Faculty Awards

The Posen Foundation/Center for Cultural Judaism. $150,000. (Andrea Lieber, Judaic Studies). “The Posen Project in Secular Judaism at Dickinson: Next Steps.” This grant represents a three-year renewal of the Secular Judaism project funded by Posen in 2004. The next steps in our Secular Judaism initiative will build on what Dickinson already does well and augment our program by integrating Judaic studies into those already successful models. This will include a) continuation of faculty seminars and the development of supporting courses with Secular Judaic content, b) enhancement of the international dimension of the study of Judaism as culture by establishing connections with our partner institutions abroad, and with for-credit study-abroad experiences that will enhance our academic program, c) forging a connection with the College’s initiative in Environmental Sustainability studies, d) deepening connections with our emerging program in Middle Eastern Studies and our nationally-recognized program in Archaeology, e) inaugurating a series of programs entitled, “Jewish Secular Encounters with Contemporary Issues” to supplement course offerings with programs that address pressing contemporary concerns as well as pre-modern “roots” of Jewish secularism.

Pennsylvania Geological Survey. $24,923. (Pete Sak, Geology). Constraints on Regional-Scale Deformation Across the Pennsylvania Salient as Deduced from Geologic Cross-Sections. This funding will support a field-based investigation across the Valley and Ridge physiographic province along the Susquehanna River Valley. Here the south flowing Susquehanna River is oriented essentially perpendicular to the east-west tending Appalachian Mountains. Folded and faulted Paleozoic rocks are exposed in the riverbed, road cuts along both the east and west banks of the river, in quarries, and throughout agricultural and forested lands of the greater Susquehanna River Valley. By constructing a detailed geologic swath map along the shores of the river, working with Dr. Nadine McQuarrie (Princeton University), the hope is to constrain the amount of tectonic shortening between Harrisburg and Williamsport. Ultimately, results of this mapping effort will be used to construct a balanced geologic cross-section. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) – Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) - $178,088. Marie-Helweg-Larsen, Psychology. “Moralization, Risk Perceptions, and Smoking Cessation in the U.S. and Denmark.” Do smokers truly appreciate the health risks they undertake by smoking? We know little about how people come to believe that they are personally at risk and the role that cultural messages play. One important cultural factor is moralization – the individual and cultural process by which preferences are converted into values. In the proposed research, two studies will be conducted in the U.S. (a smoking-prohibitive culture where smoking is moralized) and Denmark (a smoking–lenient culture where smoking is much less moralized.) Study 1 – a qualitative interview study among U.S. and Danish smokers – will examine whether smokers’ perceptions of being targets of moralization are associated with risk perceptions of smoking and willingness to quit. Study 2 – a longitudinal survey study among representative samples of U.S. and Danish smokers and non-smokers – will examine the extent to which individual moralization predicts risk perceptions of smoking and how these factors among smokers predict willingness to quit. This research will lay the groundwork for more effective educational interventions and smoking cessation programs and thereby contribute to reaching the Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing adult cigarette smoking in the U.S. to 12%. 

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development—2008 Seed/Assistance Funding for Research or Commercial Partnering Activities Program. $10,000. Matt Steiman, Dickinson College Biodiesel Project. “From Waste to Co-Product: Finding Value in Crude Biodiesel Glycerol.” This grant funding will allow the Dickinson College Biodiesel Project research and develop economically viable outlets for the crude glycerol byproduct that results from the production of biodiesel fuel from vegetable oils. To complete this study, Dickinson College will partner with Keystone BioFuels, Inc., a new company based in the Harrisburg Keystone Innovation Zone. Crude biodiesel glycerol (CBG) is a “waste” that is produced in significant quantities by every biodiesel refinery, yet the market price for this material is very low due to an international glut. In the volatile, highly competitive biodiesel industry, the race is on to develop innovative, marketable outlets for this material in order to improve the profitability of renewable fuels production. The Dickinson College Biodiesel Project will research two specific outlets in this proof of concept study: use of CBG as a feedstock for anaerobic biogas digesters for waste-to-energy conversion and production of industrial liquid soap from CBG.

