RESEARCH GRANTS FUNDING BLUFFTON FACULTY SUMMER WORK
Bluffton University Research Center grants are helping three Bluffton faculty members pursue scholarly and creative projects in their respective fields this summer.
Recipients of $3,000 stipends and up to $600 for research expenses are Tami Forbes, associate professor of recreation and chair of the health, fitness and sport science department; Dr. Ross Kauffman, assistant professor of public health; and Kate Spike, assistant professor of English.
Forbes’ funding is for a "catch and release" fishing project at the university nature preserve’s pond. Several participating fishermen will attempt to catch at least 500 fish in an effort to identify what species are in the pond and to determine how best to achieve a balance for recreational fishing, which has been proposed on a limited basis by a nature preserve task force. Potential benefits also include identifying undesirable fish species, enhancing student awareness and use of the preserve and engendering studies of its other natural resources.
Kauffman is using his grant to learn and document the use of software that will both facilitate his public health research and help bring the use of geographic information systems into the Bluffton curriculum. To that end, he is working on mapping the campus and uploading the data to OpenStreetMap, a free, user-created online database. He has already mapped the trails at the nature preserve and other campus features, and hopes to create digital maps of several university buildings and to map the student-developed disc golf course.
Spike is studying language in Botswana, which, like many African nations, uses one—English—for high-status functions such as education and government, and another—Setswana—for everyday practices such as religion and personal interactions. Unlike other African countries, though, Botswana's population is far from bilingual. While 80-90 percent of the people speak some form of Setswana, only about 35 percent are believed to have any knowledge of English. This uneven distribution has limited opportunities for economic mobility in impoverished, rural areas, Spike says. Using on-site interviews, she is looking at one village to learn more about how the situation impacts development of literacy and education.
All three grant recipients will make public presentations about their research on campus during the 2012-13 academic year.
Bluffton public relations, 6/21/12