Building a Community of Practice Partnership

Faculty Mentors: Andrew Gatza, Susanna Benko, Cresta Hancock
Community Partner: Northside Middle School
Classes: MATH 393, ENG 350, EDJH 385

This immersive learning project breaks from a traditional siloed teacher education approach to establish a more coordinated and collaborative experience for prospective secondary teachers across the College of Sciences and Humanities and Teachers College. Specifically, this project seeks to coordinate MATH 393 (Math Department in CSH) and ENG 350 (English Department in CSH) with EDJH 385 (Educational Studies Department in Teachers College) in partnership with Northside Middle School in Muncie Community Schools, with plans to eventually incorporate SS350 (History Department) as well. To this end, MATH 393, ENG 350, and EDJH 385 (and eventually SS 350) will be held at Northside; Ball State students will work in paired (not 1-to-1) placements with experienced Northside mentor teachers to encourage collaboration and pedagogical development and reflection; and all Ball State coursework will be designed to address authentic problems of practice in field experience to align with needs at Northside

.A group of student stand in a school hall

Child Exploitation: Protecting Children from Crimes of Victimization

Faculty Mentor: Ronald Dolon
Community Partner: Delaware County Child Protective Services
Class: SOCW 470

The students who participate in this immersive learning experience will gain an in-depth hands-on knowledge of the real world concerns of exploited children. They will also gain a new respect for collaboration of agencies that are providing services for children that have been exploited.Students will work in teams to produce specific sections of the training manual. All sections of the manual must be accepted by the community partner as well as the instructor. The success of this project is also connected to the team’s ability to meet the needs of the clients in an effective and professional manner.

Content Partnerships in Elementary Education

Faculty Mentors: Andrew Gatza, Jonathan Watkins, Amy Leitze, Jerry Woodward, Jenna Menke, Bima Sapkota
Community Partner: West View Elementary School, Burris Laboratory School
Classes: MATH 391, EDRD 430, EDRD 300, EDEL 300

Burris Laboratory School (“Burris”) and West View Elementary School (“West View”) are the community partners for this immersive learning pilot grant project. These schools were identified as they have each expressed a need for additional elementary mathematics support for their teachers and students. Relatedly, several BSU mathematics education faculty have been working to overhaul the elementary mathematics methods course (MATH 391) for elementary education majors. In particular, the focus has been on coordinating professional development with elementary teachers in conjunction with strong collaboration with the same teachers to serve as mentors for our pre-service teachers in MATH 391. In short, the idea is to structure all sections of MATH 391 (7-8 sections total each academic year) to closely coordinate coursework and fieldwork; to coordinate school/in-service teacher content needs with MATH 391 coursework; and to provide additional professional development for mentor teachers to continue building strong math content-specific partnerships in elementary education. We see this close-knit collaboration as one that best positions our elementary education majors for the teaching profession, one that best supports a mutually beneficial partnership with local elementary schools, one that will be a sustainable model for our mathematics education program, and one well-aligned with the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators’ standards for teacher preparation (AMTE, 2017).

For Burris, mathematics education faculty have already been working with the Burris administration and elementary teachers on professional development (Fall 2023) and have begun a “pre-pilot” collaboration for Spring 2023. Therefore, strong bi-directional relationships with Burris that would facilitate the kind of collaborations put forth in this grant are already in motion.

For West View, the former BSU Professional Development School (PDS) Liaison to West View, Amy Leitze, has been instrumental in navigating a collaboration with West View teachers, ensuring school needs remain centered. For this grant, Leitze will leverages her foundational work with the West View community to expand BSU-West View partnership possibilities. Integral to this collaboration are the elementary education reading and literacy courses (EDEL 300, EDRD 300, and EDRD 430) that Leitze regularly teaches at West View. These literacy/reading courses will support the MATH 391 initiative in multiples ways: 1) EDEL 300 and EDRD 300 are immersive on their own and thus allow Leitze to be at West View on a regular basis, and 2) they allow long-term, sustainable possibilities in that elementary education students are be able to join multiple practicum experiences within a single school (e.g., math during the school day via MATH 391 and reading through an after school literacy club via EDRD 430).

