Valerie Barr

Computer Science Dept.
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA 01075

phone: +1 413 538 3644

office: Clapp 222A
office hours: Please email for an appointment.

Home Funded Faculty Infused Courses

The Union-Lafayette NSF CPATH grant:
"Creating a Campus-wide Computation Initiative"

Introduction to the Grant

The big picture

How to participate in this project

Apply for summer support

Funded faculty

Infused Courses

Sample Projects (based on presentations by Summer 2010 funded faculty-student teams)


Original NSF CPATH solicitation


Union and Lafayette Colleges received a five-year $1.15M National Science Foundation grant for our proposal Campus Wide Computation Initiative: A New Model for Computing Education. The motivation of the CPATH solicitation was to revitalize undergraduate computing education. Rather than focus specifically on computer science enrollments, the goal of our project is to broaden the pool of students who are prepared to integrate computation into their fields of study. We believe that computation can play a role in disciplines across our campuses, and have designed the grant activities for the broadest possible participation.

The big picture

Key components of the project are:

As part of the grant effort, we have also developed several new computer science courses in addition to the Introduction to Computational Science. These new courses are Modeling & Simulation, and Data Visualization. Modules have been added to courses across the college that engage students in using computation within their field of major study. We continue to encourage the development of upper level courses within other departments that are heavily focused on discipline specific uses of computation, and the development of computation-oriented tracks within non-CS disciplines. All of the new CS courses involve data drawn from a range of disciplines so that students can apply their knowledge and skills to data from their own areas of expertise.

How can you be part of this project/what's in it for you?

Generate support for the use of computation within your field of study! Help students develop the skills to work on research with you!

Talk about computation within your discipline:

Incorporate computation into your courses, encourage your students to take a CS course:

The grant includes support for two activities which can be rolled into one summer project.

Applying for summer 2012 support:

If you are interested in applying for summer 2012, please email me a proposal by February 17, 2012. In your proposal:

We will review the proposals and confer with the director of the summer research program (Kristin Fox) in cases where there are overlapping applications between this program and the Union Summer Research program. Student funding will be $3600 for the summer, and faculty funding will be $1750. There is also money available for supplies and associated research costs. In addition, there is funding for faculty and students to attend conferences in order to discuss the computational work they have done, particularly in the context of education and motivating students to learn about and utilize computation within their disciplines.

Funded faculty:

Summer 2008: Janet Anderson - Chemistry, Helen Hanson - Electrical and Computer Engineering, Eshragh Motahar - Economics, Gary Reich - Physics

Summer 2009: Michelle Chilcoat - Film Studies, Quynh Chu-LaGraff - Biology / Neuroscience, Jeff Corbin - Biology, Ashraf Ghaly - Engineering, Jim Hedrick - Engineering, Zoe Oxley - Political Science, Steve Schmidt - Economics, Tarik Wareh - Classics, Francis Wilkin - Astronomy.

Summer 2010: Ann Anderson and Brad Bruno - Mechanical Engineering, Tomas Dvorak - Economics, Jonathan Marr - Astronomy, Steve Romero - Psychology / Neuroscience

Academic 2010-2011: Fuat Sener - Economics

Summer 2011: Christina Xydias - Political Science (now at Susquehanna University). In addition, both Janet Anderson and Jonathan Marr worked with students who were funded under the grant, although there were no new curricular infusions developed by the faculty.

January 2012: Linda Laderach - Music (Mount Holyoke College)

Summer 2012: Andrew Burkett - English, David Gillikin - Geology, David Goodwin - Geology (Denison College), Susan Kohler - Chemistry, Steve Sargeant - History, Francis Wilkin - Astronomy, Jeff Corbin - Biology, Keith Ohara (CS) and Maria Cecire (Literature) - Bard College

Summer 2013: No additional faculty were funded, but we did launch a new project that involved Mark Dallas - Political Science, Roger Hoerl - Math (Statistics), and Eshragh Motahar - Economics.

Infused Courses:

  • Introduction to Astronomy - AST-051
  • Observational Astronomy - AST-230
  • Radio Astronomy - AST-240
  • Plant Ecology - BIO-324
  • Introduction to Cellular Neurosciences - BIO-363
  • Chemistry 101, Chemistry 110, Chemistry 340
  • Geology 203, 207, 302, 307; GEOS-111 (Denison)
  • Module on Monte Carlo methods, used for several Physics courses
  • Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience - PSY-210
  • Psychology of Memory and Thinking - PSY-220

  • Economics of Technological Change - ECO-332
  • Quantitative Methods in Economics - ECO-338
  • Contemporary Issues in Macroeconomics - ECO-352
  • Consumer Finance
  • Economics oriented Sophomore Research Seminar, includes section on using Monte Carlo methods for evaluation of retirement plans

  • History SRS - Computer Simulation and Virtual History
  • Public Opinion - PSC-261
  • The European Union - POLI-321 at Susquehanna University

  • Sex, Lies, and Videotape - FRN-402
  • Intermediate and upper level Greek courses
  • Ancient and Modern Egypt (mini-term)
  • English-211 The Romantic Revolution, English-305 Romanticism Redux, English-2XX Romanticism and Media Studies
  • Introduction to Media - Bard College
  • iPads for Violin Instruction - Mount Holyoke College

  • Fluid Dynamics 1 - MER-331
  • Advanced Fluid Mechanics - MER-332
  • Heat Transfer - MER-333
  • Speech Acoustics - ECE-325
  • Exploring Engineering - ESC-100

    For more information:

    Contact me! Valerie Barr, CS Dept., x8361.