WMU grants soar past $13 million mark in September, October

Contact: Mark Schwerin

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Grants to Western Michigan University topped $13 million in September and October, WMU trustees learned at their Dec. 18 meeting.

Grants for research garnered the biggest share of externally funded awards, breaking the $9 million mark, with four large research grants from the U.S. Department of Education totaling more than $6.8 million and other notable awards coming from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Geneva Foundation.

Department of Education grants were led by a previously announced $3.2 million award to create, document, track and measure outcomes of an institutional transformation process aimed at improving the success of Kalamazoo Promise students and low-income students in southwest Michigan. That grant went to a multidisciplinary team composed of Drs. Andrea L. Beach, professor of educational leadership, research and technology; Charles Henderson, professor of physics; Stephen Magura, director of the WMU Evaluation Center; and Martha Warfield, vice president for diversity and inclusion.

A second DOE grant, totaling nearly $2 million, was awarded to Drs. Elizabeth Whitten and Luchara Wallace, professor and assistant professor, respectively, of special education and literacy studies, and Dr. Jianpin Shen, professor of educational leadership, research and technology, to develop and implement a leadership pipeline that will recruit and select 20 teacher leaders and five principals from priority schools.

The third DOE grant was for $890,490 and awarded to Shen and Drs. Nancy Mansberger and Walter Burt, professor and associate professor, respectively, of educational leadership, research and technology, to improve the school leadership of practicing and aspiring principals in Michigan schools.

Shen also was the recipient of a fourth DOE grant, totaling $738,999, also aimed at providing comprehensive instruction and mentoring to aspiring and practicing principals in high-need school districts and monitoring program effectiveness.

The Geneva Foundation awarded $409,192 to Drs. Gregory Flamme and Stephen Tasko, associate professors of speech pathology and audiology, to evaluate the prevalence of reflexive middle ear contractions in the U.S. population, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $399,434 to researchers in the Children's Trauma Assessment Center led by Dr. James Henry, professor of social work, to provide a continuum of services from trauma screening assessment to evidence supported family treatment. The department also awarded Henry a public service grant of $632,590 to identify, treat and improve the social and emotional well-being and developmental functioning of foster care children in Genesee County.

Awards from the U.S. Department of Education also figured heavily in the $2.4 million in grants awarded for instruction. Four DOE instruction grants totaled more than $900,000, while a $1.4 million instruction grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute to Dr. John Geiser, professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Susan Stapleton, dean of the Graduate College, will be used to transform undergraduate biology education by building bridges between the science and education communities.

Grants for public service nearly reached $1.4 million. Grants for scholarships and fellowships totaled $101,228, and grants for student services hit $90,030.