Computer Science for Muncie (and surrounding) Schools (CS4MS+)

Faculty Mentor: David Largent
Community Partners: Northside Middle School, Burris Laboratory School Inspire Academy, Ross Community Center, Longfellow Elementary School
Class: CS 341

Partnering with local schools, the Computer Science for Muncie (and Surrounding) Schools (CS4MS+) project team researched, developed, curated, and delivered instructional resources which incorporate Computer Science (CS) into educational offerings, with a focus on the Indiana CS academic standards, and worked to advance teachers’ understanding of CS and/or interacted with their students as a teaching assistant. Although CS student focused, an interdisciplinary project team was sought, with another project focus being to expose underrepresented minorities and females to CS.

A student explains binary code on a blackboard

Community Dinner and Ross Community Center Nutrition Education Project

Faculty Mentor: Grace Adegoye
Community Partner: Ross Community Center
Class: NUTR 456

This course provided an overview of key community nutrition and nutrition education content giving insight into the biological, economic, social, cultural, and policy issues affecting a community's nutritional status.

The Community Dinner and Ross Community Center Nutrition Education projects provided students with community assessment skills to identify the community's needs and desires. The projects incorporated more targeted nutrient education materials and experiences for the community members. The immersive learning students gained experiential knowledge of community-based nutrition programs, planning strategies, collaboration, fund sourcing, budgeting, cultural competency, and designing culturally appropriate nutrition education materials. They were also privileged to educate the community on healthy food to promote healthy eating behavior among the Muncie community, including BSU students.

The projects addressed unhealthy eating patterns in the community and also met the nutrition literacy needs of non-English-speaking community members by translating a nutrition infographic into Spanish.

A student sorts items at a food drive wearing a ahirt that says Eat your fruits and veggies.

Community Membership Analytics: Predicting Trends at TCM

Faculty Mentor: Luis Orozco
Community Partner: Children's Museum of Indianapolis (TCM)
Class: BA 482

As a part of their project, the students collaborated with the Children's Museum of Indianapolis (TCM) to review and analyze the data related to membership activity. The students analyzed the existing trends of usage, renewal, and cancellation of different types of memberships and developed a model to predict when members are likely to cancel their membership. They learned data-driven decision making, understanding usage patterns, data visualization for communication, analytical skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication skills, teamwork and collaboration, and attention to detail.

Cradle to Career for Educational Attainment

Faculty Mentor: Jim Parham
Community Partner: George and Frances Ball Foundation
Classes: JOUR 456, JOUR 465

This project has been working in cooperation with the George and Frances Ball Foundation on a major marketing project titled, Cradle to Career. This is a widespread effort to raise educational attainment in Delaware County, specifically within the Muncie schools.

Creating a Sustainable System to Support Student Retention

Faculty Mentor: Fred Kitchens
Community Partner: Ball State Office of Student Success and Retention
Classes: BIS 412, BIS 490

The Office of Student Success and Retention is improving the student retention rate through the gamification of education via a four-year student "house system" (e.g., Hogwarts houses). The process of recording scores for the house system will eventually require 256 hours of work per semester, which is not sustainable. Therefore, an automated data-entry system will be developed and will alleviate the burden experienced by the client. This will allow the client to focus on student engagement and retention rather than data entry.

Digital Marketing Immersive Capstone - Heart of New Castle

Faculty Mentor: Chris Wilkey
Community Partner: New Castle Main Street
Class: MKG 490

Through the MKG 490 Immersive Capstone course, our students worked directly with New Castle Main Street and the businesses in downtown New Castle to increase their visibility through digital marketing in the forms of video, photography, social media, websites, and podcasting. Students gained real-world experience creating content for businesses and will help encourage additional economic development in the area.

