WMU News

Two-month grant total tops $11.4 million

Dec. 16, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Grants to Western Michigan University during September and October topped $11.4 million, according to a report presented to the WMU Board of Trustees at its Dec. 13 meeting.

September awards of $6,403,737 and October awards of $5,048,794 brought the year-to-date total of grants received since the July 1 start of the 2002-03 fiscal year to $18,524,301.

Research grants during the two months reported totaled more than $9.1 million and were led by a nearly $3 million award from the U.S. Department of Education to support MERC--Midwest Educational Reform Consortium--a continuing effort of the GEAR UP project coordinated by the WMU College of Education.

MERC is a partnership led by WMU College of Education researcher Dr. Joseph Kretovics, professor of teaching, learning and leadership. It unites WMU with Bowling Green State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, along with business and community organizations, in a five-year effort to ensure that at-risk students make successful transitions to college. The initiative, known as GEAR UP--Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs--was announced in October 2000.

Another major ingredient to the large research total was the recently announced grant of more than $2.6 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the WMU Environmental Institute for Great Lakes research. The environmental grant will be used by WMU and Altarum, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based nonprofit organization, to develop tools that will give scientists, policy makers and citizens alike the detailed information they need to make decisions on critical environmental issues. The funds are being used to establish the Great Lakes Center for Environmental and Molecular Sciences at WMU and combine University environmental research resources with those of the energy and environmental division of Altarum. The effort, led by Dr. Charles Ide and Dr. Jay Means, director and associate director, respectively, of WMU's Environmental Institute, was announced in October.

Another federal research grant, an award of $874,987 from the National Science Foundation, will be used to develop, field test and bring to publication a revision of the four-year high school mathematics curriculum. The grant is awarded to Dr. Christian Hirsch, professor of mathematics. It will continue his work in mathematics reform and the development of the Core-Plus Mathematics Project high school curriculum under development at WMU since 1992.

A fourth federal research grant, an award of $529,417 from the National Science Foundation and disbursed through the University of Michigan, will continue an innovative doctoral research and training program offered by WMU and 11 other participating institutions. The Biosphere Atmosphere Research and Training program, offered at the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, Mich., takes a multidisciplinary approach to studying atmospheric change and is directed by Dr. Steven Bertman and Dr. David Karowe, WMU associate professors of chemistry and biological sciences, respectively.

A previously announced grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, will provide $1.2 million to complete a research laboratory and office space totaling nearly $20,000 square feet in the University's new College of Health and Human Services building. The grant, announced in September, will be used to complete the 195,000-square-foot building's fourth floor, which will house research initiatives and research training in sensory, motor and communication sciences.

Other grants received during the period include two additional awards from the U.S. Department of Education:

A $218,545 continuation grant to Dr. Martha B. Warfield, director of the Division of Multicultural Affairs, to offer the Math and Science Upward Bound program to 50 high school students.

A $263,019 continuation grant to Marilyn Duke, director of the WMU Academic Skills Center, to address the specific risk factors and offer support services for college students from low-income families or who are members of underrepresented minority groups.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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