Ottilie Schillig Special Teaching Projects Grants

Ottilie Schillig Special Teaching Projects Grants


The Ottilie Schillig Special Teaching Projects grant program provides financial support to encourage new ideas for improving undergraduate teaching. Through this program, teaching activities and/or materials for which the usual financial resources do not exist or cannot be used can receive financial support.  Proposed projects should create opportunities that otherwise would not exist and should also address continuing benefits to the department and college.  Proposals must have a pedagogical focus or they will not be considered for funding.


Individuals who hold academic status as Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor are eligible to receive funds through this program.  A group of faculty members may also submit a proposal with a single member designated as “principal proposer.” Normally, no more than one award will be given to a proposer in a 24 month period.  Proposals are solicited in the spring of each academic year.

Proposal Application

The proposal narrative should be no more than three pages in length (a total of four pages with the cover page), including supporting documents.  Download the Schillig cover page below and include it as the first page of your proposal. Include a descriptive title for your project. A well-written narrative of a proposed project should include the following:

  1.  A description and explanation of the activities for the proposed project, including timeline.
  2.  An explanation of how the project will improve undergraduate teaching and an estimate of how many students will be affected in a typical year.
  3.  Materials needed for the project. 
  4.  A rationale for requesting funds:
    •  How the proposed activities/materials differ from those currently used.
    •  Budget and amount of funding requested, in broad categories.

Budget expenditures may include anything normally considered to be a valid use of gift fund belonging to Mississippi State University.  Salaries, wages, or recurring cost may not be included.

A clear and understandable proposed budget should provide sufficient detail of anticipated expenditures in the broad categories of travel, contractual, commodities, and equipment.  All equipment purchased with a proposal will belong to Mississippi State University.  The total amount requested should not exceed $3000. 

The opportunity for association with other funds, particularly matching or cost share funds, will be favorably viewed by evaluators.  If you have matching or cost share funds, make sure the department head signs the cover page. Any proposed travel should demonstrate contributions to undergraduate teaching.

Schedule and Process

Proposals will initially be reviewed by the principal proposer’s college/school and those reviews will be forwarded to the evaluation committee.  The evaluation committee will be composed of individuals represents a cross section of the university, including recent recipients of teaching awards and distinguished professors.

Proposals must be submitted electronically as a PDF document to the Center for Teaching and Learning by email to by Wednesday, March 20, 2024.  Proposal will be forwarded to the appropriate Dean for review.

Award recipients will be notified by May 10, 2024.

Awardees will submit a report stating whether the funded project was successful in reaching expected outcomes no later than 30 days after the date of completion.  Include a table with both the original proposed budget and the actual final expenditures in separate columns. Failure to submit a report may disqualify recipients from future awards.


Ottilie Schillig Teaching Project Award Recipients

Jason Baker, COE - Music

Project: Technology for Electroacoustic Performance and Pedagogy

Award: $2,479.53

Funding provided for speakers, audio interface, and connecting cables to provide students with electroacoustic music in various pedagogical situations.

Robin Carroll, CAAD - Interior Design

Project: Lighting Choices

Award: $2,669.94

Funding provided for light meters to collect color properties of LED lights in order to determine appropriate color tuning in lighting design.

Kristine Evans, CFR - Wildlife and Fisheries

Project: Improving Animal Behavior Experiential Learning Labs through an Aviary Camera System

Award: $3,000.00

Funding provided for one open-eye overhead camera system for data collection and monitoring of birds in the Avian Science Center.

Charles Freeman, CALS - School of Human Sciences

Project: Learning Labs through an Aviary Camera System

Award: $2,910.00

Funding provided for textile testing lab equipment to research & test materials to be used in wet and humid conditions for the manufacturing and use of wearable technology. 

Matthew Haislip. COE - Music

Project: A Pair of Natural Horns for Pedagogy, Applied Study, and Performance

Award: $3,000.00

Funding provided for two natural brass horns allowing music majors to experience and demonstrate the physics of an all brass instrument.

James Adam Jones, BCOE - Computer Science Engineering

Project: VXR- Virtual and Extended Reality Software Development

Award: $3,000.00

Funding provided to purchase 10 Meta/Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets and accessories to be used in developing and testing VR software programs.

