WMU News

Grant total tops $83 million in record research year

Oct. 8, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- Grants to Western Michigan University reached a record-breaking $83.5 million at the close of the 1998-99 year, according to a report presented to the WMU Board of Trustees at its Oct. 7 meeting.

The total recorded at the June 30 close of the fiscal year was $83,525,864. That figure includes a one-time award of $51 million as well as other awards totaling $32.5 million, for a substantial increase over the previous record total of $31 million set last year.

"The $51 million CATIA engineering software award announced in November greatly escalated this year's grant total," said Dr. Donald E. Thompson, vice president for research and dean of the graduate college. "But in addition to that development, this was a tremendous year in research growth and scholarship for our faculty. We had more successful proposals and more large awards than ever before."

The year-end total reported to the board included grants recorded during June, the final month of activity for the 1998-99 year. Grants during that month alone totaled nearly $6.2 million and included awards in several areas for which the University has established a research and public service track record.

"We've reached a point where we've established a strong reputation in a number of areas," Thompson says. "Funding agencies know what we can do and they know we do it well. We've moved into an elite league of universities that have established themselves as preferred researchers in certain areas."

The June awards included a new $767,291 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a project in mathematics education, a major research area at the University. The award will fund the Michigan Middle School Mathematics Reform Project, a four-year collaborative effort designed to assist Michigan school districts in aligning their middle school mathematics programs with new state and national recommendations. Dr. Robert Laing and Dr. Ruth Ann Meyer, both professors of mathematics and statistics, direct the project along with Dr. Mark Jenness, senior research associate in WMU's Science and Mathematics Program Improvement project, which is part of the Department of Science Studies.

Another major grant noted in the June report was an award for $1,465,000 from the Michigan Department of Corrections to Dr. C. Dennis Simpson, director of WMU's Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and James H. Kendrick, assistant professor of community health services. The grant will fund continued work by the pair on a pilot program at MDOC's Cooper Street Correctional Facility in Jackson, Mich. The effort is aimed at providing residential treatment services in a prison setting for inmates nearing parole to help reduce the chance of their relapse to drug use after release. The research and evaluation project began last fall with a $1.7 million award from MDOC.

"These grants are perfect examples of areas in which we enjoy a national reputation and in which we have experienced increasing success in securing grants," Thompson said. "The number of programs at WMU that are achieving that kind of success continues to grow."

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

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