$256,700 awarded for 11 projects that fit with new Academic Plan

By Kelly Curwin, June 8, 2000

Two projects that involve the creation of Web-based educational tools
and further the inquiry- and problem-based learning objectives of the
University are among 11 McMaster projects that have received funding
this year from a special academic priorities fund.

The University Library will receive support for its digital online
tutorial project, DOT@MAC, a high-quality, online skills tutorial that will enable students in all disciplines to enhance their
information-literacy skills and to do so at their own pace. The Library project is aimed at addressing the increasing emphasis on inquiry-based learning and an increasing tendency for students to access resources remotely. A prototype of the tutorial will be available this fall.

The second project, submitted by John Lavis, Department of Clinical
Epidemiology & Biostatistics, calls for the development of a Web-based
searchable database and a resource library to support students and
faculty associated with the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program, and the development of new and revised curricula for the program. The new
curricula will include the development of a third-year course in population health and a fourth-year course in health-policy analysis.

The two projects received funding from a one-time, $300,000 academic priorities fund announced in February by University
Provost Harvey Weingarten. The fund was created by the Provost's office.

"The Library and Health Sciences Program projects capture the spirit and objectives of the Academic Plan remarkably well. They demonstrate direct support for active student learning, show an integration of research and teaching, use learning technologies creatively and build on the institution's research strengths, says Weingarten.

He lauded the authors of the two projects for having creative ideas and solutions that will bring new technology and technological skills to the classroom and enhance the learning experience for undergraduate students.

A total of 11 projects, totalling $256,700, have been funded.
Twenty-five applications, totalling $824,323, were submitted for the competition. Many of the projects that were funded involve the development of Web-based materials and improvements to space
and laboratories. Projects that were congruent with the principles and
objectives outlined in McMaster's newly developed Academic Plan received support.

Weingarten says the competition represents the first allocation of
funding for projects that are consistent with the University's Academic Plan. "With this process, we are reinforcing our
commitment to the Academic Plan and signalling to the University
community that future project submissions and academic plans, such as
faculty appointments, intersect with the Academic Plan.

At the end of this month or in early July, the provost will announce the results of a separate competition -- a three-year,
$1.75-million continuing academic priorities fund established by the University Budget Committee. Under this fund, Faculty deans submitted applications for base-funding dollars. Weingarten says awards made from this fund will also depend on fit with the Academic Plan.

The adjudication panel for this fund is the provost, Fred A. Hall,
associate vice-president academic, Fred. L. Hall,
dean of graduate studies, and budget committee chair and University Planning Committee member Hank Jacek, political science. Weingarten estimates as much as $500,000 will be awarded this year.

Below is a complete list of applicants who were successful in the
competition for one-time funds.

*School of Art, Drama & Music: Renovation of space to promote
integration of teaching and research

*Materials Science: Renovation of undergraduate laboratories

*Anthropology: Reconfiguraton of archeology labs

*Labour Studies:Development of online inquiry modules for year 1 classes

* University Library: Development of Web-based tutorials to teach information-literacy skills


*Biology: Development of online learning modules for ecology courses

*Science: Development of Web-based material for Level I biology and
chemistry courses

*Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics: Web-based database for third and fourth-year courses in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program

*English: Development of Web-based archive for cultural studies
courses

*Chemical Engineering: Development of undergraduate lab experiments in
biotechnology

*Audio-Visual: Audio-visual and digital equipment for teaching