Boschini: Grants to aid future campus transformations

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    Several grants totalling $1.8 million have been awarded to faculty members and academic departments through Vision In Action’s Strategic Initiative Fund, said Leo Munson, associate provost for academic support.About $1.6 million of the fund has already been allotted, Munson said. Chancellor Victor Boschini said the majority of the grants will be used for projects that will improve the student-faculty relationship.

    Boschini appointed Munson to chair the Strategic Initiative Fund Evaluation Committee that awarded the grants. The evaluation committee comprised eight faculty members from various departments.

    Munson said two types of grants were awarded: Transformational and Pathways for Transformation. According to the VIA Web site, Transformational grants are designed for multiyear projects intended to transform the nature of the institution, while Pathways for Transformation grants go to fund smaller projects with a shorter duration.

    Michael Butler, a professor in the AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences, received one of the grants. The money will be used to make professional advising available for all freshman students in AddRan. This will ensure that each AddRan student, including premajors, has an adviser at least until the end of his or her freshman year, Butler said. Three professional advisers will be hired to work with approximately 500 first-year students in AddRan.

    Tony Burgess, a professor in the environmental science department, also received one of the grants. A new course on biodiversity will be created with the money. The course will be similar to Columbia University’s Biosphere 2 program. It will be a field-intensive course based on organism classification research and conservation biology.

    The Strategic Initiative Fund is aimed at “putting substance behind two years of discussion,” Munson said. Future funding will be dependent on the achievements of the applicants.

    Each applicant submitted an application with a 200-word summary of the project, Munson said. There were 45 applicants with 21 receiving funds. The recommended limit for each grant is $25,000, but the evaluation committee has not decided how much each recipient will receive.

    There are many deserving professors at TCU, and with the grants awarded, they can do great things, Munson said.

    Munson said he is working on the grant application for the 2006-2007 academic year and that it will be available soon.