seed money for the initiation of a UDM student pro-life organization. Hillebran and Turbiak would schedule and sponsor at least two meetings open to all students to 1) Provide awareness of the range of pro-life issues (invite an outside speaker for at least one meeting, such as Dr. Janet Smith or Dr. Monica Miller); 2) Inform students about the range of service opportunities available, such as “baby bottle drives” for pregnancy centers, prayer vigils, walks for life, etc.; 3) Discuss and plan the formation of a campus organization to be chartered in the fall of 2011. Includes identification of student leaders, organization mission, goals, activities and constitution; and 4) As resources allow, initiate a small project to benefit a local pregnancy center (e.g. purchase used cribs to donate). For planning purposes Hillebran and Turbiak would also communicate with other local pro-life campus groups (WSU, Madonna, U-M, MSU), the national and state Students for Life organizations and other UDM organizations ( e.g. Campus Ministry, Institute for Leadership and Service).

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Yvonne King (CHP / Alpha Sigma Nu): Material support for student, faculty, and staff forums on the meaning and value of a Jesuit education. One of the main objectives of these sessions is to give emphasis to Jesuit identity through the promotion of the values of Alpha Sigma Nu (ASN). As a Jesuit Honor Society, ASN has an obligation to be a significant part of the voice promoting the integration of the Jesuit Mission in all aspects of the UDM community. As part of the vision of ASN over the next three years, Alpha Sigma Nu will be working in collaboration with the Office of Mission & Identity to promote meaningful dialogue in forums on the meaning and value of the Jesuit Mission, and integration of these values into all areas of UDM. Others facilitators will come from UDM faculty and administrators, as well as alumni. One of the objectives of these forums is for students and employees to be better able to articulate how the Mission and values are applicable to every-day life. The forums will also help to introduce students to the values of ASN.

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Sharon Malinowski (CHP): Material support for receptions to thank clinical training sites and preceptors. In order to provide complete learning experiences for Nursing students, The College of Health Professions (CHP) and McAuley School of Nursing (MSON) rely on numerous health systems, clinics, private practice offices and the preceptors to provide superior clinical training at no cost to the University. In order to show our appreciation (in a small way) and thank them for their support of our programs, Malinowski would like to host small receptions at their sites. Not only would this provide a much-deserved “thank you” but would also put her face-to-face with the people responsible for training our students. A simple reception with light snacks and refreshments and perhaps a small take-away, would send a significant message of appreciation and would help retain these sites and preceptors for future students

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Sara Martin and Russell Davidson (Library / IDS): Material support for Game Night at the library for UDM students.  

Material support for conducting the Game Night student centered event at the library. An assessment was conducted to determine whether participates would feel more comfortable or more likely to spend time in the library studying after attending Game Night. Student email addresses were taken during the registration process and surveys sent to each participate after the event. Survey questions targeted participant perceptions of the library after attending Game Night.

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Molly McClelland (CHP): Honorarium support for a burn and burn nursing presentation to students.

Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D.April 30, 2012

UDM students create tools to help disabled
By Candice Williams / Detroit News

Detroit— For decades, Delbert McCoy, 62, had trouble feeding himself soup. Severely burned in a firebombing incident, McCoy lost the use of his fingers, making it difficult for him to hold utensils. Read More ...

Introduction & Purpose: Delbert McCoy, a local Detroiter, sustained severe burns over 90% of his body 40 years ago. Despite being a victim of an egregious fire bombing, nearly losing his life, spending 3 years in the hospital and over 100 surgeries he remains resilient, positive and provides a powerful lecture to others on the art of forgiveness and determination.

Delbert was scheduled to come speak to a group of nursing students learning how to care for burn patients in the Winter 2011 semester. With Delbert’s permission, we expanded his lecture to also include a group of engineering students working on a multidisciplinary project to design assistive devices to help improve functioning for physically disabled people. Mr. McCoy attended the multidisciplinary class of engineering and nursing students to brilliantly describe his horrific experience and the way he has handled the tragedy since. The students learned more about the spiritual and emotional needs of caring for burn patients and more importantly, the life lessons of love, forgiveness and resiliency.

Description: 201011 McClelland 2

Grant Honorarium: The Micro Mission Grant allowed for an honorarium to provide to Mr. McCoy for his time and effort in coming to talk to the students and one copy of his book to be given to a student. Although, the Micro Mission Grant award provided for Mr. McCoy to sign and give away only one of his recently published books, Still on Fire, he generously donated an additional 5 books. A raffle was held in the classroom and 6 students received a signed copy of his book detailing his life and experience.

