Ohio Wesleyan Earns $50,000 Exploration Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation

By Cole Hatcher

OWU to Collaborate with Universities in Three East Asian Countries to Study Waste-Reduction Practices

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University has received a $50,000 Exploration Grant from The Henry Luce Foundation to collaborate with universities in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to study differing conceptions of waste and how Asian countries are working to reduce waste within their distinct economic and cultural environments.

Ohio Wesleyan’s 2015 Exploration Grant, one of only five such grants awarded nationwide this spring, is part of the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE). The initiative encourages “innovative approaches to Asian studies teaching and research at the undergraduate level through the lens of the environment and sustainable development.”

“Ohio Wesleyan is excited to receive this Exploration Grant,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “The funding will enable our students and faculty to collaborate with international partners to better understand how waste management is accomplished in three predominately urban and densely populated East Asian countries and, subsequently, to determine how new waste-reduction practices may be implemented within the United States.”

As part of Ohio Wesleyan’s grant-funded exploration, the university also will engage central Ohio firms with East Asian roots to learn how these firms have incorporated native sustainability practices into their U.S. operations. In addition, Ohio Wesleyan will host a symposium and other activities related to the topic, said Provost Charles L. Stinemetz, Ph.D.

“Our project is both intellectual and practical, which we see as a vital hybrid approach for our students, faculty, and curriculum, and which we believe creates the potential for wide-scale impact and dissemination,” Stinemetz said. “The Luce Foundation issued the challenge of creating ‘fresh entry points for engagement with Asia and beyond the walls of the classroom,’ and we think our project more than meets this challenge.”

Ohio Wesleyan will partner with Ewha Womans University of Seoul, South Korea; International Christian University of Tokyo, Japan; National Taiwan University of Taipei, Taiwan; and Yonsei University of Seoul to complete the exploration phase. All four universities wrote letters to the Luce Foundation endorsing the collaboration with Ohio Wesleyan.

OWU faculty members John B. Krygier, Ph.D., director of environmental studies, and James G. Peoples, Ph.D., director of East Asian studies, will serve as campus coordinators for the grant-funded exploration. They will work in conjunction with a newly created OWU LIASE Planning Group. Barbara S. Andereck, Ph.D., assistant provost for assessment and accreditation, will oversee the evaluation of the project’s objectives and anticipated outcomes.

“Waste and sustainability are shaped by social, cultural, historical, scientific, technological, and geographical factors,” President Jones said. “Ohio Wesleyan’s research will trace waste-management concepts and practices in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan using perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Faculty and students will apply intellectual and practical insights gleaned from the East to the West. This study is a perfect fit with our liberal arts focus.”

The exploration phase will culminate in a roadmap of future integration of East and West perspectives on waste, sustainability, and the environment. Such a roadmap will allow Ohio Wesleyan to apply for a follow-up Luce Foundation Implementation Grant to continue the university’s sustainability efforts on campus and beyond.

About The Henry Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The New York-based nonprofit seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in the academic, policy, religious, and art worlds. The Luce Foundation pursues its mission today through the following grant-making programs: American Art; Asia; Luce Scholars; Theology; Higher Education; Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs; Public Policy; and the Clare Boothe Luce Program for women in science, mathematics, and engineering. Learn more at www.hluce.org.

About Ohio Wesleyan University

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.