Research Report 2020: College of Education, Health and Human Development (EHHD)

Scholarship by faculty, staff, and students in EHHD in 2020 continued an upward trajectory in directly alignment with the MSU’s Intentional Focus 2 for Scholarship that Improves Lives. This report highlights EHHD’s accomplishments in 2020 and our goals to elevate expectations for scholarship in light of MSU’s Strategic Plan, Choosing Promise.

MSU Strategic Plan Goal 2.1: Enhance the significance and impact of scholarship

Overarching metrics relating to external funding are provided in Appendix A of this report. Total active funding for EHHD faculty in 2020 included the following grant activities:

  • 102 active grants in FY2020, total active funding during FY2020 = $47,130,339
  • 122 active grants in FY2021, total active funding during FY2021 = $49,169,384

Goal 2.1, Metrics and Actions 1.  EHHD is on the forefront of MSU scholarship in grand challenge areas of 1) promoting wellness in our communities through access and equity in education and health outcomes, community-based participatory research, and biomedical sciences, and 2) food security through sustainable food systems. Exemplary EHHD faculty grants active in 2020 promoting wellness and food security in our communities:

  • Wellness
  • Bryce Hughes, NSF Career Award, Exploring the Participation of LGBTQ Undergraduates in STEM, $695,122
  • Sweeney Windchief and Carrie Myers, NSF Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate; AGEP-T: Pacific Northwest Collaborative for Success in Mentoring of Students, $614,519
  • Anna Elliott, Rebecca Koltz, and Jayne Downey, US Dept. of Education with Montana OPI, Rural Mental Health Preparation/Practice Pathway: An Innovative Partnership to Prepare Rural School-based Mental Health Service Providers, $2,347,934
  • Michele Grocke and Allison Brennan, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration with MSU Extension, MSU Extension Expansion Project to Provide Education, Outreach and Training on Opioid and Stimulant Prevention, Treatment and Recover for Rural and Native Montana Youth, $1,017,756
  • Jayne Downey leads several grants in collaboration with MSU Extension (in 2020 totaling over $175,000) to advance Youth Aware of Mental Health education across the state.
  • Several faculty from both Education and HHD collaborated to develop a federal relations white paper, Rural Health, Prosperity, and Resilience Pilot Program (ProspR): Digital Mental Health Services Enhancement to address the need for mental health services in rural Montana.
  • Food Security
  • Team Nutrition continues to be competitive year after year for grants (totaling about $1.5 million in 2020) that promote nutritious meals in schools, including farm-to-school initiatives.
  • Wan-Yuan Kuo has multiple funded projects (total of about $850,000 in 2020) such as Culinary, Nutritional, and Value-Added Potentials of Montana Pulses (Montana Department of Agriculture) that aim to improve the viability and profitability of nutritious crops, and add value to Native foods.
  • Carmen Byker Shanks led efforts through multiple grants (total of about $1.38 million) to enhance rural children’s and impoverished households’ food security such as The UnProcessed [foods] Pantry Project (NIH/MSU-Center for American Indian & Rural Health Equity), and investigated the impacts of the Covid Pandemic on food security across Montana.
  • Selena Ahmed worked to enhance sustainable food systems through improved higher education programming (USDA $749,672), and Building Capacity for Promoting Healthy Choices & Sustainable Diets for All on the Flathead Reservation with partners at Salish Kootenai College ($140,000, NIH/MSU-INBRE).

Goal 2.1, Metrics and Actions 3. EHHD continues to enhance education of undergraduate and graduate students with increasing participation in research and creative activities. Exemplary achievements in student engagement:

  • Application submitted for new PhD in Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, approved in 2021.
  • Application submitted for new PhD in Indigenous and Rural Health, approval pending.
  • Publications and intellectual contributions of faculty with students range from 63 to 67 products per year from 2018 to 2020.
  • Students enrolled in undergraduate research (490R) to work directly with faculty research in HHD has been on an upward trajectory with 22, 18, 28, and 36 enrolled from 2016 to 2019 and 41 students in 2020.
  • A Reflective Educator Project (REP) in which student teachers perform research on an area of focus within their teaching and present their findings was implemented in 2020 with 170 students. Feedback from students and P-12 teachers and administrators regarding the REP has been overwhelmingly positive.
Goal 2.2: Expand interdisciplinary scholarship

