SMC Foundation Awards Over $90,000 in Grants to College Faculty

September 4, 2015

Grants for President's Circle Award for Innovation and Progress, Chair of Excellence, and Margin of Excellence


The Santa Monica College Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded a total of over $90,000 in two “President’s Circle Awards for Innovation and Progress”, one “Chair of Excellence” grant, and thirteen “Margin of Excellence” mini-grants to Santa Monica College professors.

“These awards are a significant gauge of the incredible – and wide – learning experience that Santa Monica College professors provide to our diverse student body,” said Lizzy Moore, Interim Dean of the SMC Foundation and Institutional Advancement. 

The two winners of the SMC Foundation’s “President’s Circle Award for Innovation and Progress” were:

• The Forum for Cultural Diversity in the Sciences: A group of professors in SMC’s Physical Sciences and Life 
Sciences departments, and the College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative partnered with the student support programs Adelante and Black Collegians to receive a $15,000 award to build cultural awareness among science faculty. They will create forums where underrepresented minority students can interact closely with science faculty, with the aim of increasing engagement, bridging any existing cultural divides and to encourage more underrepresented students to study and choose careers in the sciences.

• The Design Technology Avid Learning Partner Program: SMC’s design technology department received $18,000 to train professors to become certified Avid and ProTools instructors and qualify SMC as an “Avid Learning Partner (ALP).” Students will be able to take the SMC classes on the industry-standard digital-editing software Avid and the sound-editing software ProTools. As students of an ALP, they will then qualifiy to take the Avid certification exam. 

The SMC Foundation also named Physical Sciences professor Dr. James Murphy as the winner of the Northrup Grumman and Marvin Elkin Chair of Excellence Award in Physical Sciences. Dr. Murphy will use the $15,000 award over a period of three years to lead independent studies and other extra-curricular projects where SMC students will build – and characterize – hydrogen fuel cells, which have been used in the space program and also in energy-efficient automobiles. 

“These skills and the scientific knowledge our students gain will prove invaluable in their careers, and increase the versatility of the science programs at Santa Monica College,” Dr. Murphy wrote in his proposal.

The SMC Foundation also awarded 13 Margin of Excellence mini-grants, in varying amounts totalling $43,513. The winners – from SMC’s Art, Business, Dance, Disabled Students Center, Earth Sciences, History, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences,and Math departments, as well as its library and Career Technical Education division – will use their grants to purchase specialized equipment like screen casting software and smart pens. It will also fund special instructional projects such as a multi-year study on the effect of global warming and a light pollution research project.

For more information on faculty grants and other opportunities to support Santa Monica College faculty, programs and students, visit http://santamonicacollegefoundation.org/
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