Five Indian River State College Educators Win Creative Scholars Program Honors
Fort Pierce - Thursday October 19, 2023: Five educators at Indian River State College (IRSC) have received Creative Campus Scholars Awards for their work using Adobe Creative Cloud tools to promote student success. The program is funded by a $42,000 Development Grant from Adobe that was awarded through the College’s Institute for Academic Excellence (IAE) and is overseen by the IAE and Indian River State College Foundation. Each winning educator will receive a $2,400 stipend to support their efforts using the tools to improve classroom instruction and student engagement.
The Creative Campus Scholars Program is modeled on an artist-in-residence program in which the participants are encouraged to exchange ideas, methods, resources, and encouragement, said Dr. Jim Jeffers, a Graphic Design Technology Professor at Indian River State College, who facilitates the program with Shaun Wightman, a Graphic Design Technology Associate Professor. The call for applicants went out at the end of last spring semester and the participants met as a group for the first time on October 4.
“I see the Creative Campus Scholars Program as an exemplary means to support campus-wide engagement with digital tools, which is vital for IRSC students to succeed in an ever-expanding digital working world,” Jeffers said. The program involves both faculty and staff, allowing for the application of digital tool solutions both inside and outside the classroom, he said.
“The participants represent three pillars of Indian River State College as an institution of higher learning—the classroom, the library, and student activities,” Jeffers added. “I am super excited to see the outcomes of their individual projects and their expanded collaboration with other members of the greater IRSC community. The concrete outcome we are striving for is human-based creativity for the betterment of student learning and knowledge application toward the jobs of the future.”
“These individuals were selected because of their commitment to researching the impact of Adobe's Creative Campus tools on student engagement and success,” added Bruce W. Fraser, Director of the Institute for Academic Excellence. “Their work will inform broader conversations about student engagement, learning outcomes, and assessment at the College. Ultimately, this program is about helping prepare our students to excel in a dynamic, digital workplace—a space that is being rapidly transformed by generative artificial intelligence.”
Kendra Auberry, an IRSC Assistant Professor and STEM Librarian at IRSC’s Pruitt Campus, has designed a program in which students will create podcasts and video blogs (vlogging) to share vital health information, along with local resources, to expose students to health literacy issues. The project was piloted last school year and returns this year as a continuation of a Health Literacy Student Fellow program.
“I’m looking forward to working with students to create a project where they will learn new skills and share credible health information with their peers,” Auberry said. “By combining information literacy training with consumer health research, technology, and project management, students draw connections between information literacy and their own personal lives.”
The program is supported by the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. Students may apply for the program at https://irsc.libwizard.com/f/healthandselfpodcast
Suchismita Banerjee, Assistant Professor of English and Communication, is using Adobe Cloud applications to teach English Composition with a focus on immigration and other issues related to immigrants. Students write a synthesis essay at the beginning of the semester and a research essay at the end of the semester, Banerjee said. They use Adobe Cloud applications to create a presentation on a controversial topic related to immigration. They can choose between Adobe Express, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, or another application to make their presentations.
“Writing essays in a composition class is not just about following grammar, mechanics, and citation style,” Banerjee said. “It is a much more exploratory and experimental skill that merges creativity, imagination, and the art of writing. I am honored to be a part of IRSC’s Creative Campus Scholars Program. I think this is a great initiative to merge classroom pedagogy with emerging digital technology to improve teaching and learning.”
Gracia Buzziz is a Student Engagement Specialist with Indian River State College. She has helped students with the Student Government Association how to use Adobe Express, Lightroom, and Photoshop to create vibrant flyers and other marketing materials and to enhance their photography skills by developing their own Presets in Lightroom. Buzziz also serves as the Co-Advisor for the Adobe Creative Club and has taught club members how to use these Adobe tools to create artwork that keeps students engaged and attentive.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to be acknowledged as one of the five grant recipients,” Buzziz said. “Using the Adobe tools is my passion. I believe everyone can benefit significantly by acquiring proficiency in these valuable resources. This initiative aims to foster a strong sense of community and collaboration among our peers.”
Kris R. Demarais is Assistant Professor of Math at IRSC. He provides his students with an opportunity to showcase a featured Adobe product to highlight mathematical procedures in high-quality portfolios addressing one of the MAC1105 College Algebra Exam reviews. “Many students find this level of math complicated, shadowed by fear and anxiety,” Demarais said. “What better way to reduce that stress—using the power of creativity to enhance the learning experience. I want to capture my students’ willingness to express themselves by using one of the Adobe Create Cloud programs to design one of the portfolios that I have provided.”
After choosing one of four portfolios, students copy the questions and build a complete solution for each one using one program from the suite of Adobe programs, Demarais said, such as Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro/Rush, Animate, Photoshop, or Dreamweaver. The student then creates a project that highlights a featured program and provide a completed portfolio that includes the questions and solutions for all the problems within the portfolio.
“As an IRSC Creative Campus Scholar recipient, I am overjoyed to be selected for this great responsibility,” Demarais said. “Through this program I am determined to broadcast the importance of what the Adobe Creative Cloud products can do to enhance student engagement in the mathematical field.”
Larisa Ray, Ph.D, is a Master Instructor in the IRSC Social Sciences Department. Students in her Principles of Economics Macro course use Adobe Express to create module presentations, student introductions, and final projects, which count towards their final grade. Also, the research projects may become part of their digital portfolios or resumes. The research project includes the title of the final project, a decorative cover image, and a research journal containing digital links for the articles used in the research.
Students must describe the problem they are researching and explain why the economic issue or problem is important. Then they must find sufficient information, including charts, graphs, and/or diagrams which provide an interpretation and evaluation to develop their own critical thinking analyses of the issue and provide hypotheses to address the problem.
“Students enhance their critical thinking skills and competencies that extend beyond the economic research itself,” Ray said. “Using Adobe Express to create digital research projects to analyze important economic issues is a creative way to engage students in authentic learning by formulating their own conclusions and developing deeper understanding of economic concepts that are relevant and ‘real-life.’ Students learn that to solve problems effectively, they need to make appropriate choices, think clearly, systematically and comprehensively. I am honored to receive recognition for this creative instructional endeavor.”
About the Creative Campus Scholars Program
The Creative Campus Scholars Program was developed by Jim Jeffers, Bruce Fraser, and Shaun Wightman as part of the Institute for Academic Excellence’s effort to facilitate the integration of Adobe Creative Campus tools across the College. It is funded by a $42,000 Development Grant from Adobe that was awarded in 2022. The program promotes faculty research into the adaptation and adoption of Adobe tools in ways that advances student engagement, learning, and success. The program empowers IRSC employees to find meaningful, learning-centered applications of Adobe tools that prepare our students to excel in the workplace and beyond.