Selected Recent Grants
2010: A Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will further strengthen science research and learning at Whitman College. The grant – $549,446 – provides a sophisticated laser scanning confocal microscope, adding another jewel to Whitman’s crown of laboratory resources. It is the third such addition in the last two years. Used for state-of-the-art, high resolution fluorescence imaging of biological specimens, the microscope will expand the college’s imaging capabilities, providing new research possibilities and additional opportunities to integrate research into Whitman courses. It joins Whitman’s NSF-funded nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, X-ray diffraction instrument and scanning electron microscope.
2010: Thomas Knight, assistant professor of biology, was awarded a prestigious $46,500 grant from the M.J. Murdock Trust for his head/eye movement research. Seemingly simple movements such as reading sentences or looking both ways before crossing a street are actually extremely complex physiological processes, involving a combination of rapid eye and head movements that the brain has to precisely coordinate so images aren’t blurred. Knight and his student research assistants are attempting to discover the underlying mechanisms that enable the brain to coordinate these actions. The Murdock grant will enable Knight, who has been using mice in experiments, to buy specialized equipment for use on humans. The EyeSeeCam, developed at the University of Munich, is cutting edge and makes difficult work accessible to undergraduate student researchers. Knight will use the portable, non-invasive equipment to examine eye-head gaze movements in natural and controlled contexts to test whether consistent and fundamental elements underlie all strategies.
2011: An $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has enabled the creation of the Northwest Five Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges (NW5C). Lewis & Clark, Reed College, University of Puget Sound, Whitman College and Willamette University make up the consortium. The purpose of the NW5C is to enhance the student academic experience at the five liberal arts colleges through enrichment and development of the faculty in their roles as teacher-scholars. The NW5C will provide the infrastructure to support a vibrant and sustainable intellectual community of scholars in our region. Through the partnership, faculty members will join communities of practice to enhance research, develop innovative approaches to teaching, and create new academic initiatives.
2012: Patrick Frierson, associate professor of philosophy, has been awarded a grant from the Spencer Foundation for his project titled “Education and Autonomy: Maria Montessori’s Philosophy of Education.” He will be working on the philosophy of education in Jean–Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, and especially Maria Montessori, with an emphasis on education that respects children's autonomy.
2012: The Donald and Virginia Sherwood Trust has awarded Whitman College a grant of $235,000 to create the Sherwood Trust Internship Endowment, which will support student internships in the Walla Walla region. The grant both recognizes Whitman’s interest in expanding connections with the Walla Walla community and honors the Sherwood Trust’s interest in serving the people of the Walla Walla Valley. Sherwood internships are designated for local non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, or schools.
2013: Michelle Janning, assistant dean of faculty and associate professor of sociology, has received a Fulbright Specialist award to teach and assist with faculty development at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, where she previously spent a semester as a visiting professor. She will return to Copenhagen for a month this summer to work on the project. The Fulbright Specialist program is a short-term version of a regular Fulbright and is designed to award grants to American professors in select disciplines to engage in two- to six-week long collaborative projects with academic institutions in more than 100 nations worldwide. Janning will assist her host institution in operationalizing the pedagogical identity through course redevelopment, faculty coaching and training sessions, and will play a central role in moving the discussion forward on melding a Danish model of instruction with American approaches to teaching and learning found in highly selective liberal arts colleges.