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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Reed College has received a Murdock Charitable Trust grant of $400,000 as part of a program to evaluate and promote the use of technology in college classes.

The Murdock grant will be used in conjunction with a Mellon grant of $300,000 in a project called "Sustaining Technological Change at Liberal Arts Colleges." The goal of the project is to help the Reed community learn how to use innovative technologies in the most efficient and timely ways.

The funding will be used to build a framework of technology that will enhance teaching, learning, and research. Martin Ringle, chief technology director at Reed said, "by providing special funding for three years, the Murdock grant allows us to help faculty members explore and incorporate new technologies in their teaching without siphoning resources from regular computing support."

Reed College has long been an innovator in the use of technology in a liberal arts education. Seventy percent of the Reed faculty now uses web-based course materials, multimedia software, and other digital material in their teaching. In the past two decades, the college has pioneered instructional software projects in biology, psychology, English, music, dance, philosophy, and numerous other areas of the liberal arts and sciences curriculum.

"Without grants such as these it is difficult to sustain the high level of innovation expected of the college and desired by the community," said Ringle. "The rapid growth of information technology makes it increasingly difficult for colleges to explore new technologies in a cost-effective manner while maintaining basic computing services."

The current Murdock grant will allow Reed to continue its tradition of innovation by providing the faculty and staff with funds to acquire and test new technologies, to explore new online services, to hire student programmers and web developers, to visit other colleges that are experimenting with curricular technologies, to develop image databases, and to experiment on the frontier of digital media.

The $400,000 Reed received from the Murdock grant, added to $300,000 from the Mellon grant awarded in September of 2000, complete the funding plan of $700,000 for technology at Reed. The Mellon grant is part of a $1.2 million collaborative project to establish cost-effective, long-term strategies for academic and administrative uses of web technologies at Reed, Occidental, Swarthmore, and Vassar. The results of the project will be shared extensively with other colleges in the country via conferences, workshops, and electronic media such as the World Wide Web.

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created by the will of the late Melvin J. Murdock, co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. and resident of Vancouver, Washington. Murdock was an idealist who felt that science was a main source of knowledge and that knowledge was the key to resolving issues. The trust reflects Murdock’s beliefs by providing grants to organizations that seek to strengthen the Northwest region’s cultural and educational base in creative and sustainable ways. In the past eight years, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has made grants to Reed totaling over $4.7 million, supporting the renovation of the biology building, the renovation of the physics advanced laboratories, and the construction of the Arthur F. Scott Laboratory of Chemistry.

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