Unexpected Benefits of Grant: In addition, the multidisciplinary team of students asked Delbert what some of his greatest physical challenges are as a result of his disfiguring burns. Delbert stated that due to the seriousness of his burns which left him without functioning fingers and severe contractures at his elbows (meaning his elbows are locked in a 90 degree position) he is unable to eat liquids such as soups. Mr. McCoy stated that he would really like to be able to feed himself liquids like he did prior to the fire. The nursing students on the team assessed Delbert’s unique skin and contractures and informed other team members the impact of these complications. The engineering students began to deliberate and design a product that would allow Mr. McCoy the ability to feed himself liquids. Delbert and the multidisciplinary team of students continued to work together to develop and refine a special spoon-type device with the goal that Delbert will be able to feed himself liquid foods.

The feedback from the faculty and staff from Delbert’s lecture and participation in the assistive device project has been extremely positive. The goals of Delbert McCoy’s talk were to describe how to overcome despite devastating odds, achieve positive living despite limitations and better understand the implications of burns. The goals of the Micro Mission Grant for this project were met and even exceeded. Thank you so much for granting me and the UDM students the opportunity to learn so much from this remarkable speaker and man. Our engineering and nursing students will be forever impacted similarly to myself and the engineering professor (Darrell Kleinke) privileged to work with him.

Description: 201011 McClelland 3 engineering delbert teamsFollow-up and Conclusion:

Mr. Delbert McCoy continued to work with the multidisciplinary team of nursing and engineering students throughout the winter and summer 2011 semesters to design and implement a product which would allow Delbert to eat liquids more easily.

 On August 11, 2011 the student team lead by Professors Molly McClelland (Nursing) and Darrell Kleinke (Engineering) presented their work and final product and gave Delbert two devices that will make his ability to consume liquids much easier. The first product was called the “Spill Proof Spoon” (shown in photo). The device uses a suction-bulb so liquid can be imported into the suction bulb during transportation of liquid from the bowl to the mouth while allowing solids to remain on the spoon. Once the spoon is in the mouth, the suction on the bulb can be released allowing the liquid to re-mix with any solids (e.g., vegetable soup – veggies remain on spoon, broth stays in suction bulb) on the spoon and be ingested without spilling. The second device was a spoon with deep edges to hold liquids on a spoon easier than regular sized spoons. The student teams formatted the spoon with a platform type device at the end and a Velcro strap that Mr. McCoy could attach to his wrist in order to use the spoon to feed himself since he does not have fingers in order to grasp a spoon like a fully fingered person would be able to. Delbert tested both products and was pleased with the final products (shown in photo). The final photo depicts Professors Kleinke and McClelland and the student team that designed the spoon devices for Mr. McCoy and the day it was presented to him and reported to the audience.

Description: 201011 McClelland

Thank you to the Micro Mission Grant which allowed us to meet Mr. McCoy, hear his story and be able to work with him on this multidisciplinary project to design a product which will positively impact his physical needs while teaching our students invaluable lessons about their chosen professions and collaboration. It was a remarkable experience for everyone involved and surpassed my expectations of having Mr. McCoy come tell his story and experience.Back to Top

Kristin Oneail (CHP): Material support for CHP Honors Council student and faculty panel discussions. Due to the fact that Academic Integrity has become a prime focus for students across the country in the University setting. The Honor Council, comprised of Faculty and students, have agreed that disseminating information to faculty and students is necessary to foster understanding of Academic Integrity. The Honor Council is transitioning to a student led council and with that being said we would like the students on the Honor Council to create an activity for the students in the CHP. The activity for January will be a student led panel discussion for these students and we would like to be awarded a grant to help offer food and drinks for students attending the discussion. With the same thought in mind the Faculty would like to offer a Panel Discussion that would be available Campus wide, not just available for CHP faculty. The Honor Council believes that this would be an excellent opportunity to provide information to the UDM faculty and foster collaboration among colleges.

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Mitzi Saunders (CHP): Material support for the purchase of spiritual care handbooks for students.

