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Three projects get grants from international fund

University projects designed to strengthen ties with China and the Dominican Republic are among those that have been honored by the Lois B. DeFleur International Innovation Fund.

This is the second year of awards from the fund, which was established in 2007 with the $25,000 2007 Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education that was awarded to President Lois B. DeFleur.

“It’s an opportunity to provide seed money so people can think creatively about something they can do to enhance their research and subsequently enhance their teaching; provide opportunities for students to do things in other countries; or provide for an infrastructure that enhances international learning,” said Katharine Krebs, vice provost for international affairs and director of international programs.

Of 13 applications, three were funded:

• Joyce Ferrario (dean of the Decker School of Nursing), $5,000 to develop a partnership between Decker and the Faculty of Nursing at Universidad Pontifica Maestro Maria in the Dominican Republic.

• Binghamton University Globalistas (BUGS), $5,000 to develop and enhance the University’s global Web presence.

• Julie Wang (librarian in the Asian and Asian American Studies Department), $2,500 to strengthen the University’s partnership with Beijing Normal University Library.

“The main goal of those looking at the (proposals) is for innovative projects to have features that hold promise for long-lasting effect and/or providing a model that others can follow,” Krebs said.

Wang’s funding will be used to initiate visits between librarians of both universities to collaborate on the use of technology, collection planning and materials processing. Possible projects include interlibrary loan and cooperation on processing library collections by using the English and Chinese language expertise of both groups.

Ferrario’s funding will enable Decker faculty to travel to the Dominican Republic to gain an understanding of the country’s health-care delivery system and community health issues. Visits could also identify areas of potential collaboration and help develop the study-abroad program with the Dominican Republic.

“This project is an example of an effort to lay the foundation for a variety of activities,” Krebs said. “That foundation has not been in place. Students and faculty  have traveled to the Dominican Republic on an ad-hoc basis, little by little. This will  provide a foundation to support activities ranging from research to the training of undergraduate nurses.”

The Globalistas, a volunteer group of University faculty, staff and students, wants to develop an interactive Web portal that links campus departments, organizations and individuals with an international focus. The proposal, written by Rachel Coker, director of the Office of Research Advancement, includes a calendar of international events on campus and a database featuring international interests and expertise of faculty, staff and students.

“Their notion was that the information about the opportunities on campus was not out there,” said Krebs, who added that the group’s proposal addressed key questions. “What can be done in a creative and dynamic way in the electronics communications format? What can be done to allow students and faculty to connect with each other and avail themselves of the opportunities?”

Last year’s four inaugural award recipients will continue to play a vital role, Krebs said. The winners have been asked to submit reports on their accomplishments and will serve as models for those looking to submit International Innovative Fund proposals.

“We look to the initial winners as individuals to whom we can refer others who have good ideas that maybe they can learn from,” Krebs said.


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Last Updated: 10/14/08