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First Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery Award recipients announced

Ohio University's new Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery recently made its first awards, totaling $100,000, to two innovative programs designed to advance undergraduate learning, research and graduate education.

Projects selected for the inaugural awards will have University-wide impact and align with best practices documented in national research.

Submission deadline for the 2012-13 funding cycle is Nov. 15, 2012.

2012-13 Konneker Fund Recipients

Making Space for Creative Collaboration
Candace Stewart, coordinator of the Student Writing Center, and her project team will receive $68,500 from the Konneker Fund over the next two years for their project "Making Space for Creative Collaboration: The Graduate Writing and Research Center." The project also will receive $10,000 in support from University College.

Funding will make possible the establishment of the Graduate Writing and Research Center (GWRC), which will provide free writing and research support to graduate students as well as to undergraduates engaged in research.

The collaborative project team includes Stewart; Kelly Broughton, assistant dean for research and education services in Alden Library; Cynthia King, associate dean of University College and executive director of the Academic Advancement Center; and Talinn Phillips, assistant professor of English.

"We are delighted, of course, to have received the award," said Stewart, who refers to the project as Phillips' "brainchild."

The GWRC already has hired a statistics tutor and been given space on the third floor of Alden Library around the corner from the Faculty Commons (Room 309). Lydia McDermott, assistant coordinator of the Student Writing Center, will oversee day-to-day operations in the GWRC. Lorraine Wochna, instruction coordinator and reference librarian, will be the liaison between the GWRC and the subject librarians.

"The subject librarians are key for helping graduate students and advanced undergraduate students with research," said Stewart. "Our goals for this semester are to have all the graduate disciplinary-based (engineering, education, communications) tutors hired and trained, to buy laptops, to make decisions regarding procedures, and to get the word out."

During the 2010-11 academic year, 255 graduate students sought assistance at the Student Writing Center. These students, as well as undergraduate researchers, will now be able to receive assistance from writing tutors in specialized fields and from subject librarians whose focus is research assistance.

The GWRC is planning its grand opening for the beginning of spring semester in January.

Creating a Framework for Feasibility
Todd Myers, associate professor and assistant chair in the Department of Engineering Technology and Management in the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, will receive $31,500 from the Konneker Fund to develop and implement a "New Two Year Completion Undergraduate Online Degree Program Bachelor of Science in Technical Operations Management (BSTOM)."

"This completion degree will complement almost any associate technology degree and provide opportunities for graduates of the program to advance in their chosen fields," said Myers. "The program will be targeted to professionals who seek to complete their bachelor's degree while working."

 The BSTOM program will accept students who have completed a technical associate's degree with a requisite GPA and /or work experience and successful completion of a pre-major set of courses.

"The 'two-plus-two' online program leads to a (bachelor's degree), and the plan is to also offer an appropriate minor to complement this degree," said Myers. "The second objective is to create a standardized framework for new online program feasibility and start-up planning with eLearning Ohio. The framework will be developed concurrently… and will be utilized to investigate new program feasibility, market potential, budget estimation, course offering mapping, timeline creation, and planning checklists."

According to the review committee "Ohio University plans to expand its portfolio of online degree programs. Having a feasibility assessment framework in place will contribute materially to those efforts."

Myers' project partners are Linda Lockhart, manager of communications for regional campuses and outreach, and Carissa Anderson, director of articulation services for university outreach.

"eLearning OHIO is a partner in the process of the framework creation, program startup, and continued support," said Myers. "They have been very supportive."

 The potential Ohio market is large. The Ohio Board of Regents reports that the state has more than 475 applicable associate degrees programs in technology, and in 2011 more than 300,000 students were enrolled in two-year colleges.

The program is on target to admit its first cohort of students for fall semester 2014.

About the Konneker Fund
The Ohio University Foundation created the Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery at the request of alumnus Wilfred Konneker, who made a gift of shares of the University biotechnology spinoff company Diagnostic Hybrids. In addition to supporting the Cutler Scholars Program and the Kennedy Museum of Art, funds generated by the shares were used to create a quasi-endowment fund dedicated to supporting initiatives designed to enhance the University's academic mission and to achieve progress on the University's Four Fundamentals:

  • Inspired teaching and research dedicated to students' academic success and focused on the connection between student learning and the advancement of knowledge and creative activity.

  • Innovative academic programs that draw on the best traditions and practice in the liberal arts, professional and interdisciplinary education.

  • Exemplary student support services committed to helping students fulfill their academic promise.

  • Integrated co-curricular activities that foster a diverse environment of respect and inclusiveness and facilitate students' development as citizens and leaders.

Applicants may request up to $50,000 for two years or $100,000 overall. Faculty and staff are eligible to submit proposals, and collaborative proposals are strongly encouraged.

An internal committee – drawn from the University's academic leadership and chaired by the executive vice president and provost – will review the proposals. The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees will make funding decisions during its July meeting.

For additional information about the Konneker Fund, and other internal funding opportunities, please visit www.ohio.edu/research/funding.cfm.