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development—2008 Seed/Assistance Funding for Research or Commercial Partnering Activities Program. $2,000. Jim Hoefler, Political Science and Policy Studies. “Automobile battery-saving bypass circuit.” Automobile headlamps can remain on after the ignition is turned off in most American cars. Thus, when the driver leaves the lights on by mistake, a dead battery is the all-too-often result. The purpose of this project is to perfect a product that will alter the electronic circuitry in the typical car so that power to the headlamps will be interrupted when the ignition switch is turned off. This grant funding will assist with the marketing study to determine the potential market and the exploration of ways to bring this product to that market.

Folger Shakespeare Library—Short-term Fellowship. $2,500. Carol Ann Johnston, English. “Heavenly Perspective”: Thomas Traherne and Seventeenth-Century Visual Traditions.” This funding will be used to study Folger Library’s manuscript of Thomas Traherne’s unfinished epic poem, “The Ceremonial Law” (Folger Shakespeare Library MS. V. a. 70). My book manuscript is about the poet Thomas Traherne (1637-1674) and has been solicited by Ashgate Press. This book reexamines Traherne’s work by placing it within the politicized visual culture of the English Civil War and the Restoration. Central to the project are three interlinked topics: the theories of linear perspective and their elaboration in seventeenth-century England; Traherne’s place in the shifting political and religious terrain in the late Protectorate and early Restoration; and the location of Traherne’s manuscripts within seventeenth-century manuscript and print culture.

Woods Hole Marine Biological Lab, The Laura and Arthur Colwin Endowed Summer Research Fellowship Fund. $9400. (John Henson, Biology). This endowed fund provides support for independent investigators conducting research in the fields of cell and developmental biology during the summer months at the MBL.

LiCor Biosciences Corporation, LICor Environmental Education Fund (LEEF II). $29,500. (Tom Arnold, Biology). “Acquisition of a 6400 XTR photosynthesis system” This equipment will allow us to establish a photosynthesis laboratory suite to support some 103 students a year enrolled in seven different courses and field research programs within the Departments of Biology and Environmental Studies, and the Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Dickinson College.

Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grants Program (PCMNCG). $10,000. Amy Witter (Chemistry). This grant provides partial funding for the purchase of a new high—performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC-F). This equipment will be used to broaden student learning in chemistry, while enhancing the experiences of students from biochemistry and molecular biology, environmental science, geology, neuroscience, and biology.

American Library Association (ALA) – Carnegie-Whitney Award. $5,000. (Yunshan Ye/Library) “Becoming a Proficient Researcher on East Asia.” This award will provide funding for a project to create a new and practical resource that will enhance undergraduate teaching and learning on East Asia. It will serve two purposes: 1) as a reference resource that is specially designed to introduce core East Asian Studies research resources to beginning researchers (primarily undergraduate students). Currently, the reference works published to date are geared toward advanced researchers, and thus unhelpful for those who are new to the field; and 2) as a teaching resource that is aligned with nationally recognized research education standards (such as the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education) and teaches beginning researchers essential skills for effective research on East Asia.

National Science Foundation/Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI). $145,261. (David Jackson, Physics & Astronomy). “Integrating Photon Quantum Mechanics Experiments into the Undergraduate Physics Curriculum” This project is designed to use light as a unifying theme in our upper division physics courses. We plan on adding a series of activities designed to investigate the nature of light in a wide variety of circumstances. Among the activities we plan to develop are (a) The wave nature of light: interference and holography; (b) Diffraction and Fourier optics; (c) The quantum nature of light: photons exist; (d) Wave-particle duality: the photon interferes with itself; (e) Photon interference depends on what you know: Delayed choice experiments; (f) Local hidden variable theories are incompatible with quantum mechanics: Bell's theorem. These experimental activities will be incorporated into a number of different courses for our majors in an attempt to synthesize many seeming disparate branches of physics. The courses we plan on integrating these activities into are: Vibrations, Waves, and Optics (Phys. 211), Introduction to Relativistic and Quantum Physics (Phys. 212), Introduction to Theoretical Physics (Phys. 282), Electromagnetism (Phys. 312), and Quantum Mechanics (Phys. 431).

