Skip to main content

The Alumnae Award for Curriculum Development

The Alumnae of Northwestern University Award for Curriculum Development is intended to support faculty work over the summer to develop new course materials, new courses, or new modes of teaching (including online courses or online education), that will enhance innovation in our undergraduate curriculum.

Each Curriculum Development Award recipient will have the opportunity to address a meeting of the Board of Directors of The Alumnae of Northwestern University and to present the outcomes of their project at the annual TEACHx promoting experiments in teaching and learning forum. In addition, Provost Holloway will recognize recipients of the Curriculum Awards at the annual luncheon he hosts for all current recipients of awards established by the Alumnae of Northwestern University.

Nominations for summer 2019 awards are now open. The application deadline is November 8, 2018.

For questions about the Alumnae Curriculum Awards, please contact Lee West, Director of Undergraduate Education at

Congratulations to the 2018 Recipients

Craig Duff

Craig Duff

Professor of Journalism, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

"A 'Medill Method' of Video/Television Reporting and Production" 

Duff will take the lead role in developing an innovative set of online modules to teach video editing and basic multimedia animation that will be used across multiple Medill courses. Working with top editors at key outlets -- including news channels (like CNN), network bureaus and local stations, digital-native outlets like Vox and AJ+ and post production houses doing work of the highest level - Duff will research the cutting edge industry models to include in the module design.

The modules will establish the "Medill Method" and be integrated in the undergraduate curriculum and their graduate-level equivalents. The project is innovative, Duff notes, in two specific ways: "First, it keeps the curriculum fresh and connected directly to industry (where regular innovations mean the methods of working are constantly changing)... Second, we will create an innovative presentation portal, where students would access the lessons online, and everyone across the school would learn the same way." Duff anticipates the project will also likely lead to more student opportunities in the partner news organizations.

Richard Gaber

Richard Gaber

Professor of Molecular Biosciences, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

"Enhancing Biological Sciences Laboratory Courses using S. commune"

Gaber's proposal involves unique enhancements to Northwestern's foundational laboratory courses in Biological Sciences. He is developing a series of projects using multiple strains of the mushroom-forming fungus Schizophyllum commune, which harbors more genetic diversity than any other organism. Students' laboratory work with S. commune will involve increasingly sophisticated experiments, in which students will perform genetic analysis, purify DNA for the genome to be sequenced (commercially), quantify the degree of genetic diversity, measure and quantify the evolutionary relatedness between geographically diverse populations, and investigate issues related to population genetics and evolution.

"The broad goals" Gaber notes, "are to enhance student learning and improve the laboratory experience." The curriculum has the promise of generating and maintaining high levels of student interest over the three-quarter-long laboratory course series as students will progress from more basic to more sophisticated experiments and analyses, developing an increased sense of "ownership" in their specific strain, and establishing how related their strain is to those of the rest of the class. Gaber adds the project is unique to microbiology curriculum, and "the eukaryotic microorganism/macroorganism nature of the project will distinguish Northwestern's undergraduate laboratory from all others."