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September 19, 2003

The Plan for 2010’s Innovation Fund Supports New Ideas

Mount Holyoke’s 2010 Innovation Fund is paving the way for a new era of curricular and cocurricular advances. Made possible by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the $40,000 fund has been distributed to support projects that stimulate thinking about the academic, cocurricular, and administrative goals of The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010.

President Joanne V. Creighton recently announced the recipients of the Innovation Fund grants for 2003–2004 and thanked the Academic Priorities Committee for its excellent job soliciting proposals. “The proposals submitted for these funds represent creative and exciting work,” Creighton said, “that will launch The Plan for 2010 well.”

Innovation Unveiled
Here are summaries of the 2003–2004 proposals that received funding:

To build on The Plan for 2003’s core goals of increasing students’ engagement with the world and emphasizing analytical writing skills, Martha Ackmann, senior lecturer in women’s studies, proposed “Conversations about Journalism.” This series of talks among Mount Holyoke and Five College faculty, as well as with select educators nationwide, will explore ways to define journalism and communications for a possible new curricular initiative.

“The Balancing Act: Maintaining an Active Research Program at a Small Liberal Arts College” was submitted by Sarah Bacon, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Sharon Stranford, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences. This faculty seminar will target issues of particular concern to junior science faculty as they establish and maintain experimental research programs in the sciences.

George Cobb, Robert L. Rooke Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, requested funding to support faculty discussions on ways in which faculty teaching is recognized, rewarded, and publicized. Among the outcomes envisioned is a strong message to potential students and their parents that Mount Holyoke’s rhetoric about the value of good teaching is backed by substance.

Jim Coleman, professor of dance, proposed a one-day Arts Retreat aimed toward improving cooperation and enhancing collaborative possibilities for the arts at MHC. Invited participants will include
all MHC arts faculty, student representatives from each of the seven arts-related programs, and other interested faculty from outside the arts.

A student/faculty seminar in architectural studies will be offered thanks to a proposal by Michael Davis, professor of art. Codirected by Karen Koehler, visiting associate professor of art, this two-credit seminar will bring selected students and faculty from across the disciplines to investigate the built environment through design practice, architectural history, theory, and science.

Frank DeToma, Professor of Biological Sciences on the Alumnae Foundation, proposed a two-day retreat for biology faculty. Among the aims of the retreat, which was held in May, was exploring the development of more curricular connections among biology and mathematics, computer science, and the other sciences.

A proposal by Marianne Doezema, director of the art museum, focuses on The Plan for 2010’s attention to landscape as one of the College’s important assets. To further the commission of an outdoor sculpture funded by the museum, the Innovation Fund will finance the honorarium and travel expenses for artists selected to examine the site and present their work to the MHC community.

The Innovation Fund will allow Rose Flachs and Charles Flachs, associate professors of dance, to visit the National Ballet School of Cuba. Their research and fieldwork will shape a future January Term course on the pedagogy of Cuban ballet.

A faculty seminar to explore the enterprise of educational studies from interdisciplinary perspectives was proposed by Sandy Lawrence, associate professor of psychology and education, and Lenore Carlisle, visiting assistant professor of psychology and education. The project’s long-range goal is to generate a detailed rationale and overview of an interdepartmental major and minor in educational studies.

In keeping with The Plan for 2010’s goal to build Mount Holyoke’s visibility through “maximum use of the Web in marketing the College and promoting its distinctive strengths,” the Office of Communications proposed an audio component for the MHC Web site. Audio files of interviews will be strategically embedded throughout the site to target prospective students and other audiences.

The CAUSE Program (Creating Awareness and Unity for Social Equality), a student-run organization, requested a grant to fund a Diversity and Leadership Odyssey trip for January 2004. As last year, a select group of ten students and two staff members will team up with Habitat for Humanity to build and repair houses. A January Term class component on diversity, race, gender, and advanced leadership will enhance the 2004 fieldwork.

Mary Jo Salter, Emily Dickinson Senior Lecturer in the Humanities, proposed staging her play in progress about the historical moment when young John Milton visited the aged, blind Galileo, who was under house arrest in Florence after his conviction by the Inquisition. To present this story of the dramatic intersection of art and science, political and scientific revolution, and blindness and seeing, Salter will collaborate with Holger Teschke, visiting professor of theatre arts, and Jim Coleman, professor of dance.

A faculty seminar on Puerto Rican studies is the result of a proposal by Preston Smith, associate professor of politics. Since many community-based learning (CBL) classes involve the Puerto Rican citizens of neighboring Holyoke, the seminar aims to help CBL faculty educate students about Puerto Rican history and culture in Holyoke, in the United States, and on the island.


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