A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) provides comprehensive nursing services, redesigns health care systems, and mentors nurses. The CNS focuses on the physical, mental, and spiritual health of patients. A Mission Micro Grant from the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) allowed for the purchase of spiritual care pocket guides for 13 graduate CNS students. The pocket guide is entitled, A Nurse’s Handbook of Spiritual Care: Standing on Holy Ground, by Mary Elizabeth O’Brien. Students received the guide as a gift at the beginning of the 2011 winter semester to promote advanced nursing care in the spiritual dimension of human life. Students used the pocket guide to meet spiritual needs of patients served during their clinical practicum. At the end of the semester, students reflected and shared their spiritual care experiences.

In the words of one student, “Spiritual care is a reminder that nursing can be so much more.” Over the course of the semester, students used the spiritual care pocket guide to develop plans of care to meet patients’ spiritual goals. One student assisted a Native American patient with a deep leg wound to attend a religious ceremony through a CNS-designed wound care program. Students gave testimony of the power of prayer and singing hymns at the bedside of dying patients and the benefits of repositioning others of Islamic belief to face the East. One patient was greatly comforted when a student led him in the Lord’s Prayer following a stroke that had left him speechless in all other regards. Finally, all agreed at a student’s summation of the usefulness of the pocket guide in helping them meet patients’ spiritual health needs: “Wow! This little handbook is powerful.”

Students additionally generated ideas on ways to enhance spiritual care in our current health care systems: 1) have the pocket guide available on all nursing units, 2) develop training sessions for nurses to achieve competency in spiritual care, and 3) mentor staff nurses who are uncomfortable in the delivery of spiritual care. Keeping spiritual care alive in our health care systems is and will be a priority for these future nurse leaders.

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Anjanette Turbiak (CES): Material support for an exploratory program to examine how the sciences can be taught in the context of the Catholic faith.

This project examines how the sciences can be better taught in the context of the Catholic Faith and to promote methods for doing so among science educators at Catholic institutions. Work currently in progress includes the following:

1) a survey of science educators at Catholic high schools and colleges regarding their opinions, training, and personal practices when teaching science (send email to turbiaaj@udmercy.edu for access to survey)
2) a survey of students enrolled in chemistry courses at the University of Detroit Mercy regarding their impressions of the compatibility or incompatibility of faith and science
3) planning for a conference/workshop to be held in February of 2012 that highlights the importance of teaching sciences in a Catholic context and provides practical methods for doing so
4) the drafting of a manuscript on the advantages of teaching organic chemistry in the context of the Catholic Faith
5) evaluation of the impact of starting class, science or otherwise, with prayer

The impetus for this project is that the sciences are often viewed as disconnected or incompatible with faith, and unfortunately, are often taught that way. Consequently, many science educators were never taught to view science in the light of the Catholic Faith, which transpires into their teaching. In doing so, a precious resource may be lost. The guiding premise for this project is that because the Catholic Faith is grounded in the unity of faith and reason, science can be made extremely more powerful and accessible to students, particularly those undertaking studies at a Catholic school, when the scientific content is placed in the context of faith.

While publications in this particular area are scarce, there is precedent in the Church (i,e,. Pontifical Academy of the Sciences) that exploring how to teach the sciences in the context of the Catholic Faith is a question worthy of investigation, particularly by scientists enlightened by Faith. Pope John Paul II himself was an advocate for this exploration, as evidenced by the meetings he regularly held with scientists, his encyclical on faith and reason, and the following excerpt from a 1988 letter to the Director of the Vatican Observatory:

In this process of mutual learning, those members of the Church who are themselves either active scientists or, in some special cases, both scientists and theologians could serve as a key resource. They can also provide a much-needed ministry to others struggling to integrate the worlds of science and religion in their own intellectual and spiritual lives, as well as to those who face difficult moral decisions in matters of technological research and application. Such bridging ministries must be nurtured and encouraged. The Church long ago recognized the importance of such links by establishing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in which some of the world’s leading scientists meet together regularly to discuss their researches and to convey to the larger community where the directions of discovery are tending. But much more is needed.

The matter is urgent. Contemporary developments in science challenge theology far more deeply than did the introduction of Aristotle into Western Europe in the thirteenth century. Yet these developments also offer to theology a potentially important resource. Just as Aristotelian philosophy, through the ministry of such great scholars as St Thomas Aquinas, ultimately came to shape some of the most profound expressions of theological doctrine, so can we not hope that the sciences of today, along with all forms of human knowing, may invigorate and inform those parts of the theological enterprise that bear on the relation of nature, humanity and God?

