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Three Collaborative Projects Funded for 2009

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    Fay Guarraci conducts one of three projects receiving funding through the Mellon grant

Collaborative projects in Music, Psychology and Intercultural Learning are being funded by a three-year, $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

A project to produce a DVD that will be distributed around the world, a psychology research project and a project designed to improve Southwestern’s study abroad program have all received funding for 2009.  

The projects are being funded by a three-year, $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that was designed to develop collaborative programs among faculty members. This is the second year projects have been funded from the grant. 

Faculty members can apply to use the grant funds for cross-disciplinary projects in one of five areas: study abroad, research, developing new teaching strategies, community-based learning, or diversity.

Michael Cooper, associate professor of music, received $16,600 to produce a performance of “Songs of Bilitis,” which features texts by Pierre Louys and music of Claude Debussy. The performance will be held in spring 2010 and will be recorded for national and international distribution. More than 20 faculty members will be involved with the project, as well as several students. The complete set of musical compositions, poems, and visual artworks associated with the original Louys/Debussy collaboration has not been performed since 1901.

Fay Guarraci, assistant professor of psychology, and Maha Zewail Foote, assistant professor of chemistry, received $16,600 to continue their collaborative research. The two are combining psychology and biochemistry to investigate the adaptive significance of female mate choice on the reproductive success of different potential fathers in Long-Evans rats.

Sue Mennicke, director of intercultural learning, received $13,000 for a study designed to identify strengths and weaknesses in Southwestern’s off-campus and study-abroad programs. The project also will involve Julia Johnson, assistant professor of communications, Kathleen Juhl, professor of theatre, and Elaine Craddock, professor of religion and philosophy. As part of the study, all four will spend a week participating in the Border Studies Program Earlham College operates along the U.S.-Mexico border. The program is considered a model for how off-campus study can be a learning tool for liberal arts education. The four also will spend time visiting with colleagues at Denison University about their off-campus study programs. 

“This grant should help me work more effectively with students to identify appropriate goals, plans and preparation for studying abroad,” Craddock said.