National Science Foundation, $144,000. Kirsten Guss (Biology). “Transcriptional control of neuronal differentiation in Drosophila.” Collaborative (subcontract) research project with Washington University School of Medicine. The ability of animals to execute specific behaviors results from the reproducible organization of thousands of cells in the nervous system (neurons) into a logically ordered and largely invariant array of cellular connections. Recent studies indicate that specific combinations of transcription factors in different neurons play instrumental roles in determining the distinctive connectivity of these cells. However, even in the relatively well-characterized fruit fly CNS, we do not know the projection patterns or physiology of most neurons. We propose to identify molecular markers that highlight the axonal trajectories (Aim I) and physiological differentiation (Aim II) of neurons. We will then correlate these markers with the expression of specific transcriptional regulators that govern neuronal differentiation. In Aim III, we will investigate the logic through which individual transcription factors, as well as combinations of transcription factors, direct the differentiation of specific neurons. We expect this research to reveal basic insights into the genetic and molecular basis of neuronal differentiation. Significantly, we integrate this work with the biology curriculum of Dickinson College (Aim IV), providing over 90 research opportunities for undergraduates.

American Physical Society – International Travel Grant Award Program. $2,000. (Lars English/Physics) This grant provides funds to begin an international research collaboration between Lars English in the Department of Physics and several members of the physics department at the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon. Specifically, the grant will provide travel funds to bring Dr. Alidou Mohamadou of the University of Yaounde to Dickinson for one month in the summer of 2008, including roundtrip airfare and ground transportation in the U.S. The visit will advance the research efforts of both individuals, and it will also strengthen the international partnership between Dickinson and the University of Yaounde I in an area that so far has not been emphasized—the physical sciences.

National Science Foundation, $249,856. Priscilla Laws (Physics)"The Impact of LivePhoto Physics Materials and Workshops.” This is a collaborative research proposal submitted by the Rochester Institute of Technology, Dickinson College and the University of Maryland College Park. As a follow up to the NSF supported LivePhoto Physics Project, members of the staff will expand the LivePhoto Physics team and undertake a four-year collaborative research project to organize a national professional development program, conduct research on student learning and attitudes, and evaluate the overall project impact.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) We the People Initiative / Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshops for School Teachers program, $150,000. (Matthew Pinsker, History) "Landmarks of the Underground Railroad: From Christiana to Harpers Ferry." Two week-long workshops will challenge the way 100 K-12 teachers have been presenting this elusive subject. Site visits integrated with documentary evidence will push participants to broaden their understanding of what did - and did not - constitute an Underground Railroad escape. Participants will discover that fugitives and the northerners who protected them were often as likely to fight as flee when confronted by slave catchers in the 1850s. Study of two nearby historic sites: Christiana PA, and Harpers Ferry WV will provide new insights into the aggressive operations of the Railroad and help frame the story of the coming of the Civil War. By the end of the workshop teachers will draft lesson plans that incorporate both episodes and offer a fresh approach to the study of the Underground Railroad. See the summer 2007 workshop website: http://www2.dickinson.edu/departments/hist/NEHworkshops/index.htm

Institutional Awards

Sustainable Energy Fund of Central Eastern Pennsylvania. $7,650. (Matt Steiman, Dickinson College Farm and Biodiesel Project) Dickinson College was chosen to be the host site for the 2008 Solar Scholars™ Summer Conference (July 27-August 1).

U.S Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages Program (UISFL) Title VI-A. $179,814. (David Commins, History; Ed Webb Political Science; International Studies). “Introducing a Middle East Studies Major and Arabic Instruction at Dickinson College.” This project will support a new faculty position in Arabic linguistics; reassigned time for curriculum development in Middle Eastern Studies (MES) major; and development of study abroad sites for advanced Arabic language instruction. The entire project will cost some $511,198: $179,814 (35%) will be financed with Federal Funds; $331,384 (65%) will be supported by Dickinson funds and cost-sharing.

Pennsylvania Department of Education/Office of Commonwealth Libraries – Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) Grant Program. $24,833. (Jim Gerencser/Archives & Special Collections) This grant provides funds to support a project of the Archives & Special Collections Department of the Waidner-Spahr Library to digitize select letters from the Eli Slifer papers. This manuscript collection consists of letters sent to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office during the Civil War years when Eli Slifer was serving as Secretary of the Commonwealth, as well as several books that provide context for the letters. This digitization project will add 3,500 pages of printed text and 800 pages of handwritten manuscript text to the Their Own Words website, a site established in 2003 to digitize 22,000 pages of printed and handwritten text (made possible by a 2002 LSTA grant). These materials offer an interesting firsthand look at the social, political, and military landscape of Pennsylvania during the Civil War years. This project will support the LSTA Five-Year Plan to make original resources more accessible to Pennsylvania’s citizens through digitization. It also will support the revised Academic Standards for History developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 2002.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. $200,000. This grant will support the Keystone Phase of the new science complex. In recognition of this contribution, the introductory biology teaching laboratory on the second floor of James Hall will be named the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Teaching Laboratory.