Natraj Morshedlou, BCOE - Industrial Systems Engineering

Project: Teaching Linear Programing with Virtual Reality Games: Bringing Large Scale Problems to the Classroom

Award: $2,999.86

Funding provided for 60 seat licenses for Unity platform Anylogic software to be used in VR technology to solve linear programming problems. 

Ashley Schultz, CFR - Forestry

Project: Trees on Display: Enhancing Student Learning Through Permanent Displays

Award: $2,999.86

Funding provided for 13 extra deep display cases and card stock to house student created exhibits of ecologically & economically import woody plant species.

Brandi Sumrall, COE - Meridian Division of Education

Project: Data-Driven Decision Making Experiences for Pre-Service Special Education Majors

Award: $1,240.80

Funding provided for a BRIGANCE Early Childhood kit and BRIGANCE Transition Inventory & Activities kit for teacher candidates to determine students' appropriate grade level skills and assist in developing transition plans for IEPs for students with disabilities.

Kathleen Thomas, Business - Finance and Economics

Project: Acquisition of Swell Form Graphics Machine to Support Low-Vision Learners at MSU

Award: $3,000.00

Funding provided for a Swell Form Graphics Machine to be housed in the Mitchell Memorial Library for shared faculty use in transforming images and graphs into tactile objects for low-vision students.

Kim Walters,  CAS - Math

Project: Secret Success: Study & Organization Skills

Award: $1,029.00

Funding provided for notebooks and paper to encourage note taking for at risk students in intermediate Algebra.

Maryam Mirabolghasemi, BCOE-Chemical Engineering

Project: Improving the Learning Experience of Drilling Engineering Course Students by Using a Drilling Simulator

Award: $3000

Funding provided for shipping DrillSI:50 consoles that will provide unique active learning opportunities to enhance students' learning experience in the Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, acquiring software license, and covering travel expenses of technician traveling to MSU to install and configure the system and train the faculty users.

Kateryna Malaia, CAAD-Architecture

Project: Evicted: Housing Insecurity Research in Mississippi

Award: $3000

Funding provided for audio recording equipment necessary to collect interviews to establish an oral history laboratory dedicated to giving students a hands-on experience of architectural research and introducing them to the challenge of housing insecurity in Mississippi.

Caroline Kobia, CALS-Human Sciences

Project: Building a Digital Repository of Interviews from Fashion Entrepreneurs

Award: $3000

Funding provided for Virtual Sustainability Conference Speaker fees for 10 interviews with fashion entrepreneurs to build a digital repository to serve as a permanent online and face-to-face resource for the Fashion Design and Merchandising Program at MSU.

Scott DiGiulio, CAS, Classical and Modern Languages and LIteratures

Project: Money Talks! Teaching Ancient History and Culture through Coins

Award: $1500

Funding provided to acquire a set of museum-quality replica coins to form the core of a teaching collection of numismatic material, greatly enriching the pedagogy of ancient history, culture and archaeology courses taught at MSU.

Sanna King, CAS-Sociology, Criminology, and Social Work

Project: The Real Monopoly: America's Racial Wealth Divide

Award: $500

Funding provided for 20 Monopoly Classic Game Board Sets to use in classrooms to introduce students to the concepts of social stratification based on multiple dimensions of inequality, including the racial wealth gap and injustices.

Shawn Lambert, CAS-Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures

Project: Visualizing Heritage: Incorporating 3D Handheld Laser Scanners for Tactile Pedagogy

Award: $3000

Funding provided for purchase (with cost-share) of a handheld laser scanner to provide increased portability and an engaging user interface that will allow the continuation of tactile pedagogy in current classes and facilitate the introduction of tactile pedagogical methods in other courses within AMEC.

Krishna Poudel, CFR-Forestry

Project: Bringing Forests to the Classroom

Award: $2998.75

Funding provided to purchase 4500 miniature mixed model trees, 1m x 1m Plexiglass sheets, and supplies and tools to construct a forested field with Plexiglass to enhance the learning experience of sophomore, junior, and senior students in Forest Measurements, Forest Biometrics, and Environmental Measurements by using an artificial forest diorama to demonstrate different sampling and estimation techniques that are commonly used in the survey of natural resources. 

