College of the Redwoods


Cal Poly Humboldt

College Matters | CR Foundation awards first round grants

This article was originally posted in the College Matters column of the Times-Standard.

Thursday, December 15, 2022 - 1:00pm

In May, we announced the launch of our Academic and Economic Innovation Grant Program to support projects from CR faculty, staff, students, and community members that will enhance the mission of College of the Redwoods and address one or more of the following six major anchor themes in the Education Master Plan: become the preferred transfer pathway to Cal Poly Humboldt; expand and prioritize offerings that prepare students for living-wage jobs; create a more nimble and adaptable institution; establish stronger wraparound experiences for students’ connection to the college; pursue the future of learning; and increase our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

After hearing several proposals, the CR Foundation awarded three academic and two economic innovation grants in its initial funding cycle. These proposals identified several areas for growth, will pioneer new opportunities for students and the institution, and are as follows:

Carbon offset project

Forestry professor Valerie Elder was awarded $5,000 to develop a peer-reviewed carbon offset pilot project. Using the standardized inventory methodology from the Climate Action Reserve, students will be trained to quantify carbon sequestered in the CR forest. The project team is a collaborative partnership consisting of CR forestry and natural resources faculty Maddie Lopez, Tim Baker and Valerie Elder, Cal Poly Humboldt forestry professor Pascal Berrill, forest manager Kevin Boston, and climate action analyst Morgan King.

Redwoods natural history collection

Biology professor Karen Reiss will receive $5,000 to prepare an online database for the CR Natural History Collections (CRNHC) to be converted to the publicly available Arctos system, a consortium of museums and organizations that collaborate to share data on more than 3 million records from natural and cultural history collections. The CRNHC includes more than  8,000 specimens of plants and animals, some dating back to the late 1800s, some matched with collection date, locality, and other unique identifiers making these specimens “research-grade,” and many loanable to educators in the local community. Students will be involved in the work of verifying the database, preparing it for Arctos conversion, and preparing informational materials and loan forms for community members. This will make CR will be one of the first community colleges in the state to have a publicly available collection.

Story mapping faculty responsibilities

According to English professor Ruthe Rhodes, many full-time faculty feel overwhelmed by the complexity of their work, particularly the work beyond their immediate teaching responsibilities. These important faculty duties often feel ancillary — they do not feel central to teaching even though they are. Additionally, it is hard for faculty members to see the connections between these processes. A $5,000 grant was awarded to professor Rhodes to work with a design team and a team leader from The Grove Consultants International to develop a storymap to expand our collective understanding of what faculty do — and how those complex processes connect.

Lost Coast Ventures (LCV)

The foundation awarded $50,000 to Lost Cost Ventures to provide entrepreneur mentorship to faculty, students, and staff who attend CR or Cal Poly Humboldt. The funds will be used to directly fund deserving entrepreneurs associated with either CR or Cal Poly Humboldt and help LCV staff leverage their personal networks as well as local resources like the Small Business Development Center to deliver persistent and meaningful engagement to aspiring entrepreneurs.

E-Comm Orchestra

CR faculty Matthew Cendejas (business) and Trevor Hartman (computer information systems) were awarded approximately $15,000 to create a pipeline of entrepreneurs who possess the skills to build new, innovative, and environmentally responsible businesses from the ground up. Through cross-disciplinary cooperation, the project will unify business, information technology, and manufacturing students under an e-commerce umbrella, where they will learn to identify products of value, track and acquire sales leads, and develop marketing strategies and targeted advertising.

I want to thank the CR Foundation for providing the vision and project development assistance to promising academic and economic innovation projects.

Together with the foundation, we will launch the second round of innovation grant applications next February and March. We encourage faculty, staff, and community members to submit grant proposals that will help transform CR, boost our economy, and enhance the relationship between the college and our community.

Dr. Keith Flamer is the president of the College of the Redwoods.