Pennsylvania Campus Compact: 2008-2009 Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) Project. (Shalom Staub/Academic Affairs and Mira Hewlett/Religious Life & Community Service) This award provides continuation of Dickinson’s ongoing VISTA project for 2008-2009. In this third and final year of a three-year grant cycle, the VISTA will focus on addressing the following PACC-VISTA priority: Engaging Students in Service. The VISTA will work with: 1) community partners to compile a database of needs and priorities as they relate to serving families and children living in poverty; 2) campus faculty, staff, administrators and students to coordinate campus resources identified with community needs; and 3) campus leaders to encourage systemization of service projects with the community.

The Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, $5,000. The Bonner Leader Program Enrichment Grant will support the College's Bonner Leader Program by providing funding for an orientation program, a service trip, a senior Bonner intern, and costs associated with travel to the service trip.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation – Liberal Arts Colleges Program. $1,400,000. (Neil Weissman/Academic Affairs) “Interdisciplinary Curricular Initiative on the Environment” This grant will support a major initiative in study of the environment at Dickinson College. The initiative, charted by a Mellon-funded planning group, will combine existing institutional strengths with new programming to make study of the environment a defining characteristic of a Dickinson education. Specifically, the Mellon Foundation has provided a three-year grant in project and endowment seed funding for 1) a faculty appointment to direct our new Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, 2) a new faculty position in the field of environmental health, and 3) a post-doctoral program in geographic information systems (GIS). These enhancements, all identified as key priorities by our planning group, will strengthen our existing majors in Environmental Studies and Environmental Science, connect their work to that of other existing disciplines and interdisciplinary programs, and make possible the introduction of new curriculum and research/field study opportunities for our students. Dickinson will match requested endowment funds and continue all three elements of our proposal on a permanent basis at the end of the grant period.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) - Composting Infrastructure Development Grant. $93,000. (Jenn Halpin/Dickinson College Farm) This grant provides funding to help take the Dickinson College composting program to new levels of volume and efficiency with the purchase of equipment to collect, transport, and recycle significantly more organic waste and divert it from landfills. We anticipate that Dickinson will be able to increase the volume of organic material being composted annually from 56,000 pounds per year to 91,000 pounds by the end of the first year following the receipt of funds. To accomplish this goal, we will purchase and install a commercial-grade food pulper/water extractor in the dish room of our dining hall that will enable us to collect significantly more organic material for the compost program at the college’s farm. We will also use grant funds to purchase a used tractor, a used manure spreader, and a used transport pick-up truck. This project will demonstrate and promote the economic and environmental benefits that arise from organics recycling for student groups and community members. Outreach activities will include a free public field day each year for regional farmers, facilities managers, and institutional food service personnel, as well as educational lessons delivered to visiting student groups from local K-12 schools.

Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability. $5,000. (Keith Martin/Dining Services; Jenn Halpin/Dickinson Farm; Stephanie Hair/Facilities Management) Dickinson’s Department of Dining Services has received the Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability (HCFS) Award in recognition of its sustainability efforts, which include reduction of energy/water use, reduction of wastewater/solid waste, and “farm-to-fork” efforts in conjunction with the Dickinson College Farm. The department will receive $5,000 cash to invest in additional sustainability measures, and will be invited to become a Fellow of the HCFS and help select future operations for grant recognition.

