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By CCWeek Staff  /  
2015 November 4 - 02:50 pm

Grants & Gifts

A summary listing of colleges and institutions receiving grants and gifts

The National Science Foundation has awarded Finger Lakes Community College (N.Y.) a $1.5 million grant to continue its work in developing undergraduate research programs in its classrooms and laboratories and at other community colleges across the country. FLCC has previously received more $4 million in National Science Foundation funding to develop a model for teaching basic science through research and to share that model with other community colleges. The four-year grant will enable FLCC to train faculty members at FLCC and other colleges who want to launch their own research programs and to fund travel expenses for students to present their work at conferences. At FLCC, all general biology classes are learning scientific principles and procedures though a project to record the biodiversity of insects in the region. Students gather insects, try to identify them, and verify the identification by checking each insect’s DNA with an international database. They upload the location where each insect was found into the database, which more advanced biology students will use for analysis. Other FLCC student research projects have involved tracking black bears and using DNA to identify male and female red-tailed hawks. The NSF grants that have been awarded to FLCC represent a substantial investment from the federal government. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology challenges U.S. colleges and universities to prepare one million more science, technology, engineering and math college undergraduates over the next decade. To meet this goal, the U.S. would need an additional 100,000 STEM graduates per year, requiring the nation’s 1,132 community colleges to take an active role. The NSF awards provide the opportunity for FLCC to take a leadership position in this effort. James Hewlett, along with John Van Niel, professor of environmental conservation, started in 2008 with a $500,000 grant for a pilot project, working with six other community colleges to revamp their biology programs to include research. The success of the pilot led to a $3.35 million grant and the establishment of CCURI in 2011. Since then, CCURI has developed a network of 60 partner community colleges, including Mesa Community College in Arizona, Ivy Technical Community College in Indiana, Oklahoma City Community College, Moreno Valley College in California, and Seminole State College in Florida. Additional grants followed, first a $133,000 for a national conference in 2013 and $210,000 to include colleges serving Hispanic students in 2014. The $1.5 million grant is part of the National Science Foundation’s fund for improving undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. FLCC will use some of the funds to study the impact the research projects have had at the institutions in the network.

Brookhaven College (Texas) received a grant that will total up to $2.65 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education, under Title V, the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program. The funds will support Project RISE, which responds to the academic, career and personal needs of Hispanic and low-income students. Hispanics are the largest ethnic group in the high schools surrounding the college and make up a significant percentage of the population in the local communities near the college. Minority students make up more than 64 percent of the of the student population at the college with 36 percent Hispanic, 18 percent Black/African American and 10 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. Hispanic and lowincome students, while highly motivated to enroll and complete a degree, often face cultural barriers, financial burdens and family responsibilities that may hinder their success. While Project RISE will help Hispanic and low-income students, ultimately the components of the project will support all individuals. This first year of the grant will require the college to set benchmarks, re-design processes for services, train faculty and identify facilities for creating centralized services.

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