WMU News

Grants top $3.5 million for October and November

Dec. 19, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- More than $3.5 million in grants was awarded to Western Michigan University during October and November, the WMU Board of Trustees learned at its Dec. 19 meeting.

The award total for the two-month period was $3,523,180. That figure brings the total of grants received by the University since the July 1 start of the fiscal year to $7,666,716.

Among major grants reported was an award valued at $1,814,675 from the Mentor Graphics Corp. of Wilsonville, Ore., to Dr. Janos L. Grantner, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. The award will provide software tools that will be used as part of a three-year plan to enhance teaching and research in the area of mixed signal design systems that include both analog and digital controls. The software tools, called Electronic Design Automation tools, will help introduce new graduate and undergraduate design courses into the electrical and computer engineering curriculum as well as to support faculty research and the work of graduate students is such areas as fuzzy logic and neural networks.

The development of national standards that can be used to evaluate the performance and qualifications of students at every level and in every type of educational setting is the goal of a new three-year project funded by a $175,000 award from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek. The project is directed by Dr. James R. Sanders, professor of educational leadership and associate director of WMU's Evaluation Center. The standards will be developed by a national committee comprised of 16 representatives from national associations concerned with education and will be applicable in such settings as school, military or corporate training programs.

A $206,535 grant from the Michigan Department of Education to Dr. Robert A. Laing and Dr. Ruth Ann Meyer, both professors of mathematics and statistics, will support their continued work in helping Michigan school districts implement mathematics reform. The award will be used to train teams of mathematics specialists who can serve districts across the state by helping them select and implement new mathematics programs for students. The project started last year for grades K-6 and will expand this year to include middle schools.

Two grants totaling $170,105 will be used by Dr. David N. Karowe, associate professor of biological sciences, to study some of the effects of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the consequences for natural and agricultural ecosystems. A $105,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a $65,105 award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be used for research to determine how elevated carbon dioxide levels will alter the nutritional quality and defensive chemistry of plants. He also will study how such changes will affect the behavior, growth and survival of insects that feed on those plants.

The National Easter Seal Society has awarded $149,969 to Dr. William R. Wiener, chairperson of the Department of Blind Rehabilitation, to lead an effort aimed at developing standards and a curriculum for training health care professionals who will specialize in helping people with disabilities learn to travel independently in the community. The funding will cover the first year of a two-year project that will build on the orientation specialty that currently exists to help people with vision impairments travel independently. The new profession will be designed to prepare persons to also work with those who have such impairments as mental retardation, deafness, cerebral palsy and brain and spinal cord injuries.

Also reported to the board were two awards totaling $136,730 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to WMUK, the University's public radio station. The funding will be used to help the station expand its services to the community and to acquire high quality national programming on a variety of subjects.

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