2012 January Innovation Fund grants announced

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The President’s Office announced today the 2012 grant recipients for the President’s January Innovation Fund for Faculty. The fund was created in 2010 to support Harvard faculty in the development and implementation of creative academic and co-curricular experiences taking place during the January term. The program generated significant interest in its second year, with a wide range of programs proposed across the University. Fifteen programs were awarded full or partial funding to engage Harvard students in a variety of activities this January.

All of the funded programs strive to use the new January period to offer special learning experiences that are not found among the fall and spring semester course listings. The majority will take place on campus or in the neighboring communities. Some seek to augment existing courses with new hands-on laboratory experiences, such as a bronze casting workshop that takes students to a foundry in Chelsea. Other opportunities provide students with short, intensive training on skills or methodologies that enable the application of knowledge learned in the classroom—a course in carrying out qualitative social science research, for example. Another focus is the matching of students with professionals to sample the challenges of real-world application. A group of Graduate School of Education students will work closely with children’s programming experts from some of the leading educational media organizations to create their own multimedia projects.

A handful of other programs take students away from campus for field immersion experiences. One cross-school group will travel to Mississippi and Louisiana to study environmental sustainability work with the US Army Corps of Engineers, and a group of Law students will visit Ghana to assist in its constitutional reform process.

Summaries of these programs can be found at the January Innovation Fund website. President Faust plans to continue the grant program for January, 2013. More information about the next application cycle will be available in May 2012.