Grant Winner 2012

Click on the name below to access an abstract of the funded project

The "Students First Grants" program encourages and supports faculty in the development of active student-centered pedagogies across the curriculum, the use of newer technologies that engage students both in and outside of the classroom, co-curricular activities that include field trips, and creative strategies to assess student learning gains.  This robust initiative is intentionally aimed at incoming first year students so as to launch them effectively in their college experience by engaging them in their learning and building community among students. Sixteen faculty and staff were awarded 13 grants in 2012.

Heading Content
1. Robert Elgart & Joseph Laura

Robert Elgart
Professor of Biology
Email: Email; Tel: 631-420- 2421


Joseph Laura
Professor and Chair of Dental Hygiene
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2060

Project Title
Discipline-related projects designed to substitute for the medical microbiology lab exercises taken by Dental Hygiene students.

Project Statement
Over the past ten years, Dr. Robert Elgart (principal investigator) has taught medical microbiology (BI220) to students in both nursing and dental hygiene programs. Dr. Laura Joseph (co-principal investigator) has taught periodontics (DEN126) for over twenty years. During this time, the microbiology laboratory exercises were based on manuals published by recognized companies (e.g, McGraw Hill), with emphasis placed on general protocols followed in microbiological analyses. While these standardized methods related well to theoretical concepts of infectious agents and disease as presented in the lecture portion of the course, rarely did they present a practical application to the microbiology of the oral cavity. The literature has shown that learning outcomes involving higher-order thinking skills are difficult to achieve in health-related disciplines that have clinical components because knowledge obtained in the classroom is not easily transferred to the clinical setting.

It is apparent that exercises that embody the basic principles of microbiological analyses while incorporating orally focused studies would be a more relevant approach to illustrating theories for dental hygiene students. The primary objective of this proposal is to prepare a set of research-oriented laboratory projects based on the techniques normally practiced in the medical microbiology laboratory, but utilizing materials gathered by students in the clinical dental setting. The study will focus on microbes isolated from different individuals, rather than the typical practice of providing students with standard cultures for analysis. Each of the six projects will conclude with a report, as consistent with present requirements in the BI220 lab.

2. Luisa Nappo-Dattoma


Luisa Nappo-Dattoma
Associate Professor of Dental Hygiene
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2732

Project Title
The Redesign and Enhancement of the Existing Course DEN 203: Principles of Nutrition for the Oral Health Professional Utilizing Blended Learning (Hybrid Course).

Project Statement
The proposed redesign and enhancement of DEN 203: Principles of Nutrition for the Oral Health Professional will be the first blended learning (hybrid) course within the dental hygiene curriculum. The objective of redesigning the existing course, DEN 203, by developing a blended learning course is to provide an engaging student-centered pedagogy to foster successful academic achievement. At Farmingdale State College dental hygiene students in the two-year Associate in Science program are not exposed to an online course in any of the dental hygiene core courses. The only online exposure is the use of Angel SLN Learning System as a course management tool in many of the core courses.

The proposed design of the blended pedagogy will allow the initial exposure to course content to be the online component using technology rather than face-to-face class time. This will afford students the time to read and examine the material prior to coming to the classroom. It is assumed this strategy will provide more interactive student-centered activities to be conducted during class time. On-going assessment of non-classroom learning will also be conducted in the face-to-face component of the blended course utilizing an audience response system.

The expected outcome of this Title III - Students First Grant funded project is to provide an engaging student-centered learning environment. The anticipated outcomes include:
• An innovative active-learning pedagogy to facilitate critical thinking skills.
• An interactive learning venue for interaction and collaboration through a blended learning platform.
• The potential to increase student-learning outcomes in comparison with the equivalent face-to-face instruction.
• Assessment of successful achievement utilizing interactive technology.

3. Stephen Patnode & Marcia Littenberg


Stephen Patnode
Assistant Professor of History
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2422


Marcia Littenberg
Professor of English
Email: Email Tel: 934-420-5169

Project Title
This land is my land. Or is it? Studying the environment and society in a learning community.

