Past Johnson Teaching Grant Awards


Aisha Mershani, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, attended the Decolonizing Knowledge and Power summer school this summer (note: online conference). Its materials, lectures, dialogue and diverse participants assisted Aisha in her quest to decolonize her teaching by providing her with various perspectives on topics she teaches in her classes and building relationships with scholars from around the world. The school was a model for her own classes; such as Intro to Arab Culture, Youth and New Media in the Middle East, and Arab Film, where she plans to diversify the classrooms by inviting Middle Eastern studies scholars and practitioners in the field to speak to students through various forms of digital media. This will allow Gettysburg College students to be in direct dialogue with scholars and practitioners outside of our campus community about issues relevant to the course work. This dialogue will enhance student understanding of the region and give the content deeper meaning as a direct result of these personal decolonial perspectives.

Megan Sijapati, Professor of Religious Studies, attended a four-semester intensive training course (online) in Quranic Arabic (a specialized form of Classical Arabic). With Quranic Arabic skills, she will be able to build entire class units around the didactic and ritualistic uses of Quranic language both historically and in contemporary Muslim societies and cultures, connecting it to units she already has on Muslim textual and visual cultures in South Asia and the North American diaspora. She will build these in creative ways into image-focused and text-focused exercises in REL 271 Introduction to Islam, REL 272 Islam in the Modern World, and REL 271 Sufism: Islamic Mysticism, and possibly REL 358: Islam in South Asia. She will also offer this expertise to colleagues in her department and in the MEIS program in the form of guest lectures/visits or 4th hour creative learning activities.


Rud Platt, Professor of Environmental Studies

Funding to support attendance at the Pecora 21& ISRSE 38 Workshops and Symposium from October 6-9, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Platt attended a workshop, “Demonstration and Application of the LCMAP Product Suite,” and a technical session entitled “How No-cost Landsat Data is Reshaping College Level Remote Sensing Courses.” Ideas and skills learned in these session will be incorporated into three courses, ES 230, ES 312, and ES 363.

Tyeshia Redden, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies

Funding to cover some of the costs associated with attendance at the Transnational Decolonial Black Feminism in the Americas Summer School in Cachoeira, Brazil. Information and materials learned at the summer school will be incorporated into AFS 250, Black Feminism—Film & Hip Hop.

Hakim Mohandas Williams, Associate Professor of Africana Studies/Education/Peace & Justice Studies

Funding to cover some of the costs associated with Dr. Williams participation in the conference, “Minority Seminar: Curriculums for Social Justice” in Vaasa, Finland, from May 6-8, 2020. During his time at the conference, Dr. Williams plans to gather resources to add topics on international education in parts of Scandinavia to his course AFS/EDU 264, “Education for Social Change.” Dr. Williams will use the information gathered to help in the development of a new course, “Introduction to Peace and Justice Studies.”


Kathy Delaney, Lecturer in Psychology, and Sahana Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Psychology, attended the Teaching Institute sponsored by the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology in May, 2019. The training offered at the institute connected directly to the Change-Making grant awarded to both faculty.


Natalie Barlett, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology
Natalie received a grant to cover expenses for a facilitator from the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition to lead the session of the learning experience, “A Taste of Dementia”. Participants, who were students in the course, “Human Development across the Lifespan”, were given a sense of what it must be like to live with dementia.

Alice Brawley, Assistant Professor of Management
Alice used her grant to provide an honoraria for two guest speakers in the course, OMS 405. Both speakers are representatives of the “gig” economy, a focus of the capstone seminar.

Beth Campbell Hetrick, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Beth received funds to attend a the regional workshop of the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group at Tufts University in preparation for developing a First Year seminar.

Jocelyn Swigger, Associate Professor of Music (Sunderman Conservatory)
Jocelyn's grant allowed her to attend a workshop on teaching the Dalcroze technique of movement and dance. The technique will be incorporated into a First Year seminar.

Christopher Oechler, Assistant Professor of Spanish
Christopher received funds to attend a performance of the Spanish drama, Valor, agravio y mujer in New York. This rarely performed work is a key text in SPAN 310 course on the golden age of Spanish literature.

Sarah Sillin, Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Sarah used her funds to visit museums and historic sites in New Mexico as part of the development of a new course on Latinx literature.