Craig Aarhus, COLLED-Music

Project: eFlip Folders for the Famous Maroon Band

Award: $3000

Funding provided for secure eflip devices (with cost-share from university band) for members of the Famous Maroon Band to access their music digitally using smart phones instead of paper copies, providing a more modern method for students to read music at rehearsals and athletic events and a more cost-effective way for the band program to distribute music to students.

Roza Tulyaganova, COLLED-Music

Project: Breaking the Sound Barrier: The Benefits of Electronic Amplification for Future Music Educators

Award: $3000

Funding provided for a portable PS system including 8 wireless cavalier microphones; 3 dynamic handheld microphones; cables; stands; and carrying cases. This system will give students the opportunity to perform at locations beyond MSU, including outdoor performances to benefit the community and help to promote the MSU Music Department.

John Wyatt, COLLED-Instructional Systems and Workforce Development

Project: Development of Interactive Teaching Methods for Hands-On Technical Courses

Award: $1550

Funding provided to complet the equipping of a studio with a high quality still/video DSLR camera, additional lighting, backdrops, microphones, recording cart, and soundproofing for the stationary lab. This equipment will help instructors in the ISWD department to create multimedia lectures, demonstrations, and interactive content and will allow the instructional design faculty to demonstrate best practices in instructional design multimedia.

Joshua Smith, BCOE-Mechanical Engineering

Project: A Steam Engine Rediscovery Experience for Mechanical Engineers

Award: $2400

Funding provided for materials and manufacturing costs of three working models to be designed and built by ME students and used in a re-discovery activity centered on James Watt’s steam engine design piloted in the Fall of 2020 on the Gulf Coast campus, then modified for use on the Starkville campus in Spring of 2021.

Dominic Lippillo, CAAD-Art

Project: Exhibition of Student Work made with Digital Technology

Award: $3000

Funding provided for various digital equipment to showcase student work in a gallery setting to gain real-world perspective on creating art work for public display.

Saeed Rokooei, CAAD-Building Construction Science

Project: Improving Learning and Teaching in the Building Construction Science Safety Studio through Virtual Reality Application

Award: $3000

Funding provided for 3D and VR equipment and models to develop and apply educational modules in a virtual reality environment to “enhance teaching quality and student learning experience” in the studio.

Florencia Meyer, CALS-Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology

Project: Can you "see" the fingerprints?

Award: $3000

Funding provided for updating a forensic equipment that allows students to enhance invisible fingerprints deposited on objects to be able to photograph and analyze them.

Molly Nicodemus, CALS-Animal and Dairy Science

Project: Benefits of animal assisted psychotherapy and learning taught through participation in an equine therapy program

Award: $3000

Funding provided for technology and arena equipment to expand the current therapy program to accommodate the size of student involvement from larger ADS classes.

Rinat Gabitov and Brenda Kirkland, CAS-Geosciences

Project: Engaged, Hands-on Learning of Minerals and Rocks using Microscopes and Thin Sections pared with Hand Samples in Foundational Geology Courses

Award: $2803

Funding provided for thin sections and microscopy accessories to allow for upgrading of labs to better engage students and improve hands-on learning experiences.

Ashley Vancil-Leap, CAS-Gender Studies

Project: The Game of Social Life: A Multi-Dimensional Poverty Simulation

Award: $529.32

Funding provided for materials to create and produce materials necessary to assemble the poverty simulation game.

Austin Himes, CFR-FWRC

Project: Improving Student Learning by Establishing a Campus Nature Trail with an Augmented Reality Experience

Award: $3000

Funding provided for arboretum wood plant tags and signs with QR codes and information text to enhance the instruction of FO2213 Dendrology.

Chih-Chia Chen, COE-Kinesiology

Project: Increasing Experimental Learning Experience in Human Movement Study

Award: $3000

Funding provided for portable laboratory equipment to allow hands-on experience to PE3223 and PE4853 students.