Can science also benefit from this interchange? It would seem that it should. For science develops best when its concepts and conclusions are integrated into the broader human culture and its concerns for ultimate meaning and value. Scientists cannot, therefore, hold themselves entirely aloof from the sorts of issues dealt with by philosophers and theologians. By devoting to these issues something of the energy and care they give to their research in science, they can help others realize more fully the human potentialities of their discoveries. They can also come to appreciate for themselves that these discoveries cannot be a genuine substitute for knowledge of the truly ultimate. Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish.

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Lara Wasner (Language & Cultural Training): Material support for two workshops to further develop UAS tutors’ and CLAE Writing Center consultants’ ability to aid Chinese student writers.

The Mission Micro Grant (MMG) is the gift that keeps giving. I first applied in 2008 for a grant on behalf of UDM’s Language & Cultural Training Department to conduct tutor training for the university’s Writing and Tutoring Centers. The need for training was in response to a surge in enrollment of international students from the Peoples Republic of China. (Read more about this in the following section.)

I researched various tutor-training models and tapped my most valuable resources for expertise (ESL teachers in UDM’s Language & Cultural Training and American Language & Culture programs), as well as looking to my own experiences teaching English as a Second Language. As a member of the NAFSA Association of International Educators, I also looked at trends in international enrollment, and pulled together data to share with staff, employees, and faculty.

In 2010, I attended a Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar in China, where I was able to gather more information about education reform(s) in China, as well as the growing demand of Chinese students to study abroad – particularly in the US. According to Open Doors, International students contributed 30 billion dollars to the the US economy. Chinese students have now surpassed Indian students as the largest contingent of international students studying in the US.

What began as tutor training at UDM served as the impetus for my curriculum project with Fulbright-Hays. I expanded the training to include several components (e.g. enrollment trends, cultural issues, academic expectations, pedagogical issues) that can serve as a training resource beyond the writing and tutoring centers. In 2011, I presented a variation of the training to CLAE’s Council of Chairs during a fall meeting. I presented When East Meets West: Issues in Internationalizing UDM’s Campus, during a brown-bag lunch sponsored by Academic Affairs winter term. I created yet another variation of training for the Dental School for international students entering the 5-year dental program.

Today, the Train the Tutor: ESL workshops are available to educators nationwide on the National Committee on US-China Relations’ website www.ncuscr.org/fulbright. I have since been invited to present UDM’s training model at the annual NAFSA Region V Conference in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois this November 3, 2011.

The need

UDM has had a dramatic increase in Chinese student enrollment in the last five years, mainly due to joint partnerships and active recruiting in mainland China.Chinese students now comprise the largest sector of international students on campus. As a means to improve academic writing and student success, international students are seeking help in CLAE’s Writing Center (WC) and University Academic Services (UAS’) tutoring center in increasing numbers. According to Laurie Britt-Smith (Writing Center Director), up to 60% of students visiting the center each week in 2009-10 were by Chinese students struggling with academic writing. Because of the common written language amongst this diverse student population, writing consultants and tutors often see the same common writing mistakes from student to student. Because academic writing is a common skill area challenge, many students make multiple appointments per day, which often overwhelms tutors.

In 2009, LCT received a Mission Microgrant to run two Train the Tutor sessions. 20 students from both the Writing Center and Learning Center received ESL training. In Fall of 2010, around 40 students attended training session part one. Surveys revealed that trained tutors have a good handle on the intake of ESL students and can apply learned strategies in a practical context. Yet, those who attended would like to go the next step, and acquire the ability to deconstruct grammar of Chinese students and writing in a comparative way.

Expansion of training

In 2010 & 2011, we expanded the trainings to include a focus on common academic writing errors of Arabic speakers. In this session, we defined various kinds of error types, looked at writing samples, and defined specific causes for errors (e.g. Arabic sentences do not begin with a capital letter) and differences in grammatical structure.

Training Description

Part I: (Attended by both Writing Consultants and Learning Center Peer Tutors)
Linking language & culture: Understanding the etiology of common writing errors of Chinese students
Part I includes a needs overview, addresses differences in classroom cultural and academic preparation, and identifies common grammatical mistakes, as well as stylistic differences in writing. A tip sheet is distributed, which includes intake tips as well as approaches to addressing “high order” elements (e.g. global coherence, sentence cohesion), and “low order” elements (e.g. grammar, punctuation) in the time a 60-min. tutoring or 30-min. writing consultation session provides.

Part II: (Attended by Writing Consultants only)
Helping students become more proficient writers of English
Part II is contextualized and hands-on: writing consultants review key differences in language structure and grammar, then role-played a 30 minute-session using authentic writing samples and apply newly-learned corrective approaches.

