Knox Receives Grant for New Campus Research Center

$228,750 from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

November 27, 2007

Knox College has received a multi-year grant for a new campus center that will help Knox students find opportunities and funding sources for research and advanced projects. The three-year, $228,750 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will support Knox's new Center for Research and Advanced Studies.

The Center will coordinate Knox's numerous existing programs that support advanced work in the natural and social sciences, humanities, and creative and performing arts.

"Right now, Knox is awarding close to a quarter-million dollars annually to our students, who are conducting some 350 independent study and research projects a year in all disciplines," said Lawrence B. Breitborde, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. "Having a single campus center will make it easier for students to find opportunities for undergraduate and post-graduate research, and to line up funding sources for their work."

The Center also will promote expanded use of research in classroom experiences, prepare first-year and second-year students for in-depth work during their junior and senior years, and create a new program of community-based research initiatives.

"The very first recorded example of independent research by Knox students was a community-based project -- a study of municipal sanitation in Galesburg in the 1920s," Breitborde said. "More than 70 years later, it's still satisfying to read a student-faculty research collaboration that shows such meticulous attention to detail and deep concern for the health of our community."

The 1923 research study was conducted by Knox students in a class in public health, who gathered data on sanitation throughout Galesburg. An article about the project, published by the Illinois Academy of Science, was co-authored by two of the students -- Ella Devenney, who subsequently worked as a medical technician, and George W. Hunter, who later wrote the U.S. Army's "Manual of Tropical Medicine."

In 2007-08, the first year of the grant, Knox will conduct a study of existing student research programs, select a director and create facilities for the Center.

In 2008-09, the College will initiate programs for both faculty and students. Faculty programs will promote integrating research into the curriculum. Programs for students will cover developing skills required for significant research.

In 2009-10, the College will implement community-based partnerships for Knox students to engage in research projects that address community issues at local and regional levels.

Other sources of support for student research at Knox include Ford Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowships, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowships, AAAS/Merck Research Fellowships, the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, Caterpillar International Fellowships, and the Richter Memorial Scholarship Program.

More than 85 percent of all Knox students complete an independent research or creative project by the time they graduate. The College Honors Program at Knox has been rated as a national model for undergraduate research by the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education. Knox College is in the top 3 percent nationally among colleges and universities, in the proportion of its graduates who complete Ph.D.s, which are research-intensive graduate degrees.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 46 states and 50 nations. Knox's 'Old Main' is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Chemistry Lab
Above, Linda Kelahan, a behavioral neuroscience major Lake Forest, Illinois, received both Richter and Ford grants for her research in psychology; below, Brian Conley, a theatre major from Las Vegas, New Mexico, shown acting in "Round Dance," received College Honors for his advanced work in playwriting, "Passages at Random."
Theatre