Max Kade Foundation, Inc. $9,500. (Gisela Roethke/German) “German Writer-in-Residence.” This award will support a Max Kade German Writer-in-Residence at Dickinson College. The Department of German has invited Dr. Lilian Faschinger to campus for a three month residency during the spring semester of 2008. Dr. Faschinger is an accomplished Austrian author and a translator from English into German. This will be her second residency at Dickinson College; her first was in 1998. The spring semester of 2008 is a particularly appropriate time to invite Faschinger back to Dickinson. Professor Gisela Roethke will be teaching a senior seminar on late 20th century major German language women authors in which students will be reading some of her works. In addition, Professor Roethke anticipates that the residency may help her discover new approaches to Faschinger’s works for her own scholarship through close association with the author during her stay. Dr. Faschinger will give at least one public lecture at Dickinson, for which we will advertise widely on campus and among area colleges in Pennsylvania. It is also likely that she will undertake a reading tour on the east coast during her proposed visit.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. $196,000. (John Shaddock, Shared Services Corporation). Funds will support SSC’s efforts to a) control health insurance costs, 2) limit the impact of impending electricity rate increases, and 3) expand insurance savings programs.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, $65,000. (Neil Weissman on behalf of CPC Provosts). “Supporting the Faculty Career Cycle”. This collaborative grant with Central Pennsylvania Consortium colleges (Gettysburg and F&M) will allow the consortium to continue our work with newly tenured faculty and to extend that work to other senior faculty. The Foundation will support consortium programming for new department chairs.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, $135,000. (Neil Weissman on behalf of CPC Provosts). “Supporting the Faculty Career Cycle”. This collaborative grant with Central Pennsylvania Consortium colleges (Gettysburg and F&M) will allow the consortium to continue our work with newly tenured faculty and to extend that work to other senior faculty. The Foundation will support - through a three-year 1:1 challenge grant - the creation at each member institution of an endowed Provost’s Discretionary Fund for the Faculty Career Cycle to support professional development activities for faculty.

Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). $3,000. (Joyce Bylander/Office of the President) This grant will enable Dickinson to continue work related to our involvement as one of the institutions participating in the “Shared Futures: General Education for Global Learning” project. This project encourages institutions to make science requirements a more central part of their global general education curricula; use global learning categories and courses to assess key liberal education outcomes; and use general education in science to help students understand the connections between their global learning and ethical citizenship. This grant will be used to support campus-based curriculum development activities and strategies of our own choosing and design, focused on general education science courses with significant global learning outcomes.

National Endowment for the Humanities – Summer Seminar. $112,317. (Nancy Mellerski & Michael Kline, French & Italian) “Citizenship and Culture: French Identity in Crisis.” Dickinson will invite 15 secondary school teachers of French to campus for a four-week summer seminar (June 29 through July 25, 2008) for a program under the co-direction of Nancy Mellerski and Michael Kline. This seminar will explore the construction of Republican identity in France and study challenges to the ideal, foundational French Republic since the Revolution of 1789 through its representations in art, theatre, essay and film. With this historical perspective, participants will examine regional identities and languages from the viewpoint of language policy and the formation of the state, through autobiographical writings and essays and in debates on the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages. They will then study how decolonization has brought new pressures on Republican universalism as the Muslim community asserts its cultural identity. The Headscarf Affair, the most important drama in contemporary France, in which the wearing of religious clothing and symbols in school confronts the Republican sacrament of secularism, will constitute our second case study. Finally, participants will devote time to studying the fracture sociale recently apparent in the upheavels in the French suburbs.

NITLE (National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education). $25,400. (Todd Bryant and Raphael Alvarado, LIS) “Games and Simulations for Situated Learning the Liberal Arts Classroom”. Support from NITLE’s Instruction Innovation Fund (IIF) will support a conference to address the concept of situated learning, using games and simulations as the vehicle for extending this new pedagogy. We will introduce the learning potential of games and simulations in general, provide demonstrations of successful uses of games in the classroom, including hands-on training for the participants. Participants will experience the games and simulations from the perspective of the instructor as well as the learner. Finally, we will conclude with participants forming groups based on shared ideas for future pedagogical uses of the technology, including gaming across campuses as part of clubs or collaborative classes.

Student  Awards

Katherine Wasserman Davis Foundation Projects for Peace Program, $10,000. (Caroline Salamack, ’08) “Progression towards Profession”. This project involves a collaboration with the Washington DC non-profit organization, A Wider Circle, which focuses on a holistic approach to combating poverty. The project intends to reach out to low-income, unemployed, single mothers to increase their long-term access to resources by increasing their job eligibility. A series of comprehensive workshops will address constructing resumes, reviewing interview tips, the ethics of smart shopping (specifically for food and professional clothing) and presentations by professionals on health care and banking. Workshop participants will also be paired with individual mentoring associates throughout the workshop process.