WMU News

Researchers land grants from public agencies, private groups

July 21, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University brought in more than $4 million in grants during April and May, officials reported at WMU's July 16 Board of Trustees meeting.

Awards from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are among the dozens of grants outlined in the report. Private grantors for the period reported included Pharmacia, the Northside Ministerial Alliance, Kalamazoo Community Foundation and Hawaii's Kamehameha Schools.

The latest addition of $4,049,988 brings grant funding for the 2002-03 fiscal year to more than $31 million. The grant amount for June, the final month in the University's fiscal year, will be reported along with the year-end total at the September meeting of the WMU board.

The largest award noted in the July 16 grant report was an $833,242 award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for continued research and technology development aimed at helping blind and low-vision pedestrians negotiate complex intersections. Dr. Richard G. Long, WMU associate professor of blindness and low vision studies, directs the effort.

Other large grants noted include several to WMU researchers at the Evaluation Center, an international leader in advancing the theory and practice of evaluation, as applied to education and human services.

Center director, Dr. Arlen Gullickson, landed a $473,411 award from the National Science Foundation to continue an Evaluation Center project aimed at enhancing evaluation capacity in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education. More than $230,000 was awarded to Dr. Gary J. Miron by Hawaii's Kamehameha Schools to assess and monitor activities for eight extension education programs, and to plan a pilot study and evaluation for preschool programs.

Also, the Evaluation Center's Dr. E. Jane Davidson garnered a $90,025 grant from Whirlpool Corp. to conduct nationwide focus groups and interviews that will help the company identify the key drivers of employee engagement to their work and to Whirlpool's customer loyalty strategy.

Additional awards to WMU will be used to underwrite research and public service projects in education. They include the following.

A $215,999 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Dr. Gyula Ficsor, professor emeritus of biological sciences, and Dr. Leonard C. Ginsberg, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will be used to engage underrepresented minority science majors from four community college partners in research and education activities.

A $100,000 award from the U.S. Department of Education to Dr. William R. Wiener, dean of the Graduate College, and Dr. Alan J. Hovestadt, professor of counselor education and counseling psychology, will support an interdisciplinary master's degree in rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation teaching.

A $317,892 grant from the National Science Foundation will continue efforts of "Enlist, Equip and Empower: An Integrated Program for Middle School Science Teachers." The project is directed by Dr. William Cobern and Dr. David W. Rudge of WMU's Mallinson Institute for Science Studies, and Dr. Robert H. Poel, professor of physics.

A $20,000 award from the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes to Dr. Paul E. Ponchillia, professor of blindness and low vision studies, will be used to conduct sports education camps for youth with visual impairments nationwide. The camps will be based on a model developed locally.

The University also received significant federal funding in other areas. A $50,000 award from NASA will assist Dr. William W. Liou, associate professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering, in studying high-speed flow over reusable launch vehicles. Dr. Andrew Brogowicz, chairperson of the Department of Marketing, will use a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Defense Logistics Information Service to help the agency conduct qualitative and quantitative satisfaction survey work. And a $33,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy is supporting research by Drs. John H. Cameron and Raja G. Aravamuthan, both professor of paper and printing science and engineering.

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

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