Grants provide ‘tremendous benefit’ to LBW students

Published 3:53 pm Monday, November 7, 2011

Abbie Ballew, a biology instructor at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, wanted her students to have a more hands on learning experience.

So she wrote a grant and crossed her fingers. On Monday, the LBWCC Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation announced that Ballew’s grant proposal was one of seven selected to receive funding from the foundations.

A $1,329.95 grant for the purchase of instructional male and female torso models, as well as models of the urinary and digestive systems, will make a more hands on learning experience possible for Ballew’s students.

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“The Greenville campus lacked models in our science lab,” Ballew said. “We were using charts and PowerPoint presentations to teach Anatomy and Biology. These models will give us the chance to make our classes much more hands on.”

Ballew’s grant was one of four that the Greenville campus received. In all, the campus was awarded $4,419.95 in grant money. The foundation awarded a total of $13,300 to the Greenville, Andalusia and Opp campuses.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” said Dr. Jim Krudop, director of the Greenville campus. “The items that will be purchased with these grants will be a tremendous benefit to our students and will help us grow our programs.”

The mini-grant program, jointly funded by the LBWCC Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, provides funds for projects selected through an application process.

Applications are open to all full-time LBWCC faculty and staff employed for at least one year. Board members from both foundations serve on a selection committee to make award decisions.

“We know there are good things going on in the classrooms,” said Sharon Spurlin, MacArthur Foundation board member. “These funds allow the instructors to provide the extras that make LBW even better.”

The Greenville campus also received grants for:

* A ceiling-mounted projector and screen to add to the technology requirements of the science lab. The grant totaled $2,500.

“This is a major upgrade for us,” LeAnn S. Judah said. “We haven’t had a projector in the lab and we had an old screen that I think we inherited from the Andalusia campus.”

According to Judah, the new equipment will allow her to better serve students who are taking “hybrid” courses, or courses that take place online and in the lab. In a hybrid course, the lecture takes place online, while the lab work happens in a more traditional laboratory setting.

“Now, if the students are having problems with a particular aspect of the lecture, we can look at it right there in the lab and not have to go from classroom to classroom to do able to do that,” she said.

* A guest speaker from the Alabama Roads Scholars program for the language and fine arts department. The grant totaled $300.

According to Mollie Smith Waters, the funds will be used to bring in Richard Anderson to speak about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

“He’s an authority on the subject,” Waters said. “He’ll go more in depth than we normally would in class, and it’s a chance for our students to hear someone else talk about Mark Twain and the impact Alabama had on this particular work.”

The lecture will be open to the community.

“Another great thing about this grant is that it gives us the chance to reach out to the community,” Waters said.

* Funding in the amount of $290 toward the purchase of a laptop computer for the Christian Student Ministries program.

“We plan to use the laptop to show movies,” Kathy Lowery said. “We want to use the movies to teach life situations and how the people in the movies deal with them using Christian principles. This will give us a chance to provide Christian education.”

Lowery said the Christian Student Ministries, which regularly features speakers that include local pastors, averages about 20 students per week.

Krudop said the grants will not only benefit the college, but also the Greenville community.

“What’s good for the community is good for us, and what’s good for us is good for the community,” he said. “We just want to keep right on growing with the rest of the community.”