Focusing on common skill area challenges between the two written languages may help tutors predict and understand why Chinese students repeat critical mistakes, helping those tutored become self-corrective, self-sufficient, and more proficient writers of English.

The benefits to ESL Tutor Training are multifold and speak to UDM’s mission in many ways.

Mission essentiality: Provides student-centered learning by intentionally focusing on our international students’ needs by doing things mentioned above. It contributes to the social growth of students by building cultural bridges (tutoring students from other countries nurtures a better understanding of cultures, and prepares students to become better US and global citizens).


Empowers tutors to help instead of “tuning out”: Handling students with ESL needs can be frustrating and time-consuming without the right ESL-centered communication tools. Better communication helps identify specific problems, offers immediate help and produces better long-term results.

Provides opportunities to remediate severely ESL- challenged students: Tutors in both centers would know how to identify and refer struggling ESL students to their center’s director, who in turn would refer these struggling students to LCT for very specific remediation.

Tells a “success story”: Chinese students would report back to friends and family the quality support they’re receiving at UDM.

Positively impacts international enrollment and retention: Good academic support helps foster a good relationship with partner universities and their students (fewer students will flunk out due to ESL problems that can be remediated with the right support); provides potential for increased Chinese student enrollment (and overall international student enrollment).

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Carmon Weekes (CHP): Material support for the purchase of supplies for community hypertension and diabetes screenings. African Americans are disproportionately affected by hypertension and diabetes.

Description of the Project: The initial purpose of obtaining the mission micro grant was to purchase blood pressure and blood sugar screening equipment and conduct two screening days at the Franklin Road Church of Christ in Pontiac, Michigan. Upon further consideration I was faced with a dilemma. I am a volunteer staff nurse at the Father Pop’s Medical Clinic in Pontiac, Michigan--a health care clinic for the underinsured and uninsured. The clinic was started in 1974 by Father Edward Popielarz in Pontiac, Michigan and is staffed totally by volunteers. These include health care professionals including nurses, physicians, and chiropractors. Non medical staff also volunteers at the clinic. Services are provided to adults not including pregnant women. No prescriptions for pain medications are written.

During one of my shifts at Father Pop’s clinic, Sister Pat Malone, the clinic director, shared with me that the clinic was in financial trouble. At that same visit the physician volunteer wanted a urine sample checked for sugar and protein however the supplies which had expired several weeks prior had not been replaced. It was apparent to me that the clinic could use some basic supplies. When I inquired about this I was told that they could use supplies for their diabetic clients as well as some basic supplies such as paper towels for constant hand washing.

ScreeningI felt the supplies for the clinic were more of an immediate priority than the original plan of conducting blood pressure and blood sugar screenings. Dr. Weatherston was contacted and approved the transfer of the micro mission grant funds for purchase of supplies for the clinic. My appraisal of the project was that it was successful. Although I was looking forward to the screenings I feel that the grant money was put to use for the greater good. The project was a success as I noticed the supplies were being put to good use during my subsequent shifts at the clinic.
There is also a great appreciation for the flexibility shown when the initial plan needed to be changed.

Father Pop’s clinic provides a valuable service that is in line with the mission of the University of Detroit Mercy. Thank you for the micro mission grant as a way to assist this small clinic to provide for the needs of the community. More information about the clinic can be found in an article by Kristin Lukowski of The Michigan Catholic.

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Valerie Williams (CLAE): Material support for two community forums to discuss cultural competency and how it affects cross-cultural interaction and examine five dimensions of culture and how they apply to a diverse campus and its surrounding community.

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Xiaohui Zhong (CES): Material support for a Math and Computer Science workshop for high school students. This grant will bring a group of 20 high school students to the UDM Department of Mathematics and Computer Science for a half day workshop. The workshop will consist of four parts: a. an introduction of the University and Department: briefing students on the majors and minors offered by the department, refreshments; b. a presentation of Actuarial Science: What is it? How to study for it? What careers require it? Where are the jobs? What can UDM offer?; c. hands-on programs: How much can you accumulate if you save $1 per day when interest is compounded? How long does it take to pay off the credit card? Game: Mathematical Wheel of Fortune; d. a tour of UDM. Participants will take home UDM souvenirs and folders containing admission information. If the grant is funded, invitations will be sent out to Detroit area high schools in December. Applications will be accepted for the first 20 students. The Program will run on a school day in Winter 2011 so students can experience the atmosphere of the University.

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