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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island receives more than $500,000 from the Champlin Foundations

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 31, 2005 -- The Champlin Foundations, one of the oldest philanthropic organizations in Rhode Island, has awarded the University of Rhode Island five grants totaling $508,327.

The grants are funding new tools that will enable students to visualize physical and biological processes at work in Narragansett Bay, virtually accompany faculty on research endeavors around the globe, and allow engineering and business students to design and plan with an entrepreneurial flair.

In addition, one grant will fund the development of an entirely new technology-rich model classroom, and another will expand opportunities for art and computer science students to work in three dimensions.

"These projects generously funded by The Champlin Foundations allow our faculty to really 'push the envelope' in teaching styles and expand opportunities for our students. As a result our students are graduating well-prepared for their futures in everything from the arts to oceanography," said the University's associate vice president of Development Paul Witham. "We are very grateful to The Champlin Foundations' for their support."

The Champlin Foundations' generosity towards URI spans more than three decades. In 1970, The Foundations made their first donation to the University in the form of an annual scholarship grant for the College of Pharmacy. Their next gift was in 1982 and since then The Foundations have awarded grants to URI every year, consistently placing the University as one of the top five organizations to receive funding for some of the latest technology, materials and other research and teaching tools.

The following grants have been awarded this year:

Digital Production Resource Center: With a $101,350 grant from the Champlin Foundations, a new center at the University will virtually expand the confines of the classroom, create digital records of innovative teaching tools and ease the development of electronic portfolios for students in diverse fields.

The Digital Production Resource Center (DPRC) will provide faculty and their student assistants with access to the equipment needed to produce and deliver a wide range of multimedia instructional materials for use in the classroom and on the Internet.

The center will include both a permanent lab at the Instructional Technology Center in the Chafee Social Science Center on the Kingston campus and mobile units. These units will provide users with digital video cameras and all of the tools needed to produce broadcast-quality audio/video and 3D animation of their work.

Roy Bergstrom of Charlestown, a senior information technologist proposed the project with Oceanography Professor Steve Carey of Saunderstown, Professor Thomas Husband of Wickford from the College of the Environment and Life Sciences and Trent Batson of North Kingstown, director of Information and Instructional Technology Services. (Shown here l-r are: Bergstrom, Political Science Professor Gerry Tyler and two Student Technical Assistants, Diana Ventura and Sandra Reichman.)

Advanced 3D Graphics Lab: Thanks to an initial Champlin Foundations' grant awarded in 1999, some computer science, engineering and art students already have been seeing and creating things in 3D. Now a new $100,000 grant will advance the lab to a new dimension.

The refreshed 3D Lab will allow the University to offer new courses and programs of study to more undergraduate and graduate students. More seats and upgraded systems will expand its use as a teaching facility for both computer science and art students, but also as a research site for many projects.

The lab and a partnership with iMedia of Providence will play an important role in the education of new professionals who will have hands-on experience with such things as 3D modeling, animation and interactivity for scientific visualization; design for engineering; games development; 3D graphics for use on the Internet; and 3D imaging for printing.

Grant recipients are: Jean-Yves Hervé of Kingston and James Kowalski of Narragansett from the Department of Computer Science and Statistics, Ron Hutt of Kingston and Wendy Roworth of Providence from the Department of Art, and Miguel Encarnação of iMedia, a non-profit, certificate-granting institution based in Providence.

Engineering Design and Innovation Studio: With support from this new $98,500 grant, engineering and business students will graduate not only knowing how to design a new product, but also the steps needed to take it to market.

The new grant will support the Engineering Design and Innovation Studio that will be used for the multi-disciplinary engineering-business curricula that teams students from each discipline and develops the skills needed in each of their areas to develop and commercialize new innovations.

The studio includes workstation clusters for prototyping mechanical, electrical and computer controller devices to allow hands-on experience for both the business and engineering students. As many as 550 students will be eligible to participate in the design and innovation program.

Grant recipients are: College of Engineering Dean Bahram Nassersharif and Assistant Professor Valerie Maier-Speredelozzi both of West Kingston and College of Business Assistant Professor Mary Hamilton of East Greenwich.

The Master Classroom: A model learning environment: The College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS) has been awarded $101,477 to fund an entirely new type of classroom. By the Fall 2006, an acoustically sound, light-tight and technologically advanced Master Classroom will support the teaching, learning, and research activities of CELS students at all levels.

To be located in Woodward Hall, the classroom will include such things as high definition flat screen plasma monitors that will be used for receiving and displaying video in various formats, an interactive whiteboard and SMARTBoard overlay, computer projectors, laptop computers and related computer, sound, and display equipment.

CELS co-recipients of this grant are: Richard Rhodes III of Wakefield, associate dean; Deborah Grossman-Garber of Kingston, undergraduate programs director, and Glenn Schroder, director of communications. (Shown here l-r, Schroder, Rhodes, and Grossman-Garber.)

Underwater acoustic sensor array: Thanks to a $107,000 Champlin Foundations grant, scientists and students at URI will have a new cutting-edge tool to look beneath the top layer of the waters of Narragansett Bay and to enhance teaching and learning in ocean acoustics, physical oceanography and biological oceanography.

Called the BEAMER, the remote sensor array will continuously monitor the physical and biological conditions of the Bay's West Passage, on the coast of the Narragansett Bay Campus. Through the use of the BEAMER, students will learn hands-on about the collection, processing and interpretation of such oceanographic information.

Grant recipients are: Oceanography Professors Thomas Rossby of Saunderstown and Tetsu Hara of Providence, Ocean Engineering Professors James Miller of Kingston, Stephen Grilli of Narragansett, and Robert Tyce of Coventry, and Fisheries Professor Conrad Reckseik of Saunderstown.