WMU News

Fiscal year starts with $2.7 million in grants

Sept. 19, 1997

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Western Michigan University kicked off the 1997-98 fiscal year with nearly $2.7 million in grants, the WMU Board of Trustees learned at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Grants awarded to the University during July and August, the first two months of the fiscal year, reached $2,690,798. The total included $1,670,802 in awards received during July and $1,019,996 received in August.

A $940,000 grant from the Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority was the largest award made to the University during the period. The funds will be used by WMU's School of Aviation Sciences to acquire and install two new flight simulators at the school's new Battle Creek site as well as to make other improvements to the facility.

WMU's School of Aviation Sciences relocated over the summer from Kalamazoo to new and remodeled buildings at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek. The new aviation facility was scheduled for formal dedication immediately following the board meeting. An earlier Battle Creek TIFA award for $5.6 million, a $6 million federal grant and nearly $3 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation helped finance construction of the airport facilities and the purchase of new aviation equipment.

Four graduate specialty programs at the University received nearly $400,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Education during July and August. Two of those awards were made for programs in the Department of Blind Rehabilitation. A $104,792 grant will be used to support the third year of a joint program with the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. The program is aimed at producing graduates who can qualify for certification as both rehabilitation counselors and rehabilitation teachers of the blind. A $97,186 grant will continue another blind rehabilitation program that provides extended training in gerontology for orientation and mobility teachers so they can better serve the elderly.

A $99,391 award to the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology will be used to prepare graduate-level speech-language pathologists who have specialized competencies in connecting the needs of students with their family and cultural backgrounds as well as with the communication expectations of their schools and the workplace. The fourth U.S. Department of Education award for graduate education, a $98,018 grant, was made to WMU's Department of Special Education to continue a training program that combines special education and general education.

The U.S. Department of Education also was the source of a previously announced award for $182,104 to the University's Center for Academic Support Services. The funding will support programming to help ensure academic success for low-income, first generation and disabled college students.

Other major awards reported to the trustees included a $165,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Corrections to WMU's Division of Continuing Education to continue offering college-level classes to female offenders housed at the Florence Crane Correctional Center in Coldwater. The courses lead to a bachelor's degree in general university studies.

A new $133,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will fund the first of three years of research by Dr. John B. Miller, assistant professor of chemistry. Miller will use the funds for experimental and computational research aimed at developing and understanding chemical reactions that modify the surface of diamonds and other forms of carbon. He will use light to induce reactions that will alter the normally unreactive surfaces of diamonds to create a "molecular glue" so that metals and other materials will adhere to those surfaces. That would make diamonds more useful for electronic devices and applications, especially those that require the use of high voltage or high temperature in which more common materials fail. Particle detectors and vacuum microelectronic devices are among specific uses for Miller's research.

The National Science Foundation also was the source of another major grant to Dr. John A. Jellies, associate professor of biological sciences. Jellies will use the $100,836 award for his continuing research on how neurons in living animals form the circuits and connections responsible for sensation, behavior, learning and memory.

Also on the report to the board was a $105,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy to Dr. John A. Tanis, professor of physics. The grant will fund his continuing investigation into fundamental atomic interactions that occur in collisions between atomic particles. He has been investigating such interactions for two decades, frequently collaborating with physicists in research laboratories around the country and overseas.

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