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Bailey to announce Innovation Fund selections

Feb. 9, 2006

KALAMAZOO--The results of a campuswide search for ideas that are "truly transformational" will be unveiled next week when Western Michigan University President Judith I. Bailey announces the proposals selected to receive funding in a President's Innovation Fund competition she launched last fall.

The successful proposals and the teams submitting them will be honored when members of the University community gather for a special reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the North Ballroom of the Bernhard Center. The event will mark the completion of a competitive process designed to provide cash awards to turn good ideas into reality. The initiative was first announced by Bailey in her Sept. 27 State of the University address, when she said she would use unrestricted gifts to establish a pool of $2 million for a series of one-time awards for work done over the next two years. Work on the funded proposals could begin as soon as next month.

A total of 80 proposals were submitted in the competition, which was meant to generate and select for funding innovative ideas with the potential to transform some aspect of the University's core mission. Open to all members of the WMU faculty and staff, the competition drew proposals from every corner of the campus. Those submitting proposals range from top research scientists and department chairpersons to office support personnel and campus technical staff. All of those who submitted proposals will be thanked at the Feb. 15 reception.

The Innovation Fund will provide one-time monetary awards that could range from $100,000 to $1 million. The president is making the final selections after receiving the advice and recommendations of a nine-member review panel led by Dr. Nicholas Andreadis, dean of Extended University Programs. Five criteria were used by the review panel to develop their recommendations. The innovative idea had to advance the mission of WMU, have a significant impact on student education or University outcomes, produce measurable results, be feasible to implement and be led by individuals with expertise and experience.

"Those of us on the review committee were extremely impressed at the variety and caliber of the ideas submitted for consideration," Andreadis says. "It was evident to all of us on the panel that the teams that authored the proposals were passionate about their ideas and eager to find ways to enhance and advance the mission of the University."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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