Tuesday, November 1, 2011

HUST Gets $400K NSF Grant: Not.

HUST relesed a press report on October 17th, 2011 claiming to have received a $400K grant from the national Science Foundation. The Patriot News picked up the story and ran the headline "Harrisburg University receives $400,000 to continue national science education program".

“We’re grateful for the continued support we received from Congressman Holden and the National Science Foundation. I am particularly proud of the SENCER approach to science education. It is an approach that motivates today’s students, appeals to their interests, counts on their contributions, and makes science real and relevant to their lives,” said Dr. Eric Darr, Provost and Executive Vice President at the University. “This is another example of how Harrisburg University is not only leading the way when it comes to inspiring and educating science and technology students, it is mapping the route for colleges and universities throughout the United States.”

Sounds great, eh?

But the truth is (I should rename this blog "But the Truth is...") HUST won't see $400K. HUST was only the sponsoring institution, the money was actually awarded to the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. The funds are to be used for their Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) project. You can check out the NSF award announcement yourself. The abstract says in part:

"In this one-year project, the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement is undertaking a coordinated set of activities to achieve three goals for sustaining SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) for another year and assist in its effort to become a self-sustaining enterprise."

I'm sure you can just ask the Provost, he'll tell you the truth. /sarcasm

HUST likes to pretend that they actually do science, but to be sure, HUST DOES NOT SUPPORT RESEARCH. It's not likely HUST will ever see an actual NSF grant, particularly since they fired the grant writer.

To be fair, Dr. Mattes (Co-PI) and Dr. Dryden are associated with the NSF grant PA STEM University Partnership for the Advancement of Academic Women (PA STEMUP), but it was not sponsored or supported by HUST.

"In all its activities, whether internal or external, an institution should keep its promises, honor its contracts and commitments, and represent itself truthfully...Institutions should adhere to such integrity in all institutional settings, venues, and activities." -Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education, Requirements of Affiliation and Standards of Accreditation 2009


  1. I'm so disappointed that HU had to act so falsely like this. I read where Eric was talking about how the money would help HU students. How does this help us at all. Who is Dr.David Burns? I've never seen him on campus even once!

  2. Dr. Burns is the Executive Director of National Center for Science and Civic Engagement at HU. His salary was about $160K in 2009, only the top executives at HUST made more money. Dr. Burns does not teach, nor is he engaged with the HUST community in any way.