Project Statement
We are applying for funding in the Students First Grant Competition under category 1: Grants Designed to Improve Teaching inside the Classroom. We propose enhancing HIS 122 and linking it with EGL 101 to create a Learning Community for fall 2012. Steve's previous experience as a Teaching Fellow in the Learning Communities Program at Stony Brook University means he is well prepared to contribute successfully to this model within the Farmingdale community. Marcia has been teaching at FSC since 1991, and received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009. She has developed new courses in her Department and taught a theme-based EGL 101 focusing on current issues in the environment in the fall of 2011.

This Learning Community consists of two related classes: HIS 122 and EGL 101. Dr. Marcia Littenberg from the Department of English will be the co-project director. The courses will connect by incorporating an environmental theme. The tentative title we have worked out is "This Land is My Land - or is it? Reading and Writing about the Environment and Society." HIS 122 will still cover the discipline-specific content that is necessary for students to have an understanding of and appreciation for American history. At the same time, we will explore the ways that environmental history helps contextualize broader developments in our nation's past. For example, looking at the location of water and other resources helps to explain regional and national development patterns. Understanding issues of environmental justice requires understanding the historical context in which particular groups are privileged or disadvantaged, as well as the political context in which these issues emerge.

4. Xu Zhang


Xu Zhang
Assistant Professor of Economics
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2334

Project Title
Engaging students through the use of discussion, problem solving, and I-clickers in Economics 156.

Project Statement
Goals: This project is entitled "Engaging students through the use of discussion, problem solving, and I-clickers in Economics 156. " It aims to address the challenges in college education: how to facilitate active and engaged student learning within the economics classroom? The project focuses on interactive use of i-clickers, class response systems which allow faculty to collect real-time data from students during lecture, to help keep students motivated and engaged in a fundamental economics class: ECO 156 (Principles of Macroeconomics). The project will also provide instructional tools to assist instructors to deliver just-in-time teaching based on instantaneous student feedback transmitted through i-clickers. Plus, the project is designed to extend current assessment mechanisms, mainly through a few exams and homework, and enrich evaluation by including student feedback to questions in every lecture. Approximately 40 students will be enrolled in this course. Each student will be provided a clicker for free use in class. Students' responses to clicker questions will be transmitted and recorded through clickers and demonstrated anonymously on screen immediately. Learning outcomes before and after various learning activities such as problem solving and group discussion will be compared with the real-time data collected.

Anticipated Benefits:
• Students are expected to be more engaged in the learning process
• Non-verbal participation will expand
• The instructor will be able to manage the pace of instruction and student learning more easily based upon immediate student feedback
• The learning process in the study of economics will become more effective

5. John L. Browne & Uma Balaji


John L. Browne
Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2085


Uma Balaji
Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2724

Project Title
Design, fabrication, and evaluation of circuits in modern wireless communication systems.

Project Statement
Modern wireless cellular communication systems utilize various techniques to transmit voice signals and digital data between end users. This project will involve the design fabrication and testing of electronic circuits that will modulate or impress digital data onto a Radio Frequency signal. The circuits that will accomplish this are called "Modulators". Two students will be involved in the design and development of these boards as Co-curricular activities. We will educate and guide the selected students through design, fabrication and testing of the circuit boards. To this end, we will make use of the material from several courses in Electrical Engineering Technology program such as EET 225, Communication electronics and EET 426, Digital Communication that include fundamentals on the topic of modulation. In addition, mentoring will be provided to the students on use of specialized laboratory equipment for testing purposes.

This outside of classroom activity involving the design and fabrication of communication circuits will strongly enhance a student's learning and prepare him or her for the employment in this field. The fabrication of the printed circuit boards involves use of circuit board layout software. Through the use of this software the mentored students learn important tools necessary in the development process. The software obtained through this project will be available to students in department for use in their senior design course. Furthermore, use of the developed boards for classroom demonstration purposes in EET 426 and in the laboratory courses of newly approved Telecommunication Technology program will enhance student learning and retention of concepts. The student learning outcomes based on the classroom demonstration of the digital modulation in EET 426 course will be assessed during spring 2013. The creative activity of the development of boards together with findings from the assessment of student learning outcomes will be presented in an educational conference.

6. Michael De Castro

De Castro

Michael De Castro
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2097

Project Title
Demystifying organic chemistry.

