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Institutional Completed Grants

Below you will find profiles of completed grant-funded projects.

Renovations to the Swarthmore Executive Center for Administrative Use

Project Director: C. Stuart Hain, VP Facilities and Services

Donor: Mertz Charitable Trust

Award Date: 11/27/2013 | Project Period: 7/1/2013-6/30/2014

The 2013 Mertz Charitable Trust contribution to Swarthmore's Mertz Physical Plant Fund helps defray the cost of refurbishing space in the Swarthmore Executive Center at 101 S. Chester Road for administrative use. These costs included design fees, furnishings, and the HVAC system. The purchase of this building allowed us to perform a total renovation of the upper two floors (approximately 13,000 SF) to provide class A office space for our entire development and alumni relations staff. The renovation included the removal of all existing walls and systems, installed in the 1960's, and their replacement with modern, efficient systems including lighting, mechanical, partitions and furniture. This unique space was transformed into an exciting new work environment for our Advancement team, in offices designed to create greater synergies and opportunities for collaboration, without requiring additional building on campus.


AALAC Workshop: African Studies in the Small Liberal Arts Context: Experiments in (post-) colonial reading and pedagogy

Workshop Leaders: Christy Schuetze (Swarthmore), Crystal Biruk (Oberlin), Kalala Ngalamulume (Bryn Mawr), China Scherz (Reed), Jesse Weaver Shipley (Haverford)

Donor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 

Award Date: 7/11/2013 | Project End Date: 7/11/2013-7/10/2014

Amid rising undergraduate interest in global health, human rights activism, ethical consumerism, and “doing good,” Africa-centered courses have seen increased enrollments. This workshop, open to faculty from 23 small liberal arts colleges (SLACs), will focus on the practical and intellectual challenges of teaching about Africa at a small institution: We Based in the SLAC context, most of us do not benefit from a large on-campus network of Africanist scholars or the resources of an African Studies Center, yet we seek to represent a wider Africanist intellectual community as best we can. Collaboratively, we will discuss how to help “African Studies” thrive on our campuses and reflect on our role as pedagogues striving to channel student interest into critical thought and engagement with sub-Saharan Africa. We will explore these questions: (1) What should be our objectives in teaching Africa-centered courses at SLACs? (2) What can we learn about contemporary Africa—and our relation to it—by reflecting on both canonical and “cutting edge” texts that often appear on our syllabi? (3) How can we engage growing student interest in learning about Africa to impart an enduring critical and historical perspective on the continent? and (4) How do Africa-focused courses fit into the larger curricular menu and commitments to institutional diversity at SLACs?


Recognizing Teacher Excellence

Donor: The Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Foundation

Award Date: December 2013 | Project Period: 7/1/2014-6/30/2014

The Lindback Foundation’s Distinguished Teaching Award is given in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the College made by one of Swarthmore’s teacher-scholars. It supports the research that faculty member will undertake in their next sabbatical year.


The Renovation of Worth Health Center

Project Director: C. Stuart Hain, VP Facilities and Services

Donor: Mertz Charitable Trust

Award Date: 11/26/2012 | Project Period: 7/1/2012-6/30/2013

The 2012 Mertz Charitable Trust contribution to Swarthmore’s Mertz Physical Plant Fund supports a major renovation of Worth Health Center, home to the Student Health Service and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). This project involves the complete renovation of the building, including all new mechanical systems, accessibility improvements, and more functional and appropriate space to house student health and CAPS, including 4 new modern, fully-outfitted exam rooms, laboratory space, 9 counseling offices and a large room for meeting and training. The building will be better able to accommodate wheelchairs and assistive devices, as well as the modern student’s general wellness needs, including better privacy for patients. The renovated spaces match current best practices for college health services and will allow the student health operation to seek national accreditation through the American College Health Association.


Preservation and Disaster-Preparedness Assessment to Preserve the Library's Special Collections

Project Coordinators: Amy McColl, Library

Donor: National Endowment for the Humanities

Award Date: 12/5/2011 | Project Period: 1/1/2012-6/30/2013

Swarthmore College received an NEH grant to support an assessment by an expert consultant of the current preservation practices of its Rare Book Room, Friends Historical Library, and Peace Collection, and and assessment of disaster preparedness procedures for McCabe Library, which houses these collections. Significant holdings include the W.H. Auden Collection; volumes from Thomas Jefferson's library; correspondence of T.S. Eliot; an extensive private press and artiists' book collection; the largest depository of archives, manuscripts and printed material concerning the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in North America; and North America's only collection related solely to peace, disarmament, conscientious objection, non-violence, and women in the peace movement. These irreplaceable items are currently at risk of extensive damage due to the unstable conditions in McCabe Library, and an assessment will be the first step toward ensuring their preservation.