A student videos a person making a coffee drink

Housing Needs Analysis Project with Muncie Land Bank

Faculty Mentor: Sanglim Yoo
Community Partner: Muncie Land Bank
Class: PLAN 203

PLAN 203 Regional Analysis and Design studio is participating Philanthropy Pedagogy Pilot Project. The studio is partnering with Muncie Land Bank, Muncie, IN, and assessed the housing needs of selected neighborhoods in Muncie. Students learn land analysis and land use planning at the regional scale with the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Humanizing Addiction

Faculty Mentor: Michelle Poole
Community Partner: Recovery Cafe Muncie
Class: SOC 299X

In the Muncie community, like many communities throughout the country, drug and alcohol use, addiction, and the number of overdose deaths have continued to grow. There are currently not enough services available for people seeking help for addiction. The stigma that surrounds addiction leads to people with addiction issues having limited opportunities for employment, housing, and socializing. The goal of this project is to educate our campus and surrounding community about addiction and make strides to reduce stigma by sharing stories, photos, and resources through a public showcase and website. We are honored to be working with our community partner, Recovery Café. This organization does extensive outreach in the community with people currently addicted to drugs as well as those in recovery.

During the project, we are conducting photo elicitation interviews and documenting the lived experiences of people currently in recovery from addiction. Our goal is to empower them to tell their stories and through these efforts humanize them. We distributed disposable cameras to people in different stages of recovery, giving them the opportunity to photograph their everyday world. We followed up with photo elicitation interviews. We also conducted interviews with community stakeholders and local agencies that provide addiction services. The deliverables of the project will be a final presentation, an electronic version of the work for the agency, a photo scrapbook of the project, and a website with information on stigma, addiction, and the stories of the participants in recovery. The students are learning many important skills in this course including team building, problem solving, planning and implementing a community project, utilizing resources, interviewing and conducting photo ethnographies, conducting research, web creation tools, and information on the impact of drugs on the lives of people and our community.

A student looks at a photograph during an interview

Inform Muncie

Faculty Mentor: Kate Elliott
Community Partner: 8twelve Coalition
Class: JOUR 397, JOUR 311

A description of the project: Inform Muncie is a student-led news outlet committed to collaborative and inclusive storytelling in our community. We give voice to untold stories and under-recognized people and neighborhoods.

The 8twelve Coalition is a team of more than 25 nonprofits, businesses and neighborhood associations working collectively to improve the quality of life in the Thomas Park/Avondale and South Central neighborhoods. Inform Muncie is not telling stories FOR the 8twelve, but the nonprofit is an active partner in helping the news outlet develop story ideas and connect with sources.

Interior Design Studio 5 Immersive Learning Course

Faculty Mentor: Shireen Kanakri
Community Partner: Franciscan Health Hospital
Class: IDES 424

The Interior Design Studio 5 course can enrich the students and apply real-world experience to their learning by partnering with Methodist Hospital.

Keeping Henry Moving in Delaware County

Faculty Mentor: Nicole Koontz
Community Partners: Pleasant View Elementary School, Inspire Academy Muncie, East Washington Academy
Class: EXSC 202

The Ball State students traveled to local schools and focused on teaching exercise and physical activity in a fun way. Our main objective was for elementary aged kids to enjoy what they are learning, want to exercise and eat healthy, as well as pass the information they are learning along to their parents. Nutrition is addressed through MyPlate activities and the exercise comes in a wide variety depending on class size. Ball State students helped make worksheets, bulletin boards, exercise plans, and games for the elementary students to do in and out of the classroom setting. Exercise Science students have recently partnered with Ball State Computer Science students to produce an website for kids and parents. Our focus of the web-based app is to include healthy recipes, kid-appropriate exercises, and a way for kids to track their daily exercise and to reinforce what was learned during our time with them. Also, we have printed an activity workbook for students to take home with goal setting, nutrition and physical activity ideas.

A college students smiles at a younger student

Landscape Architecture (LA) in the Community

Faculty Mentor: Taylor Metz
Community Partner: Town of Pendleton, IN
Class: LA 498, LA 598

LA in the Community is an immersive course designed to cultivate a community-centered ethos among students, empowering them with essential skills to meaningfully engage with diverse communities. With a focus on empathy-driven design solutions and collaborative stakeholder engagement, students delve into real-world opportunities within Pendleton, Indiana.

This course not only hones students' design expertise but also fosters their development as conscientious professionals dedicated to ethical principles in landscape architecture. Emphasizing critical aspects such as historical preservation, social equity, and cultural sensitivity, students are equipped to navigate complex issues within diverse community contexts.

