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Many institutions like to talk about innovation.

At Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, we showcase it.

On top of delivering the most innovative STEM education around, we pride ourselves on ground-breaking research.

With resources like the Presidential Research Grant, our professors  engage students in research and development that reaches out and grabs the world.

Simulating Global Crises 

Professor John McKnight and Librarian David Runyon used a $20,000 Presidential Research Grant award to co-develop a role-playing educational course titled “Simulating Global Crises.”

Introduced as a general education class in January, students enrolled in the course spent the spring semester collaborating to confront a humanitarian crisis. The course is centered around what is essentially a board game Runyon and McKnight developed with help from futurist and systems designer Michael Burnam-Fink, PhD, Arizona State University, and Alisa Schreibman, author and CTO of an ebook publishing company.

“We wanted students to learn teamwork and systems, and there really isn’t anything like this being done. I wanted students to have the experience of acting like a professional in the moment,” McKnight said. “Most of the students told us it was their favorite course.”

Students will have the opportunity to enroll in Simulating Global Crises, also dubbed SimGlobal, each spring, thanks to the Presidential Research Grant, McKnight said.

“David and I are good, but we didn’t have the resources in house to bring in design experts. We couldn’t have done it without the funding,” he said.

McKnight and Runyon hope to develop SimGlobal into a kit that mother schools can incorporate it into curriculums.

Albert Sarvis, Professor of Geospatial Technology and Director of HU’s Geospatial Technology Center was awarded more than $19,000 in Presidential Research Grants to launch three innovative research projects.

The projects: Mapping the Composition and Characteristics of Acid Mine Drainage in Schuylkill County, Mapping and Analyzing the Population of early 20th Century Harrisburg and establishing a Geospatial Intelligence Program for Harrisburg University, engaged students in research and showcased the technical capabilities of HU.

In addition to its potential environmental benefit, a project like the Mapping of Acid Mine Drainage “Provided HU Students with excellent, real-life, hands-on training with sophisticated analytical instrumentation,” Sarvis said. “Students can see how that work contributes to real-life environmental problem solving.”

“It also provides HU faculty the opportunity to establish a working relationship with partners, partners who have all expressed an interest in continuing the work with Harrisburg University beyond the initial PRG grant period,” he added.

Keep an eye on HU’s website and social media pages for more on the INNOVATIVE EDUCATION underway everyday at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

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