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Wooster recieves $250,000 grant for I.S. research

With the Senior Independent Study looming on the horizon, the Class of 2011 will be pleased to learn that Wooster has just recently received a $250,000 grant. Announced on Tuesday, Sept. 14, a grant from the McGregor Fund has the goal of furthering and refining the way in which I.S. research is conducted here at the College through the establishment of an undergraduate research center. The aim of the grant, according to the Office of Public Relations, is to help bolster Wooster’s senior capstone experience by allowing students to work in closer association with various faculty and staff as well as outside experts in order to develop more innovative research methods in their work.

Based out of Detroit, Mich., the McGregor Fund is a private foundation whose goal is “to relieve the misfortunes and promote the well-being of mankind.” As stated on the Fund’s† Web site, http://www.mcgregorfund.org/, it seeks to “encourage excellence among private liberal arts institutions” and prioritizes efforts that will enhance “the aspects of private liberal arts institutions that distinguish them from other colleges and universities.” In essence, the College’s Senior I.S. program exemplifies these goals, and the creation of this center will help further the depth and scope of research that students will be able to complete as part of their I.S. Recently, private liberal arts institutions like Wooster, Madonna University (Lavonia, Mich.) and others in the states of Ohio and Michigan have benefitted from the Fund’s generosity.

How this grant will directly impact the research process for seniors completing their I.S. remains to be seen, but some of the goals of this grant include the creation of an electronic database containing abstracts of their papers which will allow students and others to access their work more readily. Further, students will be encouraged to document the methodologies and technologies used in their research in order to have a future record for other students pursuing similar research, according to the Office of Public Relations. One example of how this will permit students to conduct more pointed research is that “[students] researching the Middle East conflict might conduct Skype interviews with residents of the Gaza Strip and the nearby Israeli town of Sderot to document their experiences”, as stated by the Office of Public Relations in their news release. Finally, the center will also focus on educating students using their services on how to properly conduct research ethically and in a responsible manner.

The College’s Provost, Carolyn Newton, stated “[with] this support from the McGregor Fund, students will be able to increase the sophistication of their research methods and use the latest technology to communicate their results.” It will also allow students to produce more dynamic finished product which will make use of all the available technologies in the center. Even though the undergraduate research center is still in the planning stages, the College should expect to see it come to fruition sometime in the very near future as the members of the senior class are already well on their way to researching and drafting their respective Independent Studies.

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