WMU News

WMU lands funding for innovative research, public service projects

March 31, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University has garnered more than $2 million to underwrite an array of projects, ranging from evaluating long-term care eligibility for Medicaid recipients to reducing conveyor belt noise at an auto plant.

Grants awarded in January totaled $2,083,696, the WMU Board of Trustees learned in a report at its March 28 meeting. The new funds, which bring the University's year-to-date grant total to more than $22.7 million, include a $200,000 Ithaca College grant that was secured by Dr. Christian R. Hirsch, professor of mathematics, to improve math education in secondary schools, and a $107,902 grant from Bronson Healthcare Group to examine communication practices among nurses.

"Assertiveness, the ability to ask the right questions, speaking up, and being advocates for patients are just a few of the communication issues they face," says Dr. Julie Apker, associate professor of communication and one of three faculty members working on the project. "Establishing more effective communication practices would ultimately help the nurses, their working conditions and would improve patient care."

While more than $971,000 of January's grants underwrite research, a considerable amount is aimed at academic support, student services and Western's presence beyond campus boundaries.

A $124,590 grant from Sunway College will go to support Western's "twinning" program in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and two smaller awards will assist with WMU programs in India.

Closer to home, a $150,000 award from the U.S. Department of Defense will help boost business for small companies in southwest Michigan. The grant was secured by WMU's Office of Business Development Services, which assists clients in understanding government contracts, bid proposals and related matters.

Other funds awarded to WMU in January include:

Dr. Koorosh Naghshineh's $9,000 research grant to investigate and recommend solutions to the conveyor belt noise problem at General Motors' malleable iron plant in Saginaw.

A $100,000 research grant to Dr. Laura R. VanZoest, from the Michigan Department of Education, to provide a professional development program especially for math teachers.

A $48,000 research grant to Dr. Robert J. Bensely that will be used to evaluate the first-year implementation of "Healthy Child Eating Education," a series of Internet-based nutrition education modules. The award was made by the Michigan Department of Community Health.

A $25,000 research grant from the Kalamazoo Country Human Services department to Dr. Wendy Wintermute and Lyndell Bleyer for a survey of the county's low-income population, and a new Web site showcasing the results.

More than $129,000 from the Michigan Department of Career Development to Dr. Griselda Daniel of the Graduate College to help provide doctoral fellowships to underrepresented doctoral students.

In addition, $115,257 from the Michigan Department of Education went to Donyll Lewis of WMU's Division of Multicultural Affairs to introduce underrepresented students to college life.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu


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