Short Family Endows Fellowship for Innovation Efforts

Posted on March 16, 2023

Drs. Rick and Paula Short photo at a UNCG alumni event
Rick and Paula Short

Graduate students engaged in innovation with the UNC Greensboro School of Education will soon have a new fellowship opportunity available to them thanks to the generosity of Paula and Rick Short who have established an endowment. Recipients of the award will work closely with the School of Education’s Impact Through Innovation (ITI) program which will lend support to the development and implementation of their ideas.

ITI, led by Dr. Scott Young, assists both students and faculty members in project development from the initial idea phase through the final application of the concept or product.

The Paula and Rick Short Endowed Fellowship in Education was created to allow master’s or doctoral students in the School of Education to pursue an innovation project that addresses a real-world problem of practice in education. The award will be presented on an annual basis and will provide funds that may be used to support innovation efforts.

The UNCG School of Education wants to develop students who become innovative teachers, administrators, or community leaders. The Shorts, who have both had careers in education that required them to work in innovative ways with others, were excited to assist in those efforts. They added, “What better way to create those leaders than to provide the opportunity to gain the knowledge, experience, and skills as a fulltime student focusing on the work being done through Dean (Randy) Penfield’s initiative.”

Any School of Education graduate student is eligible for the award, which will be in the range of $2,000 depending on the scope of the project. Funds are intended to provide the student an opportunity to create a new service, curriculum, process, or product that solves a problem for educators. Outcomes of any of the innovative work done are expected to be shared with the School of Education community and beyond.

The Shorts hope that this fellowship will cultivate educators who are “equipped with all the strengths provided by existing training programs, but also with experience and a skill set to address issues creatively and flexibly.” They want students to use the endowment to look for new ways to approach any educational problems and develop unique solutions to those challenges.

Paula Short is a graduate of the UNCG School of Education and recently retired from her position as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Houston. She was honored with UNCG’s 2017 Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.

Said Paula, “As a graduate of UNCG, I have benefited throughout my career from the excellent foundation laid in my educational experiences at UNCG. I learned from outstanding professors who held high expectations and pushed me to excel. They were wonderful mentors, especially in the School of Education. This has had a profound impact on my determination to mentor and support my own students during my 49-year career in education. I also learned the value of creativity and innovation in approaching my teaching and administrative roles through my experiences at UNCG and to constantly seek solutions to problems and questions that emerge in education and society.”