Current Research Projects

The Department of Applied Science, Technology and Administration is proud to support our faculty in the following research projects.

Engaging Students Online

Dr. Dave Dawson serves as the Chief Technologist for the College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of West Florida. He plans, develops, and implements the technology strategy for the College.

Dr. Dawson has developed several performance support tools, including one for which he is listed as co-inventor in its patent application and one recently adopted University-wide for the development of Web-based online programs.

On October 3, 2008, Dr. Dawson, Dr. Matthew Schwartz (Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies), and Dr. Melanie Sutton (Associate Professor, School of Allied Health and Life Sciences) presented a discussion of strategies for engaging students and creating active learning experiences in online courses as part of a mini-conference sponsored by the Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CUTLA).

Dr. Dawson created a Web site to summarize this discussion and to provide links to the handouts provided at the conference. This site is intended as a support tool for instructors and others.

Math Matters: A New Vision for Florida

Dr. Lakshmi Prayaga, Dr. Leo Ter Haar, Computer Science, and Dr. Karen Rasmussen, Applied Science, Technology and Administration, have received an award of $1,172,893 for a collaborative project with the Escambia County School District.

The award will allow the formation of a collaborative partnership to leverage the combined academic, technical, and pedagogical resources of both institutions to positively impact middle school academic achievement and career preparation.

Specifically, this collaborative effort will develop and deploy a virtual instructional context that provides career counseling, algebraic tutorial content, and practical application of inferential and analytical reading skills within a digital gaming environment.

The gaming challenges that students will confront within this virtual environment, which are presented in a combination of interactive animation and passages of descriptive and explanatory text and audio, will consist of work place tasks requiring practical application of seventh- and eighth-grade Sunshine State Standards in math (algebra) and reading. This highly contextual and concrete approach is designed to increase students' mastery of academic skills and awareness of the relevance of academic skills to lucrative career opportunities.

Math Matters addresses:

  • Educational and economic needs of the community served by both institutions
  • Emerging research regarding the potential of gaming to motivate and instruct
  • Urgent demand for engaging K-12 instruction to address distracted and low performing subgroups
  • Delivery of middle-school career counseling curriculum as mandated by the 2006 Florida legislature
  • Efforts of the Florida DOE to compile an online repository of modular digital media assets for K-12 teachers

If you would like further information on this project, please contact Dr. Prayaga (850-474-2542), Dr. Rasmussen (850-474-2301), or Dr. Ter Haar (850-474-2547).


National Science Foundation Award

Sukumar Kamalasadan, assistant professor of Applied Science, Technology and Administration, has received a prestigious Faculty Early Development Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This highly competitive award is the highest honor for young faculty members and is bestowed on those teachers and scholars deemed most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. According to NSF, fewer than 20 percent of the proposals submitted to the annual competition are elected for funding.

"Dr. Kamalasadan's award is well-deserved recognition of his intellect, research background, and character," said Don Chu, then Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies. "We are enormously proud of this individual achievement and look forward to the fruits of future research that this award will help make possible."

Scope of Award

The award provides five years of funding to stimulate the early development of academic careers in science and engineering and to support the critical roles played by faculty members in integrating research and education. The award for the initial year is $79,791, with four additional years of funding bringing the total five-year award to $400,000.

Research Focus

Dr. Kamalasadan will use the projected five-year, $400,000 grant to develop next-generation intelligent control and optimization architectures. The work will be mainly focused on electric power system dynamics optimization and control. "The objective of this research is to develop a new class of intelligent adaptive control architecture with scalable algorithms for complex systems control and optimization," said Kamalasadan. "The approach is to provide unified control framework using adaptive controller and intelligent learning schemes with special emphasis on control of power system dynamics." Dr. Kamalasadan envisions that the proposed project will have a greater impact in seamless integration of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, economic and viable continuous power dispatch, sustainable and transportable next generation energy systems, and security against power disruptions caused by inadvertent events or malicious intent. He mentioned that the project can be expanded to other applications, such as robotics, avionics, and life science.

Opportunities for Students

With this research, Dr. Kamalasadan would like to present unique opportunities to student researchers, especially from under-represented and minority groups, and foster interdisciplinary research collaborations with academic and other scientific laboratories. For this project, he plans to include undergraduate students and graduate student researchers from engineering, technology, and computer science who are interested in the program. He also plans to develop new courses and educational software and establish a scientific laboratory focusing on adaptive and intelligent systems and control. "His success is indicative more broadly of the importance UWF faculty place on the integration of teaching and research," said Richard Podemski, associate vice president for Research. "Awards such as these create exciting opportunities for faculty and students alike to remain on the cutting edge of new developments in their field."

Dr. Kamalasadan earned a bachelor's degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Calicut, India; a master's degree in electric power systems from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand; and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Toledo. He has published more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings in the area of intelligent and adaptive controllers and has received several awards and recognitions.

Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

This Fall the National Siemens Corporation and National Science Teachers Association issued a challenge for 6th to 8th grade students across the United States to ‘go green’ and team up to identify an environmental issue in the community, research it through scientific investigation, and create a replicable green solution using Web-based curriculum tools powered by Discovery Education. Eight Montessori sixth-graders signed up to answer the challenge, and UWF’s Construction Program agreed to help sponsor and mentor the project.

Workforce Capacity Builders

Workforce Capacity Builders (WCB) is a four-county initiative consisting of representatives of Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Escambia Counties. WCB has defined its mission as a regional workforce resource to "rethink how to address business needs through workforce development and K-20 education."

One strategy is to project workforce skill sets for the next ten-year period and to focus upon curriculum development to facilitate student skill mastery.

Another strategy is to link businesses to education with the notion that they can affect workforce development by becoming part of the educational "pipeline." In turn, they will benefit from having a constant influx of regional talent already trained and available.