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Grants for an arts-science bridge

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced grants totaling $3,025,000 to 31 of the nation's leading private liberal arts colleges. The grants are meant to help remedy what many colleges consider a serious problem in liberal arts instructional programs - a deficiency in quantitative reasoning, applied mathematics, and technology.

Monitor writer Jim Bencivenga reports that in issuing the grants the Sloan Foundation hopes the opportunity for teaching and curriculum improvement will spread beyond just the selected schools. It further hopes the grants will focus the entire higher education community on how to integrate the way liberal arts majors understand the impact of technology.

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Ten of the colleges will receive grants of $250,000 each for three years. The remaining 21 will receive smaller grants of $25,000 each.

A $47,000 grant was also given the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to allow faculty members from major universites and from the 31 recipient colleges to meet together over an extended period of time. The purpose will be to explore ways the two types of institutions - science and liberal arts - can collaborate in training faculty members and preparing teaching materials.

The integration of these two fields of study is seen by the foundation as one of the major challenges facing higher education for the rest of the century.

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