At its core, LA in the Community adopts a holistic approach, equipping students to tackle practical challenges while nurturing their capacity to effect positive change through inclusive design practices. The ultimate goal is to inspire students to envision sensitive and intelligent growth within our community partner's historical landscape. As the end deliverable, students will craft a diverse array of creative concepts and visions tailored to facilitate responsible and sustainable development within this unique community setting.

A pile of markers over photos and landcape plans

Morrison Park Renaissance: Empowering Second-Year Landscape Architecture Students, the City of Shelbyville, and Our Involved Community through Innovative Design Initiatives

Faculty Mentors: Dorna Eshrati, Jeremy Merrill
Community Partner: Department of Planning and Building, City of Shelbyville, IN
Class: LA 202

Second-year Landscape Architecture students collaborated with Shelbyville's Parks Department to revitalize Morrison Park, the city's oldest public space. Recognizing its significance as a community hub and its recent decline, students engaged in site visits, meetings, and forums to gather input. Their final deliverable, a comprehensive guidebook, provided design solutions and served as a roadmap for the park's rejuvenation.

Two students sit listening to cimmunity members

Philosophy Outreach Project

Faculty Mentor: Sarah Vitale
Community Partner: Muncie Central High School
Class: PHIL 400

The Philosophy Outreach Project gets high school students across Indiana thinking. POP creates alternative spaces for learning in classrooms, clubs, online, and conference settings. By curating philosophical content and fostering philosophical discussion, POP provides high school students with tools and a platform to engage with each other and the world. POP believes that everyone deserves to live the examined life. We help them do so.

A hand holds a purple folder with the POP logo

Prism Project at The Center

Faculty Mentor: Kelly Fischer
Community Partner: The Center for Performing Arts (Carmel, IN)
Class: PSYS 495

The goal of The Center’s PRISM Project is to provide an engaging performing arts program that includes individuals with disabilities ages 6 – 22. We also work to close the gap in recreational activities for people with disabilities. Our students got hands-on experience engaging with individuals with a wide variety of neurodevelopmental disorders, while working on a team that includes the faculty mentor, mental health professionals, behavioral support professionals, and creative artists. The unique design of our program means we allow participants the opportunity to express themselves and engage with others, and we encourage self-confidence, activate creative arts experience, and nurture friendships.

A student helps a younger student

Radiance Cinema

Faculty Mentors: Benjamin Strack, Mark Cabus
Community Partner: Heartland Film
Classes: MDIA 336, MDIA 499, THEA 431, THEA 299X

Radiance Cinema engaged a broad range of film making talent to better understand the workings of film festivals, both as movie-goers and as Filmmakers. Through this project, Heartland Film gains a new youthful generation of film festival enthusiasts.

A student adjusts settins on a camera

Re-imagining Equitable Housing with Mass Timber (Solar Decathlon, COTE, and Timber in the City)

Faculty Mentors: Pam Harwood, Tom Collins
Community Partners: Muncie: EcoREHAB, Muncie Land Bank, INTEND Indiana; Fort Wayne: Ancora Redevelopment
Class: ARCH 400

This is a competition-driven, comprehensive design studio focused on innovative “missing middle” housing/mixed-use scenarios for several sites in Indiana using panelized/modular premanufactured components and mass timber structural system and construction. In this integrated design studio, there are three design competition options for students to consider: 1. AIA COTE Top Ten for Students, 2. Solar Decathlon Design Challenge, and 3. Timber in the City. All three competitions are focused on innovation, sustainable practices, and design integration. However, each competition offers its own unique format, requirements, and foci. Students self select a competition format, a city and site for their new housing typologies, and work with a community partner on the project’s development. In Fort Wayne we are working on the Electric Works site with Ancora Redevelopment. In Muncie we are working in the Old West End with the non-profit EcoREHAB, Muncie Land Bank, and INTEND Indiana.

A group of students and faculty look at architecture plans

Removal of Microplastics from the Muncie Wastewater Treatment Plant

Faculty Mentor: Bangshuai Han
Community Partner: Muncie Sanitary District
Class: NREM 385

Microplastics pollution is a pervasive issue within marine and freshwater environments and has recently emerged as a major contamination of concern. The project helped the Muncie Sanitary District (MSD) address the critical need in understanding the microplastics existence and removal from the Muncie Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). A team of 7 students examined the concentration and the removal rate, and identified sources of the microplastics in the Muncie WWTP. The MSD operates the Muncie WWTP, and helps facilitate sample and background information collection. The results will benefit the MSD, its Bureau of Water Quality (BWQ), and the WWTP by providing detailed data of this contaminant. The result will also help provide data support for future plant upgrade and will mutually benefit students in Dr. Han’s wastewater class and the MSD.

