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Friday, January 3, 2014

Coastal erosion study boosted by Champlin grant

Champlin Foundations awards URI four grants for technology to support teaching and research
From Todd McLeish, URI

KINGSTON, R.I. -- The Champlin Foundations, one of the oldest philanthropic organizations in Rhode Island, has awarded the University of Rhode Island four grants totaling $651,774, the largest single-year gift Champlin has ever awarded the University.

According to the URI Foundation, Champlin has donated more than $13 million to the University since 1986 and is URI’s top corporate or foundation donor.

This year’s grants provide direct support to student learning and will fund technology to measure coastal erosion for use by science and engineering students; video conferencing and lecture-capture equipment to create a global interface in business education; diagnostic equipment to create an interdisciplinary cardiovascular laboratory for students in several health-related majors; and cutting edge instrumentation for probing molecular structure and function and so students can learn the full potential of molecular science.

"These projects provide our faculty with state-of-the-art technology and facilities that expand opportunities for our students and position the University as a leading institution dedicated to active and engaged student learning,” said Donald DeHayes, URI provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are very grateful to The Champlin Foundations for their continued support and investment in our teaching programs, faculty and students.”

The four projects are:

1. A statewide coastal erosion monitoring program using LiDAR, $150,500. Funds will be used to acquire a state-of-the-art Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system that will enable faculty from the College of Engineering, the College of the Environment and Life Sciences and the Graduate School of Oceanography to teach science and engineering students how to monitor and potentially mitigate future sea-level rise and coastal erosion in an experiential learning environment. About 230 undergraduate and graduate students each year will learn to use the new equipment and collect data useful to policy makers addressing the effects of climate change on Rhode Island coastlines.

2. Increase student success through lecture-capture equipment and video-conferencing technology, $152,000. This grant will provide the College of Business Administration with video-conferencing and lecture-capture technology that will increase student success by cost-effectively bringing global business leaders into the classroom, recording presentations for wider dissemination and student review, and acquainting students with video technology utilized as a best practice worldwide. 

3. Cardiovascular Diagnostic Learning Collaborative, $214,274. Funds will be used to create a state-of-the-art Cardiovascular Diagnostic Learning Collaborative for use by students in pharmacy, physical therapy, kinesiology, nursing and other health-focused areas. The learning collaborative will support student-centered hands-on learning using cardiovascular diagnostic technologies, including a holter monitor, ambulatory blood pressure devices, ventriloscopes, ultrasound equipment and associated software. Students will learn to administer and interpret cardiovascular and pulmonary tests and measures and gain an understanding of the implications of these tests in patient evaluation and treatment.

4. Advanced instrumentation for probing the structure and physiological function of purified therapeutics, $135,000. This grant will be used to acquire a suite of cutting-edge instrumentation that will expose students to the full potential of molecular science and give them concrete skills needed to address pressing societal problems, such as molecular therapeutic development. The equipment will allow students to follow molecular syntheses by automated, high-performance purification, state-of-the-art molecular structure and property determination, and highly detailed characterizations of physiological effects. By using this instrumentation, students will gain experience vital to modern molecular science and its applications to human health.

Mike Smith, president of the URI Foundation, added, “We are tremendously grateful that Champlin continues, year after year, to recognize the value of supporting innovation and interdisciplinary learning here at the state’s land-grant, research university. The long-term commitment they have demonstrated toward URI is remarkable, and we are pleased to consider them a major partner in our efforts to discover, advance and excel. ”