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Alumnae Award for Curriculum Innovation

The Alumnae of Northwestern University Award for Curriculum Innovation supports faculty innovations that enhance the undergraduate curriculum such as new courses, new course materials or components for existing courses, and/or new approaches to instruction. 


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2023 Recipients

Denise Bouras

Denise Bouras

Associate Professor of Instruction, Spanish & Portuguese Department, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

"Centering the Community in Advanced Spanish Language Curriculum"

Denise Bouras will connect Northwestern undergraduates with students in District 65’s Two-Way Immersion (TWI) Program through a redesign of “Spanish 204: Advanced Spanish II - Artivism in Times of Political Change.” The course explores the evolution of artivism in Spanish-speaking communities and invites students to examine the history of Latin America and Spain through the work of artists committed to social justice.

Spanish 204 students will combine course content and research findings to design units of study for the TWI fine arts curriculum. Engagement with Evanston’s TWI community will provide undergraduates opportunities to achieve the course learning objectives, while using their advanced language skills to create and teach content on noteworthy Hispanic/Latinx artists. In turn, D65 students will learn about important sociohistorical events via artistic movements, continue to develop their Spanish proficiency, and interact with university students in unique, small-group settings.

Bouras has been teaching Spanish for more than 20 years and has long been interested in engaging students in exploratory and collective learning. Her teaching/research interests include differentiated instruction, second-language writing, the role of emotions in the language classroom, and teaching grammar through literature.

Jeremy Keys

Jeremy Keys

Assistant Professor of Instruction, Mechanical Engineering Department, McCormick School of Engineering

"Re-Inventing Mechanical Engineering 240: Increasing Engineers' Inductive Learning Through Product Archaeology"

Jeremy Keys’ redesign of MechEng240 aims to increase students’ familiarity with common mechanical components to help them become more adaptive and creative engineering designers. Through product archaeology labs, students will disassemble consumer products and explore the embedded functions of key mechanical components. Doing so will improve students’ appreciation for common mechanical assemblies as they interpret how engineers achieve desired mechanical functions. Through the class redesign, the labs will enable inductive learning, as students extract general design principles by studying specific solutions. Students also will have the opportunity to engage in novel mechanical design through the redesign of a load-bearing component of an existing consumer product. Students will then utilize advanced 3-D printing methods to create and share their prototypes. This course, required in the second year of study for Mechanical Engineering students, will re-establish a valuable foundation for subsequent courses on mechanical design and manufacturing processes. 

Keys joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Fall of 2022 as a teaching-line faculty member, having just completed his PhD at Cornell University where he studied the biophysical mechanisms which control cancer cell migration using microfluidic devices. In addition to MechEng240, Keys teaches the senior capstone course for Mechanical Engineers as well as Engineering Analysis 3, a system dynamics course for second-year engineering students.