Bang, Vossoughi Win Alumnae Award

Bang, Vossoughi Win Alumnae Award

Megan Bang and Shirin VossoughiMegan Bang (l) and Shirin Vossoughi

Megan Bang and Shirin Vossoughi have been named the 2019 recipients of The Alumnae of Northwestern University’s Award for Curriculum Development.

The awards, administered by the Office of the Provost, provide $12,500 to each professor to support the development of innovative course materials and new modes of teaching.

Bang, professor of learning sciences, and Vossoughi, assistant professor of learning sciences, are piloting a collaborative course with Evanston Township High School (ETHS) that investigates social justice issues in education. 

A third winner, James Hambleton, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, will develop a teaching module that supports and enhances an existing first-year engineering course and includes experiential learning activities aimed at improving student engagement and performance.

Connecting students and the broader community through hybrid courses

Bang and Vossoughi will design a hybrid course that brings together Northwestern students with young people and community members outside the University to investigate issues of social justice within the education system. Their award will fund the development of a pilot course for Northwestern undergraduates and students at ETHS, including an innovative apprenticeship in community-based research.

The initial hybrid course offering -- co-taught by Vossoughi, Bang and an ETHS teacher -- will focus on educational justice. Students will examine histories of educational inequity and design and carry out community-based research projects on local educational struggles. They will move beyond summarizing key arguments found in course texts toward engaging evidence-based analysis and argumentation with the goal of integrating theory, research and social action. The course will foster the development of students as publicly engaged scholars and writers.

As SESP Dean David Figlio noted in his letter of support, the proposed course also “directly furthers our efforts to ensure that SESP is at the cutting edge of undergraduate pedagogy, and enhances our research and teaching missions in collaboration with and in service to our local communities.”

Bang, a 2009 SESP doctoral alum, and Vossoughi both have personal experience teaching high school students. Bang has studied STEAM (STEM plus Arts) learning among K-12 indigenous youth and has examined differences among rural Native American, urban Native American and urban non-Native American preschoolers in their approaches to play with a forest diorama.

Vossoughi, who completed postdoctoral work at Stanford University and the San Francisco Exploratorium, has studied culture, equity and learning in after-school tinkering and making programs and has helped design summer institutes organized around expansive forms of reading, writing, and social analysis.

Their award will fund collaborative summer work on course design by Vossoughi and Bang, one or two ETHS teachers and students from both Northwestern and ETHS. It also will provide funds for compensating community partners, elders, and local organizers who engage with students during the first offering of the course.

The Alumnae of Northwestern University is an all-volunteer organization of women that raises funds for a wide range of projects to benefit the University and also shares the University's academic resources with the community through its Continuing Education program. Founded in 1916, The Alumnae has given more than $8 million to the University in the form of grants, fellowships, scholarships, and an endowed professorship. It also has provided funds for special University projects and summer internships. 


By Kayla Stoner
Last Modified: 1/11/19