Rachel Lesser, Visiting Assistant Professor, Classics

Rachel was awarded $550.00 to attend the Paideia Institute’s Living Latin annual conference as well as a supplementary one-day pedagogy workshop, “Active Latin with Justin Slocum Bailey” at Fordham University Law School, NY. Professor Lesser reports that the three days of professional development to be extremely helpful and potentially transformative for how she teaches Latin and ancient Greek. The training opened up an entirely new way of engaging with the ancient languages—hearing and speaking them instead of only interacting with them on the printed page. The class sessions and the follow-up workshop were also helpful as pedagogical models, particularly for developing her sense of exactly how to use spoken Latin or ancient Greek in the classroom and in giving her new pedagogical tools that she looks forward to implementing with her students.

Robert Patierno, Adjunct Professor of Art and Art History,
Robert was awarded $1000 to support a large-scale collaborative printing project carried out by students in his printmaking courses. Over the course of the semester the students prepared themselves with a working knowledge of relief printing. They then designed and executed three techniques of relief printmaking with the last print being black and white and 26” x36”. A mobile large woodcut printing company to edition each student’s design and carving. The actual printing took place during Get Acquainted Day.


Eleanor Hogan, Associate Professor, East Asian Studies: Japanese Track

Eleanor will be using her award of $1000 during the Fall semester of 2016 to support her travel to Japan to visit the Autumn Festivals which will provide important cultural materials for her classes.

Sarah Jacobs, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Art & Art History

Sarah was awarded $788 to cover the cost of materials needed for her Advanced Painting Mural Project. The goal of this project was to produce a large-scale artwork in the community and to teach her students career-related skills through hands-on experience planning and executing the project.

Bob Patierno, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Art & Art History

Bob received $1000 to cover expenses associated with his project to produce large-scale steam roller prints with his students in Intermediate Printmaking.

View photos of the Block Printing Demo on Flickr!


Nicholas Mitchell, Assistant Professor, Health Sciences

Nicholas was awarded $2,000 to attend the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop to identify best practices for teaching scientific writing. Professor Mitchell’s goal is to improve how scientific writing is taught in his department. Currently writing projects are one-off exercises designed to meet the needs of individual instructors, an isolated approach to writing instruction that makes it difficult to provide the appropriate scaffolding necessary to support skill development and establish assessment milestones. Professor Mitchell will evaluate all Health Sciences syllabi in his department and will work with his colleagues to design a scientific writing and assessment curriculum for Health Sciences majors.

Kim Spayd, Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Kim was awarded $600 for materials needed to demonstrate the Heat Equation in Mathematics 381, a special topics course that focused on Partial Differential Equations.


Jenny Dumont (Spanish) was awarded $1,060 to purchase five copies of the textbook and workbook Conversaciones Escritas to teach Spanish to native and heritage speakers. This is a follow-up to the workshop held in August 2013 that addressed teaching Spanish to this type of student (See Johnson Center Department/Program Grants).

Salma Monani (Environmental Studies) received $705 to attend the 2014 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference March 19-March 23 at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Professor Monaniparticipated in a pedagogy panel entitled “Green Media Studies: Integrating Environmental and Media Studies in the Classroom and Beyond,” a panel designed to help faculty share and discuss innovative ways of teaching courses such as Professor Monani’s ES 319: Environmental Film and ES 225: Introduction to Environmental Humanities. Professor Monani, the only environmental humanities and media scholar in her department, used her attendance at this conference to connect with other similar scholars who could serve as content-specific resources. Attendance at this particular conference was also a crucial means of keeping up to date in her field.

Rud Platt (Environmental Studies) received $1,050 to attend Google’s “Geo for Higher Ed Summit” July 22-24, 2013 in San Francisco. This conference was devoted to web mapping in the cloud, a skill that Professor Platt wanted to incorporate in his courses. He planned to design, in particular, a new unit on web mapping for ES312: Environmental Applications of GIS that would require students to design an interactive web map related to their final project.

Eileen Stillwaggon (Economics) was awarded $1,000 to help defray the cost of a workshop held at Johns Hopkins University. Professor Stillwaggon wished to increase her ability to use TreeAge software so that she is comfortable with its advanced features and is more comfortable teaching the
basics as well as the advanced features to her students. The two courses that have most clearly benefitted from the workshop are Economics 401 Senior Seminar: Research Methodologies in the Sciences and Social Sciences as well as the senior seminar for International Affairs.

Jeff Williams (Interdisciplinary Studies), who teaches Film Studies 220: Video Production, was awarded $2818 to attend the Maine Media Workshops and College and participate in a week-long, hands-on course on Avid editing. His goals were to increase the instructor’s skill level to improve instruction in the course and to use Avid for more advanced student work. This would allow those enrolled in the course to have an edge in career development since Avid is the industry standard.