Project Statement
The project will see me mentoring and conducting research with two/three bioscience majors students in the field of synthetic organic chemistry during the summer and academic year. Such research is intended to supplement and enhance their normal coursework. Indeed, through carefully mentoring, these students will receive graduate-level instruction in a noncredit tutorial setting. The focus of our research revolves around the chemical synthesis of biologically active carbohydrate based compounds. More specifically the synthesis of a cost effective chitinase inhibitor based on the framework of Allosamidin. Allosamidin is a pseudotrisaccharide featuring an aminooxazoline fused to a cyclopentitol. This natural product has been found to inhibit chitinase in the nM range. Chitinases are enzymes that hydrolyze chitin-a polysaccharide that consists of a repeating ß-(1-4)-linked N-acetyl-D-glucosamine units. Chitin is the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature and is commonly found in insects, plants, bacteria and fungi. Although chitin is not synthesized by humans, chitinases are produced by human white blood cells and have been linked to inflammation and airway constriction during an asthma attack. It has been proposed that chitinase inhibitors may also be useful as chemotherapeutics in the treatment of asthma. As part of our ongoing research program aimed at the generation of carbohydrate fused heterocyclic compounds we became interested in the development of a convergent approach for the synthesis of a small library of carbohydrate fused substituted oxazolines. Hence, our project looks at the generation of a novel synthetic route for the preparation of N-glycooxazolines (N at C-1), N-glycoaminooxazolines and N-glycothiazolines as potential chitinase inhibitors based on the framework of Allosamidin. We propose to accomplish this via the reaction of various protected glucal with aryl amides, heteroaryl amides, thioamides and substituted ureas in the presence of N-iodosuccinamide (NIS) in dry propionitrile at -78oC. Treatment of the newly generated glycosylamides with an anhydrous base should afford the N-glycooxazolines, N-glycoaminooxazolines and N-glycothiazolines. The ability to inhibit various chitinases by the compounds mentioned above will also be explored. This co-curricular research endeavor will benefit the students in many ways. Not only will they gain advanced knowledge in Chemistry, but they will be exposed to how serious research is done in the field. It is my hope that my students and I will prepare co-authored scholarly presentations and publications based on our research. Such credentials will do much to gain my students admission into prestigious graduate schools for advanced study in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Medicine, or related fields.

7. John Gao


John Gao
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice / Security Systems
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2116

Project Title
Mentoring students in forensic criminal justice research database.

Project Statement
Objectives: To enhance students' understanding of the challenges in fingerprint identification, and provide hands-on training on building fingerprint identification system using large databases · To provide students with a sophisticated research experience that will enhance their preparation and credentials for careers and graduate school in criminal forensics.

Project Description: Fingerprint recognition is one of the most widely used biometric technologies in criminal investigation, physical access control, and other commercial and medical applications. Like other biometric technologies, the fingerprint identification system works with two stages: registration and identification. During registration a user's fingerprint images will be captured. A biometric template is extracted from these images and then stored in a database. During identification, the user must provide the same finger for new measurements, from which a new template will be generated and then matched with the stored template. The matching score will be compared with a predefined threshold to determine if they match.

In this project I will mentor two criminal justice majors in summer 2012 and during the 2012-13 academic year in a non-credit research tutorial. At the conclusion of the project, the students will join me in preparing a co-authored paper or conference presentation based on our findings. Likely venues for our publication or presentation include the Mid-Atlantic American Society for Engineering Education and IEEE Long Island Science, Application, and Technology. Successful completion of the project would enhance each student's understanding of fingerprint identification systems, improve their skills of using fingerprints to conduct crime investigation, and prepare them to be biometric system designers.

8. M. Nazrul Islam


M. Nazrul Islam
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice/Security Systems
Email: M Islam; Tel: 934-420-2691

Project Title
Enhancing student learning process through applied research projects in forensic and security imaging.

Project Statement
The proposed research project is intended to provide hands-on training on image processing techniques to the students in the B.S. programs of criminal justice and security systems through a number of research projects outside their regular course curriculum. Image processing tools have widely been used in forensic investigation, digital evidence, physical security systems and video surveillance. The selected students will be trained on the fundamental concepts of digital images. The training will also involve the programming and software tools employed in practice for image processing and analysis. They will then be given different research problems on image processing so that they can utilize their knowledge and training to solve or design through critical thinking and simulation programs.