Second Harvest - The Big Idea Study and Hancock County Drug Court - Re-accreditation Study

Faculty Mentor: Melinda Messineo
Community Partners: Second Harvest, Hancock County Drug Court
Class: SOC 492

Capstone students used their research methods skills to provide real world data for their community partners. Through surveys, interviews, and focus groups, the students were able to tell the story and support the clients' data gathering and reporting needs.

Software Engineering Immersive Capstone

Faculty Mentor: Huseyin Ergin
Community Partners: Accutech Systems, Stanford Center for Continuing Medical Education, Peak Mind LLC, Pierce Aerospace, Behav, Everewear
Class: CS 495

In the class, students partnered with multiple community partners to meet their technological needs through the deliverables of designed software to the community partners.

Solving Dangerous Navigation at the Indianapolis Airport

Faculty Mentor: Fred Kitchens
Community Partner: Indianapolis Airport Authority
Class: BIS 412, BIS 490

Travelers at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) are confused, frustrated, and even injured due to a lack of effective navigational signs. On average, four people every day are injured riding the escalators. Many of the injured travelers file lawsuits, resulting in loss of revenue and reputation. This project utilized a six-phase model; including root cause analysis, problem identification, feasibility analysis, risk analysis, multiple criterion decision analysis, and an implementation plan to develop a sustainable solution.

Spotlight Recovery: Harnessing the Power of Therapeutic Storytelling in Community Settings

Faculty Mentors: Tracena Maria, Jonel Thaller
Community Partner: Delaware County Community Corrections
Class: THEA 434, SOCW 470

Students engaged in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a therapeutic arts-based program based on the Playback Theatre method, designed for Delaware County Community Corrections staff members. Students gained an understanding of common theories and techniques that undergird art-based therapies, factors associated with compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, and the importance of trauma-informed practices in the workplace. Students had an opportunity to practice therapeutic skills, such as interviewing, active listening, empathy, and validation. More broadly, students examined the role of storytelling to support the community partner with processing their professional experiences through theatre techniques and drama therapy interventions.

Close up of an ornate painted mask

Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal

Faculty Mentor: Dave Concepcion
Community Partners: American Philosophical Association, Philosophy Documentation Center, EBSCO Publishing
Class: PHIL 400

Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal is produced and edited entirely by undergraduate students. We aim to enrich student learning by providing an opportunity for undergraduate students to have their original scholarly work reviewed by or published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

The Next Generation of Communication Capabilities

Faculty Mentor: Fred Kitchens
Community Partner: The International Center
Class: BIS 412, BIS 490

The International Center promotes economic growth for Indiana through international relations. They communicate, coordinate, and facilitate international development on a personal level with business leaders. This process is hindered by outdated communication systems and telephones; creating inefficiencies and embarrassing situations. This project seeks to demonstrate the high-tech capabilities available to worldwide businesses when they come to Indiana.

The Struggle for Freedom

Faculty Mentor: Beth A. Messner
Community Partner: Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Team
Class: COMM 450

"The Struggle for Freedom" is a traveling Black History exhibit centered on the story of the Underground Railroad in Indiana. It was originally developed by students enrolled in a Virginia B. Ball Center seminar in Spring 2023. The current student team is creating additional assets for the exhibit and traveling it around the Muncie community. The exhibit plays a vital role in fulfilling the mission of the Martin Luther King Dream Team by advancing their efforts to provide civil rights education to our local community. More specifically, this project helps celebrate Black History in our community, raises audience consciousness about how the Underground Railroad functioned as an act of resistance, and explores the legacy of the institution of slavery in the United States.

