Colorado College Awarded Three Grants Totaling $869,000 - Colorado College

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For Immediate Release

Jane Turnis
(719) 389-6138 


Languages, Brazil environmental exchanges and bacteria research win support

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – July 30, 2009 – Colorado College has been awarded three grants totaling $869,000 that will enable the college to develop a new language and culture program, support environment education exchanges between CC and two Brazilian universities and further a faculty member’s research of compounds that fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  

“The timing and magnitude of these three highly competitive grants could not be more encouraging to our faculty and the rest of the college,” said Steve Elder, Colorado College vice president for advancement. “They support an array of teaching, learning and research activities that, while seemingly diverse, have in common their centrality to our mission to provide the very finest liberal arts experience possible for our students. We are most grateful.”

The grants:

  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Colorado College $414,000 over two years to support the development of a Mediterranean languages and culture program and to enhance the teaching of foreign languages across the curriculum through a variety of grants to faculty. The grant includes funds for travel to the Mediterranean region to create courses, for language study, for workshops and conferences on pedagogy and technology and for summer intensive language institutes.

    “I am thrilled at this opportunity to reinforce foreign language teaching at the college and to pilot a new language-based area studies program centered on the Mediterranean region,” said Susan Ashley, dean of the college and dean of the faculty. “In view of the economic climate and the losses foundations have suffered as a result, this is unexpected and extraordinarily good news.”
  • The U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education awarded Colorado College a four-year, $264,000 grant to support semester-long faculty and student exchanges between Colorado College and two Brazilian universities, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (Federal University of Juiz de Fora) and Universidade de Brasilia (University of Brazil), and enable them to study how each country's environmental issues are defined, analyzed and addressed in foreign contexts.  Colorado College submitted this proposal in partnership with Carleton College and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, a consortium of which both Colorado College and Carleton College are members. As a lead U.S. institution for this project, Colorado College is guaranteed at least two of the four annual exchanges. Only 11 proposals were funded; 10 awards went to university collaborations and one went to Colorado College and its ACM partners.

    “This is a terrific opportunity for Colorado College students to engage in cross-cultural dialogue regarding the environment,” said Mike Taber, chair of Colorado College’s environmental program. “Additionally, faculty from Colorado College, the ACM and Brazilian partners will be able to share data and pedagogy, to better improve the learning and understanding of ecosystems, from the tropics to glaciers.”
  • The National Institutes of Health awarded Rongson Pongdee, assistant professor of chemistry, a three-year grant of $191,317 to research structurally novel antibacterial compounds as potential drug candidates to help combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The grant will provide equipment and support for Pongdee and nine undergraduate researchers over the course of the grant. A collaborator from Southwestern University also will receive modest support. In 2008, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the NIH institute to which Pongdee applied, reviewed 4,039 new applications; 806 were funded.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,985 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>.