The major benefit of the research project will be practical training for the students on image processing concepts and tools, which they might deal with in their professional field. There are only a few courses in the curriculum which do not have the scope of teaching image processing techniques to the students. Also the project will enhance the student learning through critical thinking and innovative design processes because they will be assigned some challenges in the topic. The outcomes of the research projects will also be presented at some national conferences where the students will be encouraged to present their ideas and development. The presentation will further improve the student learning through interaction with peers in the field where they will have to justify their novelty and contribution.

9. Jill O'Sullivan


Jill O'Sullivan
Assistant Professor of Computer Systems
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2293

Project Title
Formula SAE engineering, APICS and ERP collaboration.

Project Statement
The core objective of this project is to combine student's efforts from all of the mentioned programs in order to create an opportunity for student collaborations to learn in a simulated corporate environment. This is the best way to prepare students for exposure to real life corporate issues that fosters an environment for students to coordinate and develop a vehicle that can compete worldwide.

By having the opportunity and the grants to carry out this project many beneficial outcomes for both the student body and the faculty can be expected. The main objective of this project is to create a stable environment for students to get an actual hands-on experience in creating, designing, testing and managing the production of this vehicle. Many of Farmingdale's courses are engaging but a key factor that they are missing is the opportunity to actually put the concepts learned in text books into action. Understanding other department's functions will assist each students understanding of the enterprise collaboration required today. There is no better way to prepare a student to enter a company than to simulate the process right here at Farmingdale State College. Each discipline will have a detailed set of objectives to accomplish. The Business Management students will be in charge of managing the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and the project management scheduling of all tasks, they will be doing further cost analysis in a best effort to make the project as economically efficient as possible. Automotive engineering students will be designing powertrain, as well as designing their own system to properly run a turbocharger off of the engine. They will be able to collaborate with mechanical and electrical engineering students to create the most efficient design for all components of the vehicle in a CAD/CAM system. The computer engineers will then help by utilizing software to run diagnostics on the car and figure out how to improve upon inefficiencies within the vehicle. Finally, the Visual Arts students will be used to create a website and all of the appealing characteristics for the logo design of the body of the vehicle. Weekly sessions will be arranged for members to meet up, collaborate and create a strategy to have the vehicle finished as soon as possible. This will teach students how to coordinate their time while also encouraging communication between students of different educational disciplines for better appreciation of those different functions.

Dr. Hubert Keen, President of Farmingdale State College, has showed support for this project and acknowledges this project as a great stepping stone for the college.

10. Janice Rivera


Janice Rivera
Director of EOP
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2597

Project Title
EOP summer institute 2012 pilot expansion program.

Project Statement
We are requesting a Students First grant to help fund costs associated with enhancing the Writing Seminar by adding instruction time, a focus on research, and introducing related special activities and events. Feedback received from our EOP professional tutors and Dr. Marya Carter (professor of EOP cohort psychology 101 course) have clearly identified the need to further develop the research skills of our freshman students which often yield poor results which completing class assignments and projects.

Students have been assigned to one of two "blind" writing seminar groups (college preparatory or remedial) based on high school performance. During this time, they addressed basic core writing skills. This year, instruction will have added focus on research skills and be supplemented with trips to the library and writing center, a day of dedicated topic discussion in the EOP Seminar course, and a special luncheon for students during which they will be joined by faculty members from various departments to discuss expectations, best practices and pitfalls. In addition, each student will be provided with a book on the topic of college writing skills that they may reference in future coursework. Program objectives for the Writing Seminar will include:

Short-term goals:
• Proper placement in fall semester English course
• Noted improvement in writing as displayed in pre- and post-writing test
• Proper use of research skills in submission of research project
• Increasing confidence in writing skills as noted in student evaluations

Long term goals:
• Improved performance in English 097 and 101 during the fall semester
• Improved feedback from faculty members
• Improved performance in research project assigned in EOP Psychology 101 course

11. Hazem Tawfik


Hazem Tawfik
Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology & IRTT
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2307

Project Title
Special training and research program planned for summer 2012 and beyond for MET Senior Students on the operation and utilization of Gas Chromatography (GC) in the implementation of their senior research projects.