Goal 2.2, Metrics and Actions 2. EHHD is at the nexus of interdisciplinary scholarship at MSU with established and growing collaborative scholarship across academic units within six colleges. Research grants (active in 2020) across departments from EHHD and at least one other college exemplifying interdisciplinary scholarship:

  • Education and Engineering – NSF/RFE, Design and Development: Diversifying Engineering via Identity-Congruent Education, $349,999
  • Education and Computer Science – NSF, Strategies: Improving the Pipeline for Native American Students Entering CS via Storytelling, $1,214,838
  • HHD, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology – USDA-ARS Pulse Crop Health Initiative, Gut Microbiota Dependent and Independent Impacts of Dietary Pulses on Pre- and Postprandial Metabolism and Inflammation in Overweight/Obese Humans, $398,524.
  • HHD, College of Agriculture – NSF EPSCoR, Sustainable Socio-economic, Ecological, and Technological Scenarios for Achieving Global Climate Stabilization through Negative CO2 Emission Policies, $6,000,000.

Goal 2.2, Metrics and Actions 3. Consistent with the interdisciplinary research and external funding record of EHHD faculty, EHHD faculty have many interdisciplinary scholarly products across multiple academic units at MSU. However, capturing and quantifying this data with Activity Insight has proven challenging.

Goal 2.3: Strengthen institutional reputation in scholarship

Goal 2.3, Metrics and Actions 2 and 4. EHHD faculty are regional and national leaders in many impactful areas. Exemplary leadership examples include Jayne Downey, co-founder and leader of the Rural Education International Research Alliance (REIRA); Rebekah Hammack,  Board of Directors for the American Society of Engineering Education Pre-College Division; Sweeney Windchief, Board of Advisors for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium;  Ed Dunbar, Board of Advisors for the Professional Association of Rehabilitation Counselors; Michelle Grocke, Chair of the Extension Western Region Physical Activity Collaborative; Brianna Routh, Board of Directors for Rural Families Speak about Resilience; Elizabeth Rink, Distinguished Co-lead Scholar Fulbright Arctic Initiative Cohort III; Vanessa Simonds, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Roundtable on Health Literacy.

Goal 2.3, Metrics and Actions 5. EHHD faculty have a strong annual record of 8-17 national and international awards in the past five years; however, many of these awards are linked to conferences, of which there were fewer in 2020 and faculty garnered only 3 of these awards in 2020.

Goal 2.3, Metrics and Actions 6. Exemplary international projects and collaborations representing EHHD faculty:

  • Jioanna Carjuzaa with PI Janelle Rasmussen from OIP, International Research and Exchange Board, Fulbright TEA 2020, $209,999
  • Elizabeth Rink, Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar, Reproductive Health Justice in Arctic Indigenous Communities: A Comparative Analysis of Reproductive Health, Traditional Knowledge, Resources, Systems, and Policies, $40,000
Goal 2.4: Elevate expectations for scholarship

Goal 2.4, Metric 1.This metric inChoosing Promise asks the MSU colleges to set goals and document progress. Accordingly, the College of EHHD has set the following aspirations to elevate expectations for scholarship in relation to the Goals and Metrics enumerated above:

EHHD Goal 2.1.1: EHHD will aim to maintain approximately $5,000,000 (or higher) in annual research expenditures and increase the number of active, externally funded projects relating to MSU grand challenge areas by 10% by 2025.

EHHD Goal 2.1.3: Increase the number of faculty/student research collaborations associated with new academic programming at the doctoral level; increase the number of students supported to attend professional conferences to present their research.

EHHD Goal 2.2.2: Assemble two or more new interdisciplinary team(s) to work on a funded project or appropriations proposal.   

EHHD Goal 2.2.3: Continue and expand EHHD faculty filling regional, national, and international academic leadership roles, and increase the participation of new EHHD faculty in such leadership. Increase high profile leadership positions (n=8 in 2020) by 20% in 2025.