Bates receives major Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant

Bates College has been awarded a $600,000 grant by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for the enhancement of the college’s programs in the sciences. It’s the third major Hughes grant to Bates in the past six years.

The grant was awarded through the institute’s Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program.

Bates President Donald W. Harward, in announcing the grant, said the money would be used to support new projects and to continue programs begun with a 1993 Hughes grant of $500,000.

“We are most pleased that the Hughes Institute continues to acknowledge Bates’ work in furthering the collaboration of faculty and students in scientific research and learning,” Harward said.

Bates is one of 52 colleges and universities sharing some $45.4 million in the latest round of awards. Since 1988, the institute has awarded more than $335 million to support undergraduate education in the life sciences at 220 institutions of higher learning.

At Bates, the Hughes funding will support the areas of neuroscience curriculum development, summer faculty development institutes and a mathematics resource center.

Three Bates faculty with expertise in the neurosciences will receive partial release time to design a new formal major in neuroscience and travel to meetings to discuss curriculum.

Faculty support will also include the development of institutes on the topics of science literacy and pedagogy. Such summer seminars will provide an opportunity for faculty members to work together on a common topic that each will want to introduce into existing courses or use as the basis for a new course.

Additional support will include stipends for participants, outside speakers and consultants, materials for the institutes and materials for implementation of new or revised courses.

The college’s 1993 Hughes grant has supported many of the Bates students who have attended scholarly meetings with professors and who have collaborated with faculty in both on- and off-campus research. In addition, the 1993 Hughes grant has assisted with the renovation of laboratories and the purchase of equipment, especially in the neuroscience and biomedical sciences. It also supported faculty members in designing and teaching of outreach programs such as summer institutes for high school teachers and the introduction of astronomy to local elementary-age students through the college’s planetarium.

“These colleges and universities, like Bates, do an excellent job of preparing students for careers in scientific research, teaching, medicine and related fields,” said Purnell W. Choppin, president of the Hughes Institute.

“Our goal is to get students of all ages, including women and minorities, involved in real scientific exploration instead of just memorizing facts from books,” Choppin said.

Bates has been recognized in several surveys as one of the nation’s leading colleges in undergraduate science education. The project director for the Hughes Grant at Bates is Martha A. Crunkleton, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute was established in 1953 and employs scientists in the fields of cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience and structural biology. Hughes investigators conduct medical research in HHMI laboratories at medical centers and universities across the United States.

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