Innovation Through Interdisciplinarity: Mason Faculty Members Participate in Provost’s Multidisciplinary Research Initiatives

Innovation, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary synergy are at the heart of George Mason University’s Provost’s Multidisciplinary Research Initiatives. Now in its second year, the program gives interdisciplinary teams of Mason faculty, staff, students, and/or community partners an opportunity to respond to important challenges facing the region, nation, or world.

by Anne Reynolds

Innovation, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary synergy are at the heart of George Mason University’s Provost’s Multidisciplinary Research Initiatives.

This program, now in its second year, gives interdisciplinary teams comprising Mason faculty, staff, students, and/or community partners an opportunity to showcase their creativity as they respond to important challenges facing the region, nation, or world. After rigorous peer review, certain proposals are funded through seed grants.

Among the projects that the provost’s office funded for 2016, six include faculty members from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, resulting in $155,530 in awards.

Health Security as a Potential Frame for Climate Change Communication is a project developed by the multidisciplinary team of Ed Maibach, Jennifer Kreslake, and Mona Sarfaty from the Center for Climate Change Communication, with Benjamin Cash, faculty member in the College of Science.

A Multidisciplinary Community Empowerment Approach to Target the Early Treatment of Childhood Obesity among Low Income Latino Children, features the work of Robyn Mehlenbeck, faculty member in the Department of Psychology, Sina Gallo, faculty member in the College of Health and Human Services, and Margaret Jones, faculty member in the College of Education and Human Development.

Command and Control of Mixed Human and Robotic Forces teams Matthew Peterson, faculty member in the Department of Psychology, with Paulo Costa and Michael Hieb, faculty members in Mason’s Volgenau School of Engineering.

Political Economy of Stability and Reform in Ukraine: Oligarchs, Civil Conflict, and Internally Displaced Persons includes Thomas Stratmann, faculty member in the Department of Economics, John Earle, faculty member in the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs, Elina Treyger, faculty member in the Antonin Scalia Law School, and Solomiya Shpak and Kyung-Min Lee, who are both PhD students in the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs.

Video Gaming: Does Avid Play Enhance or Reduce College Student Well-being? combines the work of Naomi Watanabe, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, Paul Rogers, faculty member in the Department of English and a senior scholar with the Center for Advancement of Well-Being, Richard Fabsitz and Kevin Mallinson, faculty members in the College of Health and Human Services, and Seth Hudson, faculty member with the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Machine Learning for Crowdsourced Phonetic Transcription/Identification of Accented Speechis a project that brings together Steven Weinbergerer, a faculty member in the Department of English and the chair of the linguistics program, and Jill Nelson, a faculty member in the Volgenau School of Engineering.

“Our involvement in this grant competition truly demonstrates the diversity of expertise and academic power that resides here in the college,” says Michele Schwietz, associate dean for research. “We applaud all those who crafted proposals for consideration; the funded awards — from this year and last year’s competition, too — answer the provost’s call for research of consequence that enhances the education of Mason students and serves the community with innovative action.”

Provost’s Multidisciplinary Research Symposium