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K-State awards $500,000 to boost research for global food systems

According to K-State News and Communications Services, K-State awarded $500,000 of Global Food Systems Innovation Grants to faculty members who are focusing on some global food challenges caused by a rapidly increasing human population.

The distribution of the grants was announced by Karen Burg, vice president for research.

“Given the importance of food production to the Kansas economy, the innovative technologies and knowledge generated from this initiative will lay a solid foundation for economic development within the state and help Kansas remain a leader in food production,” Burg said in the news release.

Funds for the grants were provided by the Kansas Department of Commerce and directed through the Global Foods Systems Initiative announced in January 2014.

Burg said in the news release that these awards will help continue research that will help K-State become a Top 50 public research university by 2025.

2015-16 Coffman chair aims to bring faculty engagement back into the classroom

Don Saucier, K-State’s 2015-16 Coffman chair for distinguished teaching scholars, is aiming to improve faculty engagement and enjoyment while teaching.

According to K-State News and Communications, Saucier will spend the next year as Coffman chair researching how professors’ positive experiences in classrooms reflects in student experiences.

“I’m very interested in the faculty experience in the classroom,” Saucier said in the news release. “I’m testing the trickle down engagement process — that faculty engagement leads to student engagement, which leads to student learning.”

Saucier will be expanding some of his pilot studies with the upcoming year’s research. He also has support from K-State’s Teaching and Learning Center and K-State First, a program dedicated to helping first-year students through smaller classes and mentors.

“We already have some pilot data that suggest students want their instructors to be engaged in the classroom and they think it helps them learn better,” Saucier said in the news release. “We’ve seen really good outcomes with student and faculty engagement, experiences and performance in the K-State First program pilot data.”

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