The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

Award Date: May 2010


The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations has awarded Union College a $250,000 grant to integrate engineering more solidly with the liberal arts and expand the liberal arts concept to embrace the study of engineering and technology.  The College's Center for Bioengineering and Computational Biology (CBCB), a facility funded by a $1.6 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was designed to support interdisciplinary teaching and learning, and has been a valuable resource for our integrated learning efforts.  The Center has supported new course development, encouraged interdisciplinary research and team-teaching, offered exciting and innovative laboratory exercises for use in biology and biochemistry courses, and facilitated academic growth and opportunity through workshops and web-based outreach. 

The success of these efforts led to a decision to create a truly interdisciplinary interaction between the biology and engineering departments with a new academic major in bioengineering at Union.  By building a strong interdisciplinary program in bioengineering, we aim to create an academic environment where students draw on the knowledge of faculty from different disciplinary areas to develop highly original approaches to biological and biomedical research and design problems.  A generous grant will provide two years of funding to build the framework for long-term success, which shall include: new faculty hires, laboratory equipment acquisition, infrastructure and operational expenditures, summer outreach program support, student fellowship support, and new course development. 

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations grant award will have a significant impact on Union's efforts to integrate engineering and the liberal arts, a top priority for the College.