Another National Science Foundation grant will back teaching at Haskell Indian Nations University.
Kansas University and Haskell Indian Nations University have forged another academic tie, this one allowing Haskell students to study biology with a KU researcher.
Walter W. Dimmick, a KU assistant professor of systematics and ecology, is teaching an introductory course in vertebrate biology at Haskell this fall. His lectures are at Haskell, and the labs are at KU's Natural History Museum, where Dimmick is a curator of fishes.
The course is backed by a four-year $275,000 grant awarded to Dimmick by the National Sciences Foundation.
The grant is supposed to further the careers of junior faculty members through research and teaching.
Dimmick, now in his fourth year at KU, proposed teaching at Haskell to expose students to career opportunities in biology.
Haskell is a government-sponsored college for American Indians. Most of its courses lead to two-year associate's degrees, but the school is developing plans for several new four-year programs, including one in environmental science.
This summer Haskell received a three-year, $500,000 grant from the NSF to develop environmental science courses for use at Haskell and other universities.
"Haskell is trying to make the transition to a four-year college," Dimmick said. "I look at this as an opportunity for me to participate in a fundamental change there."
Dimmick's research under the grant will focus on a genetic study of a group of imperiled carp in Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. He'll spend six to eight weeks in Africa this winter, then return to Lawrence to teach an informal class on Kansas fish diversity to Haskell students.
He won't be taking any Haskell students to Ethiopia, but he hopes to hire some of the students to work in his lab.
Officials at Haskell and KU have been working in recent years to increase contact between the two schools.
Last year the KU law school created a Tribal Law and Government Center to prepare students for legal careers on reservations.
A joint program with Haskell will attempt to steer Haskell students to KU to finish their undergraduate degrees, followed by law school at KU. Part of one KU law faculty member's salary is paid by Haskell, where he teaches a course during the spring semester.