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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Harvey Awards go to faculty work: housing app, game for hospitalized kids

Two faculty-led teams working on products to help people outside the University will receive a C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities at Carolina, which supply $75,000 in funding toward each project. The projects are an app to help low-income people find safe, affordable housing and an augmented reality game to improve outcomes for hospitalized children.

Michael Webb, left, and William Rohe are creating the Housing Opportunity Finder web app to assist people in Orange and Durham counties.

The Housing Opportunity Finder is a web app that will assist people in Orange and Durham counties, and is being created through Carolina’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies by William Rohe, director, and Michael Webb, senior research associate.

Rohe said that the web app will “scrape” affordable apartment listings and present listings in high-opportunity neighborhoods with low crime and good schools first. The web app is being developed in partnership with community groups like the Community Empowement Fund and Durham Housing Authority.

Steven King, left, and Richards Hobbs are working on Adventure Squad, an augmented reality video game to help pediatric hospital patients.

Adventure Squad, an augmented reality video game for pediatric hospital patients, comes from Steven King, assistant professor of emerging technologies and multimedia journalism, and Richard Hobbs, associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the School of Medicine. He is also a pediatrician and internist with UNC Health Care, specializing in care of hospitalized patients. 

The game encourages children to get out of bed, move in the hallways, interact with staff, participate in therapies and be entertained, all while decreasing medical complications and shortening hospital stays. The Adventure Squad product line is designed to be nonprofit, possibly generating donations for hospitals in which the game is played.

In 2007, C. Felix Harvey III and his family endowed the Harvey Award to fulfill the longstanding mission of social service. The award is intended to recognize exemplary faculty who reflect the University’s commitment to innovative engagement and outreach that addresses real-world challenges.

Awards are given to the faculty member or members whose proposed project best applies humanities and/or social sciences methods or approaches in innovative ways that create a measurable impact on a problem. 

The family gift has been groundbreaking from its inception, funding projects that apply humanities and/or social sciences methods or approaches to problems outside the University community. The award takes a model of scholarly engagement and outreach that is familiar in business and hard sciences and extends it to disciplines that have not been encouraged to grow in the same ways. Central to the family’s mission is support for the University’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation.

Full or part-time University faculty (excluding adjuncts) may submit proposals for the award. Projects submitted must apply humanities and/or social sciences methods or approaches to directly and positively
influence constituencies outside the University.