WMU News

Grants to WMU send year's total soaring past previous record

June 26, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- With one month still to report before the close of the 1997-98 fiscal year, grants to Western Michigan University have passed the previous record by more than $3.5 million, the WMU Board of Trustees learned at its June 26 meeting.

Grant reports for March, April and May detailed $13,243,744 in awards to the University, bringing the fiscal year-to-date total of grants received to $28,535,580. That figure exceeds the 1996-97 record grant total of $25,019,439 by $3,516,141 or 14 percent.

Among major grants reported to the board was a previously announced $5.2 million award made in March by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich., to the School of Aviation Sciences. That award is being used to address new space and equipment needs for the school's growing programs and to increase the number of women and minorities entering aviation career fields.

An April award for nearly $3 million from the Moldflow Corp. of Lexington, Mass., will be used to establish a new Moldflow Center for Design Excellence in Kohrman Hall. The project is under the direction of Dr. Michael B. Atkins, chairperson of the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. When complete, the new center will serve as Moldflow's North American training site for the firm's plastic simulation software, which is used to design and produce plastic parts for such products as automobiles, aircraft and toys. WMU faculty and students also will have access to the center for research, consulting and class projects.

Among other major new awards announced was a grant for $1,950,000 from the Schools of the 21st Century Corp. of Detroit 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 award will be used by the pair to lead an evaluation of the Detroit Schools' 21st Century Initiative. They will head an evaluation team that includes researchers from the University of Michigan and two private firms -- Abt Associates Inc., a school evaluation and technical assistance firm in Cambridge, Mass; and Roegan Enterprises, a Detroit firm specializing in technical assistance to schools.

The team will evaluate the first five years of the school initiative, which focuses on systemic reform and restructuring of Detroit schools. The initiative is a response to the Annenberg Challenge, and Detroit is one of 11 cities nationwide involved in reform efforts funded by the Annenberg Foundation. The initiative's goals are to improve teaching and learning by personalizing the relationship between students and teachers; by finding better ways to meet the developmental needs of students through improved community relationships, especially with parents; and by freeing schools to reshape themselves.

Barley and Jenness also are the directors of a project funded by a $133,500 grant from the Vermont Institute for Science, Math and Technology in Waterbury, Vt. The award will fund their work in evaluating Vermont's Statewide Systemic Initiative, which is designed to transform the way science, mathematics and technology are taught throughout the state's K-12 schools. The pair has been working with the Vermont project since 1994.

Also announced was a major new $273,765 award from the Alger Foundation, which has offices in Honolulu and the Philippines, to Dr. Daniel L. Stufflebeam, director of WMU's Evaluation Center. The funds will be used over the next three years to provide leadership in the foundation's effort to improve the evaluation capabilities of a number of community-based non-profit organizations with which it works. A specialist from the center will evaluate efforts undertaken by the organizations and also train members of those organizations to conduct their own evaluations.

The Alger Foundation award was one of seven grants totaling nearly $400,000 awarded to the Evaluation Center during the three-month period. Other awards to the center included a $50,000 grant from the state of Hawaii to Dr. Arlen R. Gullickson, the center's chief of staff, to provide consulting services for the state's teacher evaluation program and a $30,000 grant to Gullickson from the Appalachia Educational Laboratory Inc. to continue as that organization's external evaluator.

Dr. James R. Sanders, associate director of the Evaluation Center and professor of educational leadership, also received a $30,000 award from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to fund his work in guiding a committee that is revising national educational personnel evaluation standards.

Two grants reported to the board will fund efforts by WMU's Institute for Leadership Transformation which are part of a joint initiative by the University and the Benton Harbor (Mich.) Area School District to improve opportunities and achievement levels for students in that district. The school district awarded $150,000 to Dr. Donald E. Thompson, WMU vice president for research and director of the institute, and Dr. Lynn Todman, the institute's associate director. The grant will fund the planning and development of an early learning environment for Benton Harbor children aged 0-5. The project is part of a partnership between the University and the district that has been in development for the past year.

Todman also was awarded a $6,000 grant by the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Foundation to develop a school-to-work partnership program involving Benton Harbor area businesses and district students.

Other major awards noted in the grant report include a $478,152 grant from Kalamazoo County Community Mental Health Services to WMU's Center for Developmentally Disabled Adults. The funding will support the center's continued work with the county's population of developmentally disabled adults aged 26 and up. The center offers daily living, communication and social skill services at four sites to more than 130 county residents.

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

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