My sabbatical with Steelcase

During the 2017-2018 academic year, I spent the year on sabbatical from Grand Valley State University as scholar-in-residence with Steelcase in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Specifically, I worked with Steelcase Education and the Workspace Futures group conducting research on active learning and active learning spaces and doing outreach on active learning to Steelcase and external audiences. Some of the specific things I did include:

  • I consulted with Steelcase designers and researchers on ongoing projects related to the design and implementation of active learning classrooms.
  • I worked with design groups on projects pertaining to future faculty offices and active learning classrooms specifically designed for mathematics instruction.
  • I provided professional development on teaching and learning issues for Steelcase audiences, particularly sales leaders.
  • I served on the selection committee for the 2018 cohort of Active Learning Center grant recipients .
  • I served as a faculty and higher education voice in long-range business planning groups tasked with envisioning Steelcase's educational business roadmap for the next 10+ years.

I also took advantage of being an "embedded academic" to learn as much as I could about how businesses and coporations operate and how higher education could use the best practices of businesses to improve itself. I wrote about that here on the website, and this article at EdSurge is a good summary.

One of the major projects I completed as part of my sabbatical research was a comprehensive literature review on active learning classroom research, in collboration with Anat Mor-Avi of the Illinois Institute of Technology. The manuscript for this is done and in review, and I will be making it available as a preprint in July 2018. I'll post a link to it here once it's available.

You can read more about my sabbatical and how it came about at this blog post.

In addition to working with Steelcase, I also worked on two research projects during my sabbatical:

  • A study of the effects of flipped learning environments on the development of metacognitive skills in university Calculus students (with Marcia Frobish). We have collected all of our data and will be proceeding with analysis through Summer 2018 with plans to publish in early 2019.
  • A study of the experiences of students with documented learning disabilities in flipped learning environments (with Amy Schelling). We will be collecting data for this study starting Fall 2018.

Overall my sabbatical was an amazing experience, and I owe a lot to the people at Steelcase and to the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence at Grand Valley State University for making it happen.

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