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Influx of external funding comes to School of Education

More and more money has poured into the School of Education each year for the past several years, a sign of the high quality of research and other work at the school, Dean Karen Wixson says.

In addition to several awards of more than $1 million each from various sources, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded more than $4 million to the school for its part in a Center for Proficiency in Teaching Mathematics and $9.9 million for the school's role in a new Center for Curriculum Materials in Science.

Educational research leads to cutting-edge curricula and instruction that benefit students, teachers and administrators throughout the state and country, Wixson says.

Funding "has been increasing every year for the past few years now," Wixson says. "It's indicative of the reputation and accomplishments of the School of Education faculty. Our research into teaching and learning is used by educators and policy makers in the state of Michigan and around the country to help improve our education system."

Awards in the 2000­01 academic year totaled more than $11 million. In the following year, the total was almost $19 milliona 69.7 percent increase. Both figures include multi-year projects.

For the 2002 calendar year, external sponsored funding totals $34 million, a figure that includes some multi-year projects. Part of the funding is more than $13 million from several sources for the continuing Study of Instructional Improvement project by faculty members David Cohen, Deborah Ball and Brian Rowan; more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education for Anne Gere's Teacher Quality: Recruitment and Retention project; and more than $1 million from the state and federal departments of education for Joanne Carlisle's Evaluation and Technical Assistance for Michigan's "Reading First" Program.

Wixson points out that this year the NSF is funding three major centers on educational research, and the School of Education is receiving support for two of themthe math center, with faculty Ball, Hyman Bass, Ed Silver and Magdalene Lampert; and the science center, with faculty Ron Marx and Joe Krajcik.

"It really says a lot about the quality of work that happens here, that the NSF has given us as much as they have," Wixson says.

The external funding is especially impressive given the size of the School of Education, Wixson says. With 65 faculty, the school is relatively small compared to other highly regarded education schools, she says.

The school's reputation in research hasn't always been so strong, Wixson notes. In the mid-1980s, the administration reviewed the school and said it needed a greater focus in this area. The budget was slashed, and morale was low, says Wixson, who was a faculty member at the school during that time.

During the previous dean's 10-year tenure, many new faculty members were brought in with the goal of making the school more research-oriented while not compromising its role as a professional school, she says. Those efforts are paying off, Wixson says.

"I think that the continued growth in external funding is evidence that we have come a long way towards achieving the goals that we set out to accomplish," she says. "It's a success story."


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