WMU News

Grant total exceeds $65 million

December 11, 1998

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A $51 million computer software award sent Western Michigan University's 1998-99 grant and contract total soaring to the record-shattering $65 million mark, the WMU Board of Trustees learned at its Dec. 11 meeting.

CATIA software valued at $51 million is being provided to the University by Dassault Systemes of France; IBM; Genesis Modeling Technologies of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Johnson Controls Interiors of Holland, Mich. The previously announced award will put 30 workstations of the integrated design/modeling system software in WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences computer laboratories. Beginning with the winter semester, engineering students will take classes on the sophisticated software, which is used by the world's leading manufacturers.

The $51 million award, when combined with an additional $6,246,321 in grants received by the University in October and November, brought the two-month grant total to $57,246,321. That figure brings the year-to-date total of grants to $65,835,613 for the 1998-99 fiscal year, which ends June 30, 1999. The amount is more than twice the record $31 million total of grants awarded to WMU during the entire 1997-98 fiscal year.

Three additional grants of more than $1 million each also contributed to the large total. Two of the awards -- $1,208,400 from British Airways and $1,028,000 from Aer Lingus -- were made to WMU's School of Aviation Sciences to continue contracts to train the firms' future pilots at the school's International Pilot Training Centre. Cadet pilots from both firms have been training at the school's Battle Creek, Mich., facility since last winter.

The third award -- for $1.7 million -- was made by the Michigan Department of Corrections to Dr. Dennis C. Simpson, director of the University's Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse and professor of community health services, and James H. Kendrick, assistant professor of community health services and clinical coordinator of the University Substance Abuse Clinic. The grant will fund a two-year project that will provide residential substance abuse treatment services for up to 160 prisoners at MDOC's Cooper Street Correctional Facility, located in Jackson, Mich. WMU will conduct and evaluate the project in collaboration with Longford Health Source of Grand Rapids, Family Service & Children's Aid of Jackson, and Stryker & Endias Inc. of Kalamazoo, a research and evaluation firm.

Among other major awards reported to trustees was a $265,100 grant from the National Science Foundation to Dr. Zoe A. Barley and Dr. Mark Jenness, researchers with WMU's Science and Mathematics Program Improvement project in the Department of Science Studies. The pair will use the funds to develop and conduct a series of conferences designed to bring together researchers involved in four NSF-funded projects that are charged with the development of instructional materials in science and mathematics.

Another large federal award reported was a $247,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to Dr. Nora Berrah, associate professor of physics, to continue her research on atomic and molecular structure. Berrah, who is on sabbatical leave from teaching at the University this year, is leading a national team of researchers who are working at the Advanced Light Source facility at Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Their work is aimed at uncovering fundamental atomic and molecular information.

State funding from the Michigan Department of Education also was received during October to support and extend training opportunities for specialists who can help school districts across the state implement mathematics reform. A $150,718 award will be used by Dr. Robert A. Laing and Dr. Ruth Ann Meyer, both professors of mathematics and statistics, to train mathematics curriculum specialists who can help districts select and implement new mathematics programs for students. The project began two years ago, focusing on grades K-6. It was expanded last year to include middle schools.

Trustees also learned of a $478,152 award from Kalamazoo Community Mental Health Services to the University's Center for Developmentally Disabled Adults. The funding will support the center's continuing work with the county's population of developmentally disabled citizens age 26 and up. The CDDA ofers daily living, communication and social skill services at four sites to more than 130 county residents.

Among other grants reported to the board were two awards totaling $130,846 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.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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