Digitization of the Phoenix Newspaper

Project Coordinator: Barbara Weir, Library

Donor: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – Department of Education
Program: Pennsylvania Department of Education, Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Library Services & Technology Grant Act (LSTA) Grant Program

Award Date: 3/2012 | Project Period: 7/1/2012-6/30/2013

Swarthmore College Library will digitize its student newspaper, the Phoenix, beginning with the first issue published in December 1881 through May 1973. The goals of the project are preservation and increased access. Microfilm reels from those years will be scanned and digitized to enable researchers to browse issues or search for articles in Triptych, the system used to manage the library’s digitized special collections. Because newspapers provide a way to study contemporary views of national and local issues, we believe the digitized Phoenix will be a rich source of information about issues affecting the lives of college students in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. More importantly, since resources not searchable online will likely fade from use, it is critical that these be digitized and made available to the public.


Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges Collaborative Workshop "Assessing Students' Research Skills: How do they research, how do they learn to research, and how good is their research?"

Workshop Leaders: Peggy Seiden (Swarthmore ), Bryn Geffert (Amherst), Terry Snyder (Haverford), Alex Wirth-Cauchon (Mount Holyoke), Christopher Dole (Amherst), Rick T. Lopez (Amherst), and Sarah Willie-LeBreton (Swarthmore)

Donor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Award Date: 3/27/2012 | Project Period: 4/1/2012-5/31/2013

As the creation and dissemination of scholarship is inherently changed by digital technologies, we become increasingly aware of the need to help students make sense of the virtually unlimited information now at their fingertips. The successful undergraduate researcher must be able to draw on many competencies often categorized as “information literacy.” Can students query the “literature”; read closely and critically, or, conversely, browse through significant amounts of text when appropriate; sort through multiple arguments; and weigh evidence found—all in a way that informs their research questions and yields well-reasoned and original arguments? Unfortunately we lack good methodologies for assessing information literacy competencies within the context of actual student research projects. During the two-day workshop we are bringing together faculty and librarians to develop an appropriate assessment methodology that defines what we want to know about students’ research abilities across-the-disciplines. We seek to forge agreement on two questions: First, what specific learning outcomes reflect good undergraduate research and how might one assess the degree to which students achieve those outcomes. Second, what should we know about how undergraduates conduct research and create final products and how can we best design a longitudinal study to answer those questions? The workshop will be facilitated by nationally recognized experts in information literacy assessment and student research behavior.


Educational Studies

Donor: Margaret A. Cargill Foundation

Award Date: May 2009 | Project Period: 5/31/2009-5/31/2013

The College is using this award to support Educational Studies over five years to help defray the cost of the new tenure line in Educational Studies currently held by Assistant Professor Cheryl Jones-Walker.


Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges Collaborative Workshop “Deaf across the Curriculum”

Workshop Liaison: Donna Jo Napoli (Linguistics)
Workshop Leaders: Carol Padden (University of California, San Diego), Gene Mirus (Gallaudet University), and Jami Fisher (University of Penn)

Donor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Award Date: 3/27/2012 | Project Period: 3/27/2012-3/31/2013

The most overlooked minority culture globally is Deaf World, characterized by people who typically share auditory status and always share a modality of language -- sign language.  Yet study of this culture can enrich our understanding in theater, dance, psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, sociology, anthropology, education, history, jurisprudence, political science, medical studies, and on and on.  We will come together to discuss ways to introduce and incorporate d/Deaf studies into various parts of the curriculum and develop bibliographies and sample syllabi for dissemination.


Development of Predictive Models for Patterns of and Reasons for Undergraduate Retention and Migration In and Out of STEM Fields

Project Director: Lynne Molter (Engineering)

Donor: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Award Date: 11/11/2009 | Project Period: 1/1/2010-1/1/2013

The three-year project involves the formation of a collaboration of a wide range of institutions interested in improving access to and retention of students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. While the study will include all students, special attention will be given to under-represented groups. More than 40 public and private colleges and universities, including many Historically Black College and Universities are participating. These efforts will provide institutions with information about migration patterns to enable them to identify problem areas, and to determine where resources can best be allocated to address issues relevant to their concerns. The ability to track data after changes are made allows departments, colleges, and universities to "close the loop" in their assessments, and to continue making adjustments and monitoring for improvement. Annual workshops will be held for participants to discuss data collection and analysis, as well as how to effectively use the information learned to improve experiences for students.


Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges Collaborative (AALAC) Workshop “Learning and Teaching Physical Sciences in the Liberal Arts College and University 2: Identification of Supports for Student Success”

Workshop Leaders: Joseph Chihade (Chemistry, Carleton College), Deborah Gross (Chemistry, Carleton College), Lynne Molter (Engineering); K. Ann Renninger (Education Studies)

Donor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Award Date: May 2011 | Project Period: 5/1/2011-12/31/2012

This workshop is a follow-up to the workshop entitled ”Learning and Teaching Physical Sciences in the Liberal Arts College: Forging a Research Agenda.” It will be used to design a well-informed study of undergraduate student decision-making. In particular, the study will focus on critical decision points for students in the process of selecting majors in the physical sciences and the types of curricular planning and instruction for learning and teaching in these disciplines that could assist all students, including women, underrepresented minorities, and first-generation students. The proposed approach includes a pilot study to examine the positive steps taken by students who are successful as a method for exploring support structures.


Beyond the Reaccreditation Self-study: Developing Best Practices for Sustainable and Effective Department-level Assessment of Student Learning

Swarthmore Liaisons: Lisa Smulyan, Associate Provost; Robin Shores, Institutional Research

Donor: The Teagle Foundation

Award Date: June 2009 | Project Period: 9/1/2009-9/30/2012

Collaborative grant led by Bryn Mawr involving three departments from Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr colleges, each doing their own project. At Swarthmore, departments are English Literature, Educational Studies and Computer Science.


Blueprint Mentoring Program Phase II

Program Coordinators: Imaani Greene, Blueprints Project Director; Elizabeth Braun, Dean of Students

Donor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health – Youth Empowerment Program

Award Date: September 2009 | Project Period: 9/1/2009-8/31/2012

Swarthmore's Black Cultural Center, in collaboration with The Crozer-Chester Wellness Center, Chester Upland School District, and The College Access Center of Delaware County, has received its second federal Youth Empowerment Program grant to serve the mentoring, personal development, career/college exploration, and cultural and academic support needs of a group of 25 high school students from the City of Chester. This three-year Phase II grant enables the Black Cultural Center and its Swarthmore student mentors to expand their already successful Blueprints Program (Phase I), by incorporating Blueprints Summer Camp and by expanding the scope of existing programming and activities, which include the Saturday Cultural Institute, an age-tiered mentoring and tutoring component, a college preparedness component, and a wellness component.


Creative Dance Exchange: Mentoring, Learning, and Performing

Project Director: Sharon Friedler

Donor: National Endowment for the Arts

Award Date: June 2011 | Project Period: 10/1/2011-6/30/2012

This grant brings together Swarthmore College student dancers, Philadelphia professional dancers from Idiosyncrazy dance company, led by Jumatatu Poe '04, and Chester Children’s Chorus (CCC) middle school dancers for a mutually generative and supportive series of workshops, classes, and performances. Participants will gain a wider appreciation for and competency in movement vocabularies and learn about connections between them through the application of those skills in performance. This project builds on Swarthmore’s previous NEA grant-supported work with the CCC, aiding a local population under severe economic stress.


The Renovation of Campus Exteriors

Project Director: C. Stuart Hain, VP Facilities and Services

Donor: Mertz Charitable Trust

Award Date: 11/29/2011 | Project Period: 7/1/2011-06/30/2012

This project will make needed repairs to the roofs, exterior masonry walls and doors of four campus buildings: the College barn, Wharton and Mary Lyons residence halls, and the President's residence, the Courtney Smith House.


Undergraduate Science Education and Research

Program Director: Kathleen Siwicki (Biology)

Donor: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Award Date: March 2008 | Project Period: 9/1/2008-6/30/2012

The sixth consecutive four-year grant from HHMI supports a wide variety of activities in the sciences, including 30 student research stipends a year, peer-based academic support in five science departments, interdisciplinary teaching and course development, and the Science for Kids outreach program through which Swarthmore faculty and students teach science to Chester Children’s Chorus members in the summer. The current grant expires August 31, 2012; Swarthmore’s HHMI Steering Committee is already working to develop the next proposal, due October 4, 2011.


Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges Collaborative Workshop “Liberal Arts Education, Collaborative Research, and the Humanities”

Workshop Liaison: Rachel Sagner Buurma (English Literature)

Donor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Award Date: March 2010 | Project Period: 1/1/2011-12/31/2011

This two-day Spring 2011 workshop brings together faculty from the Mellon 23 colleges to ask what role research currently does and theoretically should play in the undergraduate liberal arts education. While keeping an eye on a broad array of questions related to teaching undergraduates how to research in the humanities and the humanistic social sciences raised by recent Mellon-supported initiatives, this faculty group will focus especially on undergraduate involvement in sustained collaborative research projects, whether in the context of individual faculty members’ own research projects, collaborations with libraries and museums, or undergraduate course-based projects designed to create and disseminate new knowledge.


Engineering Equipment Fund Challenge

Project Oversight: Engineering Department, Lynne Molter, Chair

Donor: The George I. Alden Trust

Award Date: 5/20/2009 | Project Period: 5/20/2009-11/30/2011

In October 2010, with the help of 17 friends and alumni, Swarthmore met the 2:1 challenge issued by the Alden Trust bringing a total of $300,000 to the College for the purchase of much-needed equipment that will help modernize our mechanical & structural testing laboratories; soils and construction laboratories; thermal energy laboratory; electronics laboratory; and materials laboratory.


Film Preservation Funding for the Peace Collection

Project Director: Wendy Chmielewski, Curator of the Peace

Donor: National Film Preservation Foundation

Award Date: 5/26/2010 | Project Period: 6/1/2010-8/8/2011

The Peace Collection received funds from the NFPF several years ago to preserve a film in our collection, "Walk to Freedom," produced by a long-time peace organization, the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). “Walk…” contains footage of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott that thrust the young Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into the national spotlight and revitalized the U.S. civil rights movement.  Now, NFPF has provided funds to preserve six more films, about non-violent social change, FOR’s work against the Cold War, and for peace in general. Funding from the NFPF not only preserves the original motion picture film footage, but provides us with a copy of the film in a currently viewable format.


Renovating Parrish Dormitory Space

Project Director: C. Stuart Hain, VP Facilities and Services

Donor: Mertz Charitable Trust

Award Date: 12/1/2010 | Project Period: 7/1/2010-06/30/2011

Renovation of toilet and shower rooms on the 3rd and 4th floors of Parrish Hall, creation of accessible spaces on the 3rd floor, and the remediation of a significant mold problem on the 4th floor. The project also addresses accessibility issues in the dormitory kitchen on the 3rd floor.


Tri-College Environmental Studies

Project Coordinators: Environmental Studies faculty; Carol Nackenoff, Richter Professor of Political Science and Former Environmental Studies Faculty Coordinator

Donor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Award Date: March 2011 | Project Period: 6/1/2011-6/30/2015

In Fall 2012, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Swarthmore College $591,000 in cash to support a series of Tri-College activities in Environmental Studies, including establishing GIS expertise and curriculum; curriculum development workshops; course development; coordinated project-based learning opportunities integrated into the curriculum; and coordinated Tri-College events, such as capstone research project presentations, outside speaker series, and poster sessions.


Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowships

Program Coordinator: Anthony S. Foy, Associate Professor of English Literature

Donor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Award Date: December 2009 | Project Period: 10/1/2010-12/31/2014 

The fundamental objective of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program is ”to increase the number of minority students, and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, who will pursue PhDs in core fields in the arts and sciences. The program aims to reduce over time the serious underrepresentation on the faculties of individuals from certain minority groups, as well as to address the attendant educational consequences of these disparities.” In 1988, Swarthmore was one of 8 institutions selected to initiate the program. Since then 122 of our students have benefited from this highly selective mentoring program, 29 alumni have earned PhDs, and 21 are now faculty. In addition, Sean Decatur '90 is President of Kenyon College and Garikai Campbell '90 is Provost at Morehouse College.


Renovations for the Newly Created Office of Student Engagement (OSE)

Project Director: Maria Lucoff, Associate Project Manager, Planning & Construction

Donor: Mertz Charitable Trust

Award Date: 11/18/2014 | Project Period: 7/1/2014-6/30/2015

The 2014 Mertz Charitable Trust contribution to Swarthmore's Mertz Physical Plant Fund helped defray the cost of refurbishing space in the College’s iconic Parrish Hall to provide a new home for the Office of Student Engagement (OSE).  The OSE provides a physical location where students can connect, communicate, collaborate, and cultivate leadership skills. Student organizations are holding weekly meetings, are initiating programming, and are working together to create new campus traditions and implement student-centered events. The OSE allows staff to provide better support and resources to students and student groups, and serves as a model for true student-staff collaboration.



