Five Washington State University faculty proposals for Smith Teaching and Learning Grant awards have been approved for funding, said William B. Davis, interim vice provost for academic engagement and student achievement. “The five projects funded by Smith grants will literally impact the student success and academic progress of hundreds of WSU students, and we are impressed by the innovative ideas advanced by all of the applicants. We will look forward to seeing the progress on, and the results from, these projects, with final reports due in August 2023.”

PULLMAN, Wash.—Five Washington State University faculty proposals for Smith Teaching and Learning Grant awards have been approved for funding, said William B. Davis, interim vice provost for academic engagement and student achievement.

Projects this year were sought that address WSU’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA), and focus on specific areas through innovative practices that improve student learning.

“The five projects funded by Smith grants will literally impact the student success and academic progress of hundreds of WSU students, and we are impressed by the innovative ideas advanced by all of the applicants,” said Davis. “We will look forward to seeing the progress on, and the results from, these projects, with final reports due in August 2023.”

Smith Grant Recipients for 2022

Faculty applying as principal investigators on the awarded grants are:

  • Joy Egbert, College of Education, for a project titled, “Africa is Not a Country: Supporting Cultural Awareness and Task Engagement in Teacher Education.” The project calls for the creation of three educational escape rooms in the college aimed to enhance the knowledge of future teachers about the diverse geographical origins or ties of their future students.
  • Sonia Lopez-Lopez, College of Arts and Sciences, for a project titled, “Spanish 308 for Heritage Speakers.” It involves the creation of a 300-level Spanish language course for students who speak Spanish fluently, having learned it at home, but whose competency might be limited due to a lack of formal understanding of the language. The course could help students gain better writing skills in their native tongue and contribute to their higher academic success.
  • Matt Loveless, Murrow College of Communication, for a project titled, “Connections: A Partnership in Professional Storytelling for Underserved Populations.” It calls for the creation of a partnership between a select group of students from three journalism courses and professional mentors from three Spokane television stations. Student teams will create stories about underrepresented people that could be broadcast.
  • Phil Mixter, School of Molecular Biology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, for a project titled, “ImproveWRITING: Mixed-method Access Tools to Improve Student STEM Writing.” The project involves a collaborative team effort to incorporate the ImproveWRITING tool into courses across multiple campuses, the creation of a STEM writing lab in Pullman, training of peer coaches and editors, web tool design, and collaboration with instructors to improve students’ writing skills for STEM-specific assignments such as lab reports and research papers.
  • Tracy Simmons, Murrow College of Communication, for a project titled, “Addressing Religious Illiteracy Through Journalism and Experiential, Community-based Learning.” This project creates opportunities for journalism studies students to gain and promote a better understanding of religions in rural Washington by meeting local religions leaders and organizing a panel discussion on campus about religious misinformation.

Smith Grant Program

The Smith grant program was established through the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment, begun in 2000 when WSU President Smith retired. Proposals for this year’s grants were evaluated by members of the WSU Teaching Academy, who made recommendations to Davis.


Media contacts: Bill Davis, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement, 509-335-3995, wbdavis@wsu.edu

Beverly Makhani, DAESA Director of Communications and Marketing, 509-432-3430, makhani@wsu.edu