Project Statement
Applied research work is a very powerful education tool that improves student learning through discovery. The proposed co-curricular activity provides the students with an opportunity for practice oriented education and enriches their experience with real world modern technology. A Gas Chromatography (GC) system will be acquisitioned for students training, utilization in their senior research programs and understanding its operation in analyzing gases.

Due to the uniqueness of such modern technology at the School of Engineering Technology (SET), it is anticipated that this outside of the classroom activity will enhance the students' engagement and interest in learning the utilization of this advanced equipment. This will be assessed and reflected by the students' success rate, increase students' participation and the escalation of their technical publications quality and quantity.

12. Jeff Hung


Jeff Hung
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2243

Project Title
Strengthen the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) BS program through individual course assessment

Project Statement
The current course assessment data for the Mechanical Engineering Technology BS program are six years old and outdated. The PI is proposing to update some of the assessment data and assess several MET courses (GPH104, MET205W, MET206, MET210 and MET211) that were taught and will be taught again by the PI. These fundamental engineering courses are heavily applied in the field of mechanical engineering. Students who excel in these courses usually are very competitive in the job market. The PI will be assessing these courses using the ABET program outcomes. These outcomes are well defined by a group of professionals from ABET so that ABET accredited academic programs are recognized internationally. Since the PI has been collecting student works (e.g. homework and exams) in his own courses for number of years, the new set of assessment data will become more statistical and reliable.

There will be several advantages in completing this project. The first advantage is that the assessment data will be able to indicate the strength and the weakness of the MET courses and MET students in term of the program outcomes. The second advantage is that the assessment data will also be used by the MET department for the current ABET accredited programs which are close to the end of the accreditation period and are set for renewal next year (2013). Moreover, the Automotive Technology (AET) department has recently joined the MET department as one department. This assessment preparation process and documents can be utilized again for the AET program in the future when the program is ready for ABET accreditation.

13. Rowland Ramdass


Rowland Ramdass
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Email: Email; Tel: 934-420-2329

Project Title
Assessment of a Study Abroad Course

Project Statement
This "Students First Grant" will be used to assess a study abroad nursing course NUR 240 "Nursing Beyond Borders." This summer eight nursing students have enrolled in this course. NUR 240 which will consist of two one hour meetings in which travel arrangements and cultural competencies will be explained. On June 2nd, participants will travel to Guyana for a seven day immersion experience. The course objective is to increase cultural competency of nursing students enrolled in this course. At the completion of this course, students will have an increased awareness of cultural competence as measured by Campinha-Bacote tool (IAPCC-SV) for undergraduate students in the health professions. During this experience students will have the opportunity to spend two days in the hospital setting observing nurses and other members of the healthcare team caring for patients. Students will have the opportunity to travel to a remote location to observe and assess the lifestyle and culture of a native Indian village. While in Guyana, students will assimilate with the Guyanese culture by experiencing the food, performing a community assessment and experiencing their way of life. This assessment grant will fund the cost of the assessment tools, travel insurance and a portion of the travel expenses for eight nursing students registered in NUR 240. The IAPCC-SV tool will be administered prior to beginning this study abroad course and upon return. An assessment of whether cultural competence was increased will be determined by analysis of the IAPCC-SV tool.

Outcomes of this study abroad course will have implications on how best to develop pedagogies to address cultural competence in nursing students. In addition this course will enhance the nursing curriculum in preparing graduates to care for culturally diverse patients. Future implications will have the ability to increase faculty participation in development of courses emphasizing cultural competence within the nursing curriculum.

Office of the Provost

Horton Hall, Room 230


Dr. Laura Joseph
Provost & VP for Academic Affairs


Holly Gordon
 Admin. Assistant to the Provost


Lauren Romer
Assistant to the Provost


Loretta Costello
 Admin. Assistant to the Assistant to the Provost


Dr. Michael Goodstone
Associate Provost


Dr. Jennifer Bryer
Interim Assistant Provost


Anice Dacosta
Admin. Assistant to the Associate and Assistant Provost


 Justin Salvatore Dolce
Academic Project Coordinator