Evolutionary Studies program receives National Science Foundation grant to develop and expand
The State University of New York at New Paltz was recently awarded a $211,387 National Science Foundation grant to support its Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program through the next two academic years.
Submitted in collaboration with Binghamton University, the total amount of the grant award is nearly $500,000. Glenn Geher, director of the Evolutionary Studies program at New Paltz, said that the ultimate point of this grant is to support the creation of a large-scale consortium of EvoS programs across the nation. On the New Paltz side, Geher and assistant professor of biology, Jennifer Waldo, serve as principal investigators for the project, titled “Expanding Evolutionary Studies in American Higher Education.” In submitting the grant proposal, Geher and Waldo collaborated with David Sloan Wilson, a biology professor at Binghamton who is renowned for his passion for evolutionary theory.
“In the future, evolution will be regarded as essential for understanding humanity in addition to life as a whole,” said Wilson. “The EvoS consortium will help accomplish the transition sooner rather than later.”
The funds will be used to develop the two programs and especially to create a nationwide consortium of programs patterned after EvoS. The grant will also be used to support student research, course development, the creation of an open-source journal to connect the national EvoS community and other endeavors.
The consortium is designed to include the full range of institutions, from major research universities to community colleges. It will begin with 12 institutions and is designed to be open-ended with respect to additional members. There are graded levels of participation so that institutions can develop their programs incrementally.
The inaugural consortium members are Albright College, Broome Community College, California State University at Fullerton, Cornell University, Grand Valley State College, New England University, Northern Illinois University, Palomar College, SUNY Oswego, University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Kansas and the University
Geher said that given the high level of interest in New Paltz’s EvoS program – which officially started only a year ago – there is much reason for optimism regarding this initiative. Geher, who teaches courses related to evolutionary psychology (focusing on how evolution has helped shape human nature), finds that students are particularly enthusiastic about the material delivered by New Paltz’s EvoS program. "Students consistently describe EvoS as an eye-opening experience that helps them understand the world around them,” said Geher.
Regarding the award by the National Science Foundation, Geher said, “This grant is a major victory for evolutionists across the country. It’s a signal that the work we’re doing - on our campus and others - is highly valued at the national level – a fact that will surely facilitate the expansion of evolutionary studies in higher education across the nation.”
Visit www.newpaltz.edu/evos for more information. Additional institutions wishing to join the consortium should contact Glenn Geher or Jennifer Waldo at (845) 257-3091, or David Sloan Wilson at Binghamton University.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.