Transatlantic Storytelling

Faculty Mentors: Chris Taylor, Alex Kartman
Community Partner: Cardiff Met University
Class: MDIA 497

The highlight of the project was a 12-day cultural immersion trip to Wales in late February and early March 2024. While on the ground, students collaborated with their peers in the Cardiff Met Sport Broadcast course to produce feature stories, live sporting events, studio shows and podcasts.

Prior to the trip, students researched and collaborated with Cardiff Met students to develop stories to film during the immersion. This continues an on-going exchange of pedagogy, global sports production trends and virtual guest lectures and student connections.

Union City Regional Trail Design

Faculty Mentor: Laurynn Thieme
Community Partner: Union City, IN
Class: LA 401

Students worked with both the Union City, Indiana mayor and Union City, Ohio town manager to visualize plans and designs: providing visions for a future regional trail that connects the two halves of the town, blurring the Indiana and Ohio border. Through the union of the cities, students connected to the rest of Indiana with a regional multi-modal trail plan resulting in a regional trail plan, trail branding and design, and park and open space designs.

Students point up at landscape plans on a wall

Until They All Have Homes

Faculty Mentor: Cynthia Hunter
Community Partner: Blackford County Animal Shelter
Class: IDES 325

Application of Interior Systems is an immersive learning course that combines the skills of design and construction in order for students to learn more about building materials. Course projects are intended to be immersive in nature, partnering students with community stakeholders. Students will be provided an opportunity to apply the entire design process, from pre-design through installation.

This immersive learning project’s title is based on the mission of the Blackford County Animal Shelter, “Until They All Have Homes.” Project objectives will strive to educate students on appropriate material selections and applications for a unique building typology, an animal shelter.

A student screws lumber together for a door frame

Village Promenade Event Proposal Shark Tank

Faculty Mentor: Craig Webster
Community Partner: Optimus Primary, Ball Brothers Foundation
Class: HOSP 387

The course is Event Mechanics and Promotions and its intention is to give students a thorough understanding of issues regarding planning and running events. The immersive project for the semester was for the students to design and plan an event for the Optimus Primary medical students residing at the Village Promenade. The students presented their proposals to a panel of experts who would determine which projects were to be considered to be run for the benefit of the medical students in residence. The students learn how to conceptualize and organize an event that is attractive and within budget while keeping in mind the strategic reasons for the event. In addition, students learned to communicate in presenting their event as interesting, cost-effective, and pragmatic to a panel of experts who judges who criticize the proposals and comment on whether the Optimus Primary project should invest in that particular event. This fits a community need, as the Optimus Primary project is designed to attract medical practitioners to Muncie/Delaware County and events are part of the project to make the medical students’ time in Muncie is enjoyable, encouraging them to think about returning to Muncie and Delaware County to practice medicine.

A student presents in front of a screen

Writing for Change - Beyond I Can

Faculty Mentor: Laura Romano
Community Partner: Beyond I Can
Classes: ENG 103, ENG 104

Writing For Change is an immersive full-year experience in which students take ENG 103 and ENG 104 with the same professor, same classmates, and same community partner. Our partner is Beyond I Can, a day services program for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. We have worked closely with BIC throughout the year, spending much of the first semester learning about culture and legislation surrounding disability studies while at the same time engaging with our community partner as we conduct interviews and participate in roundtable discussions to assess the needs of BIC and how we can mutually benefit one another. Our work this year has resulted in a brief informational video, a book of BIC art photography, poems and interviews, and informational flyers.

Two students hold flowers at Beyond i Can

Writing for Change - Muncie Mission

Faculty Mentor: Darolyn "Lyn" Jones
Community Partner: Muncie Mission
Class: ENG 103, ENG 104

Students read, analyzed, researched, wrote text and media documents that were used by the Muncie Mission for data collection and social media campaigns that directly impacted fundraising, volunteers, and donations.

With a large red shoe in the foreground, students pass out flyers for the Walk-A-Mile event

Writing for Change - Recovery Cafe

Faculty Mentor: Kathryn Ludwig
Community Partner: Recovery Cafe Muncie
Classes: ENG 103, ENG 104

Students learned about composing a variety of texts to support change in the community. They completed two projects for their community partner, the Recovery Cafe Muncie: an educational video series about recovery and a food and supply drive to stock the Cafe's pantry.

A student and professor conduct an interview at Recovery Cafe