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Santa Monica College Foundation Awards Faculty Grants

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By Lookout Staff

September 4, 2015 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) professors received a total of more than $90,000 in grants from the Santa Monica College Foundation, SMC officials announced Thursday.

The organization awarded two “President’s Circle Awards for Innovation and Progress,” a “Chair of Excellence” grant and 13 “Margin of Excellence” mini-grants, said SMC Spokeswoman Grace Smith.

“These awards are a significant gauge of the incredible – and wide – learning experience that Santa Monica College professors provide to our diverse student body,” said Lizzy Moore, Interim Dean of the SMC Foundation and Institutional Advancement.

The largest grant -- for $18,000 -- will be used to train professors in the college’s design technology department to become certified Avid and ProTools instructors and qualify SMC as an “Avid Learning Partner (ALP).”

“Students will be able to take the SMC classes on the industry-standard digital-editing software Avid and the sound-editing software ProTools,” College officials said. “As students of an ALP, they will then qualify to take the Avid certification exam.”

 The other President’s Circle Award – for $15,000 – will be used to build cultural awareness among science faculty, officials said.

The grant was the result of a partnership between a group of professors in SMC’s Physical Sciences and Life Sciences departments and the College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative and the student support programs Adelante and Black Collegians.

“They will create forums where underrepresented minority students can interact closely with science faculty, with the aim of increasing engagement, bridging any existing cultural divides and to encourage more underrepresented students to study and choose careers in the sciences,” college officials said.

A $15,000 grants was also awarded to Physical Sciences professor Dr. James Murphy, who was the winner of the Northrup Grumman and Marvin Elkin Chair of Excellence Award in Physical Sciences.

“Dr. Murphy will use the $15,000 award over a period of three years to lead independent studies and other extra-curricular projects where SMC students will build – and characterize – hydrogen fuel cells, which have been used in the space program and also in energy-efficient automobiles,” College officials said.

In his proposal, Dr. Murphy wrote, “These skills and the scientific knowledge our students gain will prove invaluable in their careers, and increase the versatility of the science programs at Santa Monica College,”

The SMC Foundation also awarded 13 Margin of Excellence mini-grants, in varying amounts totaling $43,513 to SMC’s Art, Business, Dance, Disabled Students Center, Earth Sciences, History, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Math departments, as well as its library and Career Technical Education division.

The money will be used to purchase “specialized equipment,” including screen casting software and smart pens, officials said. “It will also fund special instructional projects such as a multi-year study on the effect of global warming and a light pollution research project.”

For more information on faculty grants and other opportunities to support Santa Monica College faculty, programs and students, visit http://santamonicacollegefoundation.org/


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