WMU News

Two-month grant report sends year's total past $15 million

March 20, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- More than $1.8 million in grants awarded to Western Michigan University during January and February pushed the year's grant total past $15 million, the WMU Board of Trustees learned at its March 20 meeting.

January awards amounting to $788,945 and February awards of $1,037,186, brought the total of grants received by WMU since the July 1 start of the 1997-98 fiscal year to $15,291,836.

The largest award reported during the period was a $400,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek to Dr. James C. Petersen, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The funding will be used over a five-year period to develop faculty/student teams that will work with the non-profit sector in Calhoun County to expand the capacities of agencies that serve youth. The project is one of 18 in the nation funded by the foundation as part of a new initiative that focuses on "Building Bridges Between Practice and Knowledge in Non-profit Management Education."

Two major grants from the Michigan Department of Education to WMU's Martin Luther King Jr./Cesar Chavez/Rosa Parks programs will be used to expand opportunities for minorities in higher education. A $101,827 grant to the Division of Minority Affairs will support that unit's ongoing efforts to introduce minority children within a 90-mile radius of WMU to the potential of a college education by bringing them to the campus for a series of visits and special events. A $114,492 award to the University's Graduate College will be used to provide doctoral fellowships for minority students.

The Michigan Department of Education also was the source of a $99,995 grant to Dr. Dona G. Icabone, associate professor of special education. The funding will support the Special Education Evaluation and Technical Assistance Project, which was founded with state funding in 1995. The project's goals are to develop and implement statewide research studies in special education and to disseminate new research information and provide technical assistance on special education issues to school districts throughout the state.

Cancer research is the focus of another effort that will continue with funding received during the reported period. Dr. Bruce E. Bejcek, assistant professor of biological sciences, received $100,995 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health to fund a third year of work aimed at understanding the biological mechanisms that trigger the explosive growth of cancers.

The National Science Foundation was the source of a $150,000 grant to Dr. Anil Sawhney, assistant professor, and Carl Wendell, adjunct assistant professor, both in the Department of Construction Engineering, Materials Engineering and Industrial Design. The award will support their efforts to develop an Internet-based interactive construction management learning system that can bridge the gap between the classroom and construction site by introducing practical content into programs.

The pair will use such tools as multimedia, relational databases, simulation and gaming to develop the system, and they plan to make it available for national dissemination. The three-year project also will focus on retention of women and minority students and on advising and mentorship programs that will involve civil and construction engineering practitioners.

Also reported to the board was a $82,440 grant from the Kalamazoo Public School District to Dr. Donald E. Thompson, vice president for research, and Dr. Lynn C. Todman, associate director of the Center for Leadership Transformation. The district is serving as fiscal agent for the Michigan Association of African American Superintendents, and the funding will support professional development and leadership training activities for districts where students are underachieving in the areas of mathematics and science. Seminars, special presentations, conferences and site visits being organized for the association are designed to explore best practices in teaching in those fields.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland; cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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