By Sandra Hines
It's a shame when yesterday's technology, today's red tape or tomorrow's job demands block efforts to teach and conduct research in new ways.
To help, Provost Lee Huntsman's office launched "Tools for Transformation" in 1998. As of Fall 1999, the UW had funded 54 proposals from departments and units through a special pool of money pulled from existing fundsand without asking the state for an extra dime. Debra Friedman, associate provost for academic planning, administers the Tools program. After awarding all of the initial $5 million set aside as Tools funding, President Richard L. McCormick and Huntsman, in consultation with the regents and deans, decided to make another $5 million available because of the program's documented success.
Friedman says departments are taking advantage of the Tools program in many ways, including:
Tools money, for example, made it possible for the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences and the Department of Zoology to establish research apprenticeships at Friday Harbor Laboratories.
For the School of Fisheries, Tools funding was used in part to help pay the salaries of two faculty and one teaching assistant involved with the pilot course for undergraduates in Alaska, according to David Armstrong, the school's director.
Far from just conducting a handful of apprenticeships or a single new course, however, the School of Fisheries and other units receiving Tools money have made plans to continue their activities or apply what has been learned even after the Tools money is spent. For example, the School of Fisheries plans to "transform" additional research programs. "The school has other unique field research stations, such as the one at Big Beef Creek on Hood Canal, as well as the campus hatchery research complex that could provide opportunities to study a wide spectrum of salmonid topics by blending research and teaching," Armstrong says.
"The leaders of these programs have come up with new ways to inspire change, allow units to realize their goals and contribute to the innovative spirit of the UW," Friedman says. "The Tools for Transformation program provides the infusion of resources to enable these changes to happen."