Agenda Item No. __V. B. 7.__

Washburn University Board of Regents





SUBJECT: Washburn Innovation Grant Funding



DESCRIPTION: The Washburn University Innovation Grant is an internal grant program created by the Washburn University Board of Regents and funded by the Washburn Endowment Association. Its purpose is to support projects which will make a significant impact on the future of Washburn University. Grants are solicited every three years. The Board approved two grants in Spring, 2003. Both have proven to be very successful.

In mid-September, 2005, a Call for Proposals for the Innovation Grant program was sent to the University community. In early December, the six preliminary grant proposals submitted were reviewed by the Innovation Grant Committee. Four of the six grants were selected for further consideration, and the developers were asked to submit a detailed grant proposal by mid-February, 2006. These grants were reviewed by the committee, which had the task of recommending which grants should be funded (in full or in part).



The membership on the Innovation Grant Committee was: one member of the Washburn University Board of Regents (Blanche Parks), one member of the Washburn Alumni Association (Mary Lou MacPhail), one member of the Washburn Endowment Association Board of Trustees (Kent Garlinghouse), three faculty not associated with submitted grant proposals (Shirley Dinkel, Candy Bahner, Jennifer Ball), the President (or designee) of the Washburn Student Government Association (Kate McCown), the Vice President for Student Life (Denise Ottinger), and the Vice President for Academic Affairs (Ron Wasserstein), who served as chair.



(1) Washburn University High Performance Computing Environment (HiPACE), submitted by the following faculty members: *Stephen Angel and Janice Barton (Chemistry), *John Mullican (Biology), David Bainum, *Bruce Mechtly, Jack Decker, and *Gary Schmidt (CIS), Steven Black, *Karen Camarda, Linda Garinger, and Brian Thomas (Physics and Astronomy), Donna LaLonde (Mathematics and Statistics), David Pownell (Education), and Azyz Sharafy (Art). The principal investigators are indicated with an asterisk (*). The primary purposes of this project are to: (a) create a high performance computing environment that stimulates and enhances student learning and research across and among a variety of disciplines; (b) provide students and faculty with advanced visualization tools and virtual laboratory environments; and (c) enhance teacher education, especially in the sciences. This is consistent with the University's mission to support excellence in teaching and scholarship to help students reach their full academic potential.



The Innovation Grant Committee felt this proposal fit with the University's emphasis on improving instruction in the challenging disciplines of sciences and mathematics, and fit particularly well with the science education enhancements in the Stoffer Hall Project. The committee also noted the project would provide many new scholarly transformational experiences for our students. It is hoped that the HiPACE project will be so successful in accomplishing its goals that it will become integrated into the University's budget after the completion of the grant. To that end, the grant proposers will report progress at the end of each academic year, and will assess project success based on the number of students and faculty members using HiPACE facilities, the number of student research projects and TEs that directly result or benefit from HiPACE, and the impact of HiPACE on curricular change and student learning.



The grant budget of $300,000, allocated over three years, includes funding for computer hardware and software ($239,000 including installation costs), student and faculty staffing ($46,000), and training and travel (15,000).



(2) Center for Community Service and Service Learning, submitted by Rick Ellis, Professor of Human Services.



The program (a) extends and enhances Washburn's culture of community service; (b) builds the campus infrastructure to provide many additional opportunities for community service and service learning; (c) prepares faculty to mentor students serving in the community; and (d) seeks external funding opportunities to sustain and further develop our community service efforts. This is consistent with the core value of Washburn University to be dedicated to equality and to serving a diverse population including residents of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, the nation and the world.



The Innovation Grant Committee noted that the proposed Center (which does not require new space, but would operate in the existing LINC offices) strongly supports the community service transformational experience by providing staff infrastructure to match students with community service opportunities, and to provide the training and supervision necessary to maximize the value of those experiences.



It is hoped that this project will be so successful in further establishing a culture of community service that it will be sustainable through external grant funding. To that end, the grant proposer will report progress at the end of each academic year, and will assess program success based on the level and quality of student participation in community service activities, the level and quality of faculty involvement in mentoring, and the level of external funding obtained.



The grant budget of $300,000, allocated over three years, includes professional and student staffing (about $270,000) and operating expenses (about $30,000).



COPIES OF THE FULL GRANT PROPOSALS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS.



FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: $600,980 from WEA funds established for this purpose. The current balance in the grant fund is just under $950,000. At current distributions the grant fund is replenished with about $210,000 annually. Funds would be expended over a three-year period.



RECOMMENDATION: We recommend $300,000 to fund the High Performance Computing Environment, and $300,000 for the Center for Community Service and Service Learning, from the WEA grant fund established for this purpose.


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