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BW wins prestigious grants for innovative research and programs

From the National Endowment for the Humanities to the National Science Foundation, BW projects are attracting attention and winning support from a variety of high-profile places.

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Baldwin Wallace University’s focus on program and research innovation has earned the attention of an array of influential national and regional funders over the past year, leading to millions in new and renewed grants.

NEH-supported medical and health humanities minor

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Among the most recent, prominent project endorsements, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded a planning grant for the development of a new minor in medical and health humanities led by Dr. Denise Kohn, BW associate dean for the humanities.

BW was one of 19 institutions to earn one of the first Humanities Connections awards for “curricular innovation projects” under the NEH’s new Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education grant program.

"We're thrilled to have received this NEH grant because we know that a minor in medical and health humanities will further prepare our students to make a significant impact in health care across Northeast Ohio,” said Kohn. “Studies in the humanities can help to develop a deeper knowledge of understanding and empathy in health care professionals, which can protect against burnout and improve patient outcomes.”

“At the same time,” Kohn continued, “this minor will help students with majors in business and the humanities develop a better understanding of the practice of healthcare to prepare them to work in non-clinical areas in the healthcare ecosystem."

National Science Foundation Funding

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has greenlighted three grants for BW this spring, with the latest supporting “Pathways to the Teaching Profession,” a capacity-building project funded under the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship and Stipend Program.

The goal of that program, led by mathematics professor Dr. Catherine Lane and Dr. Debra Janas Hecker, who chairs BW’s Department of Education, is to “enhance BW’s ability to recruit, prepare, and graduate a greater number of trained STEM teachers to serve in high-need school districts across Northeast Ohio.”

Project objectives include the development of a new STEM education program that couples a major in biology or mathematics with coursework that meets Ohio teacher licensure requirements and integrates cultural competence, as well as enhanced recruitment partnerships with area high schools and community colleges.

“This NSF grant will allow us to create a unique and powerful experience for students as they prepare to be effective teachers in diverse settings,” Lane explained.

Earlier, NSF funded ongoing, cutting-edge air quality monitoring research conducted by BW students and faculty with partners around Greater Cleveland and a $2 million NSF award launching a BW-led coalition of colleges seeking to increase the number of computer science graduates in Ohio.

Public funding and partnerships

BW’s Center for Health Disparities Research and Education also earned federal funding championed by Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. Students and faculty work with community partners like the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the LGBT Center of Cleveland on projects that illuminate health disparities in Greater Cleveland and across the world.

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In the fall, the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) awarded BW nearly $960,000 in Choose Ohio First (COF) grants, just the latest state support for the University's robust STEM Scholars programming and student scholarships.

With the support of Cuyahoga County District 2 Councilman Dale Miller, Cuyahoga County also allocated $225,000 of federal COVID-19 stimulus dollars under the American Rescue Plan Act to fund a BW-led public-private technology partnership, a Northeast Ohio Flight Information Exchange (NEOFIX) that aims to build the infrastructure needed to govern commercial drone activity within Cuyahoga County.

As a University that prepares K-12 teachers, BW also earned $300,000 in state and federal education grants to launch a high-dose tutoring program in the Fairview Park City Schools. The program placed aspiring teachers from BW's education department in the classrooms to accelerate a post-COVID-19 academic rebound in reading and math.

Intel Education Network

Finally, BW is among the universities participating in a semiconductor-focused education network funded by Intel and aimed at preparing Ohio’s future advanced semiconductor and microelectronics industry workforce. Intel announced support for the Ohio educational collaborations as the company broke ground for its semiconductor manufacturing plant in New Albany, Ohio, in the fall.

Added to renewed funding for programs like Upward Bound and Americorps, grant support for innovation at BW and the vote of confidence that comes with it has never been higher.

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