Project Director: Jeff Jabco, Director of Grounds at Swarthmore and Horticulture Coordinator of the Scott Arboretum

Donor: A public/private partnership led by the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Protection

Award Date: 2/10/2014 | Project Period: 3/31/2014-12/31/2014

Responding to an alarming trend of the loss of trees in Pennsylvania’s metropolitan areas, TreeVitalize was launched in 2004 in southeastern Pennsylvania to help restore tree cover, educate citizens about planting trees as an act of caring for our environment, and build capacity among local governments to understand, protect and restore their urban trees. This is the third year in a row that Swarthmore has received TreeVitalize funding. The goal of this year’s project is to control invasive Japanese knotweed in the Crum Woods and establish a riparian buffer of native species along Crum Creek.


People, Energy, Agriculture: Themes for Environmental Asian Studies Interdisciplinary Curricula and Research

Project Director: Thomas A. Stephenson, Provost and James H. Hammons Professor of  Chemistry

Donor: Henry Luce Foundation Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE)

Award Date: 3/28/2013 | Project Period: 4/1/2013-6/30/2015

The Henry Luce Foundation awarded Swarthmore this 14-month exploratory grant to help the College establish curricular links between Asian Studies and Environmental Studies, particularly by forging a connection between East Asian higher education and Swarthmore and by adding scientific content into Asian Studies. The first project of the grant will be a course in Spring 2014 on water issues in China, taught by Political Sciences Carol Nackenoff with Asian Studies professor Lala Zuo and the support of Engineer Art McGarity. The course will include a three-week, half-credit trip to China for a subset of students.


The Aydelotte Foundation for the Advancement of the Liberal Arts

Program Director: Eric Jensen, Professor of Astronomy and Former Director, Aydelotte Foundation (2014–15); Patricia Reilly, Associate Professor of Art History and Former Associate Provost (2012–13)

Donor: The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

Award Date: October 2012 | Project Period: 11/1/2012-5/31/2015

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations awarded Swarthmore College's new Institute for the Liberal Arts a grant of $250,000 to help support its first two years of facilitation and exploration of programming to help advance and evolve liberal arts education. The project identifies as a key priority the need to create the Swarthmore Institute for the Liberal Arts in order to study and expand liberal arts education at Swarthmore, in the United States, and around the world.


Blueprints Mentoring Program, Phase III

Program Coordinators: Cynthia Jetter, Karlene Burrell-McRae, Cheryl Jones-Walker
Departments: Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility; Black Cultural Center; Education Department

Donor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health – Youth Empowerment Program

Award Date: 8/17/2012 | Project Period: 9/1/2012-8/31/2017

Blueprints III will serve 50 Chester Upland School District middle- and high-school students who had one or more risk factors for school drop-out prior to joining the program. The current grant enables the Blueprints Project Director Ashley Henry and the Swarthmore student mentors, to provide Blueprints students with mentoring, personal development, career/college exploration, and cultural and academic support. The long-term goal is for participants to graduate high school on time, transition to college or professional training, and reduce risk-taking behavior. Short-term goals include improved academic outcomes, strengthened connections to supportive adults and peers, and improved leadership and workforce skills.


Undergraduate Science Education & Research

Program Director: Kathleen Siwicki, Howard A. Schneiderman Professor of Biology, Neurobiology

Donor: Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Award Date: May 2012 | Project Period: 9/1/2012-8/31/2016

The seventh consecutive four-year grant from HHMI supports science education, creates more engaging classes, brings students real-world research experiences, and increases diversity among students who study science. The grant will fund: 20 summer research fellowships; mentoring mini-grants to meet the needs of students striving to succeed as STEM majors; the overhaul of Introductory Biology; a full-year course in Introductory Physics for life sciences students; and a refocusing of the successful Science for Kids summer program.


Strengthening Environmental Studies

Project Coordinators: Carol Nackenoff, Richter Professor of Political Science and Former Environmental Studies Faculty Coordinator; Ellen Magenheim, Professor of Economics

Donor: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Award Date: 3/18/2011 | Project Period: 6/1/2011-6/1/2014

In March 2011, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation issued Swarthmore a $1 million challenge, to be matched two-to-one within three years, to support a new tenure track position in environmental economics (pending faculty approval of the tenure line), and dedicated funds for course and program development. As of February 2014, the required match has been raised.