Peru State College
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News Release

$43,000 in mini-grants awarded to Peru State faculty seeking to enhance the student experience


(Peru, Neb.) Peru State College (PSC) students will now have the opportunity to engage in more active learning opportunities thanks to $43,000 in mini-grants awarded to 15 faculty members as part of the college’s inaugural Student Engagement Enhancement (SEE) Initiative.


Some of the funded proposals include a field experience to Washington, D.C., for the next Presidential Inauguration; simulation software that will allow students to explore a virtual crime scene; and an opportunity to use sophisticated equipment to study detailed biomechanical aspects of human movement.


President Dan Hanson said, “When we talk about student engagement at Peru State, we are referring to active participation in relevant learning activities. We want our students to have the opportunity to experience learning in new and unique ways. The SEE mini grants are a way to encourage creativity and innovation in teaching, thereby enhancing the student learning experience.”


The SEE Initiative arose out of the college’s recently adopted Sesquicentennial Strategic Plan; the first transformational goal is ‘Excellence through Essential Engagement.’ Strategies associated with that goal include enhancing the student experience through distinctive engagement, fostering engaged learning and achievement through proven best practices, and creating a dynamic learning environment for the campus community focused on professional development and technology.


Proposals, which were submitted as part of a competitive, peer-reviewed process, were required to feature an unusual opportunity for student engagement. Those that demonstrated an effective application of educational best practices, the development of critical thinking capacity, and that had the potential to impact the college’s second strategic goal of ‘increased prominence’ were particularly valued. Project areas included stipends to develop new and unusually engaging courses, field experiences, the acquisition of new equipment or simulation software, and service learning community initiatives, among others.


History Professor Dr. Sara Crook said, “The proposals put forth by Dr. Davis, Dr. Holtz and me take a creative approach to engaging students in infrequent events, like the 2012 Presidential Inauguration. That particular field experience presents an extraordinarily rare opportunity for Peru State students to be in the midst of an historic event as it occurs and analyze the politics, sociology and psychology that play into such a nationally important event.”


English Professor Dr. Dan Holtz said, “The Student-Directed Multi-Media Project for the 2012 Trails and Tales Tour is another unique way for students to have an in-depth, multi-disciplinary field experience. In this case, two students will work with educators and community leaders to manage an educational expedition to explore historic destinations in New England. In addition to developing project management skills, students will learn more about our country’s historical roots and its literary history, as well as communication techniques and marketing.”  


Recipients of the awards are listed below alphabetically by last name, along with their projects.

  • Dr. Kelly Asmussen, Professor of Criminal Justice
    Experiencing Culture Live
  • Dr. Michael Barger, Associate Professor of Biology
    Boat and accessories for field courses in Natural Science
    Field Trip to Yellowstone National Park or Alternative Location
  • Dr. Sara Crook and Dr. Spencer Davis, Professors of History
    Student Trip to the Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies
    Nebraska Humanities Council 17th Annual Governor’s Lecture for the Humanities
  • Dr. Greg Galardi, Dean of Professional Studies
    Simulation Software – Criminalistics, Policing and Psychology
  • Dr. Judy Grotrian, Professor of Business and Brad Griffin, Instructor of Computer Management Information Systems
    Speaking Your Way to the Future – A Little More Yap, A Lot less Tap
  • Dr. Dan Holtz, Professor of English and Dr. Sara Crook, Professor of History
    Student-Directed Multi-Media Project for Trails and Tales Tour 2012
  • Dr. Elina Ibrayeva, Professor of Business
    Tour of CASE IH Grand Island Plant
  • Dr. Julie Jones-Branch, Assistant Professor of Education and Dr. Evi Wusk, Assistant Professor of Education
    A Virtual Professional Learning Community
  • Dr. James Nevitt, Associate Professor of Human Services
    Psyc Mate Software
  • Kristi Nies, Instructor of English
    Community Planning Field Work
  • Dr. Judith Ruskamp, Associate Professor of Education
    Pre-Professional Development Mentorship Project
  • Dr. Kyle Ryan, Assistant Professor of Health, Physical Education, Recreation
    Biomechanical Analysis of Human Movement
    Blood Lactate Lab Research


For more information about the SEE Initiative, contact Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Todd Drew at 402-872-2222 or