Ryan Dangerfield | Staff Writer | @ryandanger23
Utah Valley University’s Center for the Study of Ethics announced its annual Faculty Fellowship Awards. The recipients are Suzy Cox, a professor in elementary education, and Michael Minch, a professor in philosophy and humanities.
Minch received the first ever Interdisciplinary Group Fellowship Award, offered from the Ethics Center, for building a sustainability database, Summit, which will store information about sustainability and resources concerning how to improve their current condition, and also give access to a network of top sustainability researchers and experts.
“Summit will be an extremely sophisticated tool to connect people who need knowledge with sources and knowledge,” said Minch. “I have talked with a variety of different people all across the world to see if this type of database exists, and it does not.”
Minch mentioned two key members of Summit’s group who contributed to the success of Summit- Erin McClure, the Summit program manager, and Nina Fae, the Summit database engineer.
“The Summit project is collaborative, intra-disciplinary, and involves students in a very substantial way,” said Brian Birch, director of the Center for the Study of Ethics. “It really addresses critical ethical issues, it draws on all types of research and data having to do with sustainable development, cross-cultural relations, and other issues that fall in the area of the Ethics Center.”
Cox was selected for her work examining the attitudes of administrators and faculty, within school districts, toward the use of technology in the classroom and whether it varies depending on the type of area the students are growing up around.
Cox believes some students are aware of technology and how to use it, but there are other students who do not have access to technology and do not know how to use it.
“I am looking at what schools are doing to help alleviate this divide and how students are being prepared to use technology in meaningful ways when they reach the university and career levels,” said Cox.
UVU professors are not required to do research outside of the classroom, but several professors do research in their personal time and with limited resources. Minch will receive $10,000 to go towards funding Summit and Cox will receive $3,000 to continue her research on the digital divide.
“The reality of our career market right now is if you cannot use computers to analyze data, write papers, and present information,” said Cox. “You are not going to succeed in college; you are not going to succeed in a career.”