WMU News

Nearly $18 million in grants received for two-month period

Dec. 15, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- A two-month grant total that reached nearly $18 million and was marked by support for Western Michigan University's instructional and research technology infrastructure was reported to the WMU Board of Trustees at its Dec. 10 meeting.

The grant total for September and October hit $17,668,240, pushing the year-to-date total of grants received since the July 1 start of the fiscal year to $19,144,229.

"This has been a phenomenally successful grant period for the University, primarily because of the infusion of technology into our academic programs by both public and private entities," said Dr. Donald E. Thompson, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College, in his report to the board. "Just three of those awards that will bring cutting-edge technology and new research capabilities to our classrooms and faculty research programs account for $13.5 million of this two-month total."

Those three major grants include an award for software products valued at $8.96 million from Tecnomatix Technologies Inc. of Novi, Mich., an international supplier of manufacturing systems software for many of the world's leading automotive, aerospace and electronics firms. The award will put 30 workstations of the firm's leading products in WMU engineering labs for student instruction and faculty research. Dr. Tarun Gupta, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, is heading that initiative.

Two separate grants totaling $3 million from Engineering Methods Inc. of Cincinnati will provide site licenses for a College of Engineering and Applied Sciences training center. That center will provide instruction on the use of ANSYS/Multiphysics software, which offers structural, dynamic, buckling, thermal and fluid dynamic analysis. Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, is directing that effort.

A $1.65 million award from the Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority will be used to bring a state-of-the-art, 737-type flight simulator to WMU's College of Aviation facilities in the spring. The previously announced award is being used by the college to purchase a six-axis flight simulator from Frasca International Inc. of Urbana, Ill. The simulator will be used to offer jet orientation courses to WMU aviation students and cadets in the college's International Pilot Training Centre. The simulator also will allow faculty members to pursue human factors research that examines aviation crew management and safety issues.

A number of other major awards in the areas of instruction and research also were responsible for the large two-month total.

A $1,229,184 award from Emirates Airlines to the International Pilot Training Centre will complete that airlines first contract with WMU for cadet pilot training. A class of cadets, the fourth sent to the University by the airline under the contract, will arrive in January for training.

Two grants totaling $858,448 to Dr. Christian Hirsch, professor of mathematics and statistics, will continue his work in the mathematics reform arena. A $658,448 award from the National Science Foundation will fund the final development and evaluation of the Core-Plus Mathematics Project high school curriculum that has been in development at WMU under Hirsch's direction since 1992. A $200,000 award from Ithaca (N.Y.) College will support a project to create an implementation structure in secondary schools that will support five national, comprehensive mathematics curriculum projects.

A $312,380 award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Dr. Gyula Ficsor professor of biological sciences and Dr. Leonard Ginsberg, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will fund an effort to identify motivated, but underrepresented minority students in high schools and community colleges and encourage them to prepare for careers in biomedical research.

A $225,000 award from the U.S. Department of Justice to the Department of Public Safety will allow the University to hire three new community policing officers through a program designed to provide community policing funds for municipalities around the nation. The three new officers will join one current community policing officer at WMU in the effort to use problem-solving tactics and partnerships with the community to reduce the causes and fear of crime.

Among other notable grants also on the report was a three-year $107,343 Academic Research Enhancement Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Dr. David S. Reinhold, assistant professor of chemistry. The award, made through HHS's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, will allow Reinhold to further study his earlier findings about the effect of multiple carcinogens on human cells. He will study the biochemical mechanisms that result in fewer DNA mutations in human cells treated with multiple carcinogens than those cells treated with just one carcinogen.

An $74,798 award from the Michigan Department of Education will fund a study of Michigan's charter schools that is a follow-up to the study completed last March by Dr. Jerry Horn and Dr. Gary Miron, principal research associates in WMU's Evaluation Center. The new study will focus on issues the pair uncovered in their original statewide original study--the most comprehensive Michigan charter school study to date.

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

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