Five Faculty Awarded GLCA Grants

by Jim Amidon

August 31, 2011

Five Wabash faculty have received grants from the Great Lakes Colleges Association through its New Directions Initiative. Gilberto Gomez, Jeremy Hartnett, Eric Wetzel, and Chad Westphal each received the prestigious grants, while Bob Royalty received two grants.

Funded by a generous gift to the GLCA from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New Directions Initiative supports the renewal and continued professional growth of faculty in liberal arts colleges who are in “mid career,” according to the GLCA website.

The emphasis of the grant program is to help faculty at the critical time in their careers after they have received tenure. In particular, the New Directions Initiative rewards faculty who wish to chart a new course of research or scholarship beyond their own specific discipline.

"The very good news about this new round of NDI awards is that it shows the continuing vitality and imagination of our mid-career faculty who are taking advantage of the GLCA funding to strengthen their scholarship and teaching," said Dean of the College Gary Phillips.

"The grants are intended to help established faculty develop a new area of teaching and research, one that heads them off in a different direction. Faculty personally benefit from the intellectual development opportunities and our students even more so because this work translates into richer teaching and learning opportunities for them.  Eric Wetzel's global health initiative, to take one example, is already bearing fruit for Wabash students. Wabash faculty are using the NDI grants to make themselves become better teacher/scholars."

Associate Professor of Modern Languages Gilberto Gomez received a grant for his proposal entitled "Making Visible the Invisible: Learning How Films are Made."

Associate Professor of Classics Jeremy Hartnett (right) will extend his research on ancient Pompeii through his grant proposal "From Pompeii to Calixtlahuaca and Beyond: A Cross-cultural Study of Streetlife."

Associate Professor of Religion Bob Royalty received two New Directions Initiative grants for research projects entitled "A Bible Scholar Turns to the Qur'an: Beginning Arabic Studies" and "Joshua and Jihad: The Bible and the Qur'an."

Associate Professor of Biology Eric Wetzel (left) received a continuation grant that will help him with his ongoing work in Peru. His proposal is entitled "Global Health as a New Direction: Next Steps." Wetzel has done extensive research on infectious diseases in Peru and has led students on immersion learning course trips there, as well.

And newly tenured Association Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Chad Westphal received an exploration grant for cross-disciplinary research in the area of "Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases."

The GLCA describes a successful proposal as one that “will make the case that the project provides the potential for changes in understanding, insight, and modes of thinking that will result in professional development with an evident link to professional renewal and liberal learning,”

Through the first two years the New Directions Initiative has provided $1,148,000 in funding for 201 proposals involving almost 300 faculty members across twelve GLCA campuses.

English Professor Warren Rosenberg, coordinator of faculty development at Wabash, made the announcement.


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