Linfield awarded $250,000 grant from Keck Foundation

Pioneer HallA $250,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation will boost summer collaborative research and move findings directly into Linfield College classrooms.

The Linfield Center for the Northwest (LCN) is expanding its campus-wide, summer collaborative research initiative through the Keck Community-Engaged Research-to-Classroom Program funded by a three-year grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. LCN research projects address issues of importance in the Pacific Northwest and allow students to apply academic theory through hands-on research. The LCN program is unique in that faculty revise courses based on summer research projects. After summer research concludes, the student researchers bring findings to courses taught the following year. This aspect of the program enriches the classroom learning experience for many Linfield undergraduates.

Collaborative research has long been a defining aspect of a Linfield education.

“The Keck Foundation typically supports America’s outstanding education and research projects in its competitive grants program; Linfield’s inclusion in this year’s grant cycle is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Thomas L. Hellie, Linfield president.

The grant will increase student and faculty participation in community-engaged research. Linfield student researchers will learn methodologies and practices through hands-on work in the field. Then, they will serve as classroom peer instructors, working collaboratively with faculty to integrate their findings into specific courses. In addition to incorporating research into the classroom, project results will be disseminated in a variety of ways including research papers, presentations, conferences and the Digital Commons, a digital repository.

Currently, Keck funds support four projects based in the northern Willamette Valley and additional research projects will be added in subsequent years. Projects include:

• Research on photovoltaic electricity production and LEED building energy use at Linfield College, focusing on the new T.J. Day Hall, led by Jennifer Heath, associate professor of physics;

• A documentary on the first 25 years of the International Pinot Noir Celebration, led by Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication;

• Research on the impacts of sponges and sponge-associated bacterial communities on nutrient fluxes in Oregon estuaries, led by Jeremy Weisz, assistant professor of biology;

• Launching “Through the Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City,” a collection of oral histories and digital photographs, culminating in a theatre production at Linfield and Pacific City, led by Brenda DeVore Marshall, professor of theatre and communication arts.

The W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 in Los Angeles, Calif., by William Myron Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Company. One of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations, the W.M. Keck Foundation supports outstanding science, engineering and medical research, and undergraduate education. The foundation also maintains a program within Southern California to support arts and culture, education, and health and community service projects and programs.


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