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Nearly 200 Years—Learn More About Norwich

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Independent Study Leaves (ISL) constitute the university’s sabbatical program, with awards based on scholarly proposals for projects intended to enhance the professional effectiveness of faculty through study, research, writing, travel related to professional development, and/or practical experience in the faculty member’s field.  

 

2017–18

Narain Batra
English and Communications
 
Digital India has been called a moonshot project that draws together the best human and private-public capital to achieve a goal that was previously thought to be impossible: citizens’ empowerment. The program is based on Aadhaar, a biometric and demographic information database of residents, which the government uses to deliver benefits to underprivileged residents. Batra’s ISL project is an investigative case study as to whether, and if so to what extent, Digital India has empowered the citizens of Ahmedabad, regarding access to healthcare, banking, education, jobs, and self-employment with emphasis on women and minorities as well as security and privacy issues. Besides data analytics, mini cases will be used to investigate the magnitude of citizens’ empowerment. Through open competition, Ahmedabad, an industrial-business city of six million people, was selected as one of the hundred cities to be transformed into a smart city under India’s Smart City Plan for urban self-renewal.
  
Seth Frisbie
Chemistry and Biochemistry
 
Excess intake of manganese in infants can cause neurological problems including IQ deficits, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. While soy-based infant formulas have been found to contain relatively high amounts of manganese, little is known about the manganese content of rice-based ingredients used in infant formulas and foods. In this project, Frisbie collaborated with Dr. Richard Ortega (Bordeaux, France) to determine the manganese content of infant formulas and baby foods using particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE). PIXE is an exceptionally powerful tool that provides highly accurate analysis of chemical content as well as characterization of exactly where the elements are found in samples, enabling identification of which ingredients contribute manganese. He used the manganese results to determine whether rice products constitute a potential health hazard for infants.
 
Elizabeth Gurian
Justice Studies and Sociology
 
Although mass and serial murder research has advanced in recent years, Gurian’s ISL investigated how it continues to be hindered by definitional issues relating to: number of victims, sex of the offender, relationship between victim and offender, and motive. For example, definitions of mass and serial murder constructed from the 1980s reveal differences among basic criteria such as victim count, which ranges from two, to three, to four or more. Classifications are further complicated through an array of subjective typologies constructed to classify offenders based on motive, which can include: “institutional mass murderers” (i.e., killing as a crime of obedience as directed by his/her leader), or “disgruntled employees/citizens” (being resentful towards a place of work and killing those who are responsible for perceived injustices), among many others. As a result, categorizing murderers based on motive limits the potential for exploring common underlying mechanisms among other types of offenders, such as lone actors, or terrorists.
 
Jeremy Hansen
Computer Sciences and Information Assurance
 
There is no known general formula to calculate the total number of magic squares of a given order. However, using various methods, the number of magic squares has been calculated for orders smaller than six. In this project Hansen refined and implemented an approach to enumerating order-6 squares. He improved the software he had already written in various ways to explore how the software could produce a precise count of order-6 magic squares in a reasonable amount of time, on the order of years.
 
Sandy Hyde
Physics
 
Measurements of ocean currents exist for the Strait of Gibraltar. Lacking are mathematical models that explain the hydrodynamics of the observations. While the fluid dynamics is complex, there are differential equations that simulate the currents. Hyde’s ISL analyzed the currents obtained by solving the model equations and comparing their output with the collected data. Three phenomena of considerable hydrodynamic interest were addressed in the ISL: 1) the structure of the currents at a density interface; 2) the currents that arise along the coast in response to sudden, strong wind events; and 3) the structure of internal waves produced by tidal flow over extreme bathymetry.
 
Tara Kulkarni
Civil and Environmental Engineering
 
Measurements of ocean currents exist for the Strait of Gibraltar. Lacking are mathematical models that explain the hydrodynamics of the observations. While the fluid dynamics is complex, there are differential equations that simulate the currents. Hyde’s ISL analyzed the currents obtained by solving the model equations and comparing their output with the collected data. Three phenomena of considerable hydrodynamic interest were addressed in the ISL: 1) the structure of the currents at a density interface; 2) the currents that arise along the coast in response to sudden, strong wind events; and 3) the structure of internal waves produced by tidal flow over extreme bathymetry.
 
Christine Latulippe
Mathematics
 
In 2013, the Vermont Governor signed Act 77 into effect, “encouraging flexible pathways to secondary school completion” (Act 77, 2013). Personalized learning plans will be required for all grades 7-12 students in Vermont by the 2018-2019 school year, and proficiency-based learning is a key strategy to personalize secondary school graduation requirements in Vermont. Latulippe’s project investigated Vermont grades 7-12 mathematics teachers’ perceptions of proficiency-based learning, including impacts on their teaching practice and supports provided for implementation to present a representative snapshot of Vermont grades 7-12 mathematics teachers’ perceptions of proficiency-based learning which can inform practice within and beyond Vermont.
 
Joe Latulippe
Mathematics
 
The accumulation of Amyloid-Beta peptides (A_) has been linked to the progression of Alzheimer’s by altering calcium signaling processes within neurons. This project studied the impacts of A_ on synaptic transmission in an Alzheimer’s environment. The main objective was to use a mathematical model to better understand how A_ interacts with key components involved in neuronal signaling. The mathematical model was simulated and analyzed in order to test a number of hypotheses related to A_. The results of the model were compared with existing experimental data to determine the effectiveness of the approach.


Michael Prairie
Electrical and Computer Engineering
 
The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is forecast to see 30 billion embedded systems connected to the internet by 2020, collectively producing huge amounts of data. One problem to be addressed is to reduce large amounts of raw data generated locally to small, information-rich data. The approach in this proposed ISL was to study an application that produces large amounts of sensor data that can be distilled to very small messages. To determine how best to distribute the processing was chosen for the study, and the application was to interpret the motion data to recognize gestures used in sign language. In this study, several network types were tested with the goal of optimizing how the computational tasks are distributed throughout the local network.
 
Gina Sherriff
Modern Languages
 
This curriculum development project researched and presented design innovations for the Beginning Spanish sequence at Norwich University with the goals of facilitating a wider variety of pedagogical approaches, expanding the Spanish program’s integration of best practices and professional standards articulated by the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and World Readiness Standards previously set forth and prescribed in the 2013 Spanish Program Self-Study, with a long-term objective of increasing the number of students participating in the program at the intermediate and advanced level.
 
Amy Woodbury Tease
English and Communications
 
This project explores what remains of the anxieties and revolutionary practices of the modernist movement in the postwar world. Defining modernism as a cultural movement motivated by the birth of the machine age and increased engagement with technology, this book-length study examines texts produced after World War Two to consider how and where modernism surfaces in the development of contemporary surveillance societies. This interdisciplinary project includes readings of understudied work, including the British science fiction television anthology Black Mirror, the digital literature of Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, documentarian Laura Poitras’s mass surveillance exhibition Astro Noise, and novelist Muriel Spark’s archive in the National Library of Scotland.

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