Research Revolution: Kettering one of only 50 sites in U.S.

Nov 8, 2002

The Kettering University Library System earned selection as one of 50 pilot sites across the U.S. and one of two schools statewide to conduct the "Research Revolution: The Laboratory and the Shaping of Modern Life."

On the surface, Charles Hanson, Denise Marshall and Benjamin Redekop do not appear to fit the stereotypical mold of revolutionaries most would associate with initiating any kind of radical political or societal change. Their quiet demeanors and subtle senses of humor remind one more of scholars interested in expanding intellectual inquiry rather than radicals hell bent on establishing dramatic modification in a governmental or political system.

But at Kettering, these three will participate in a revolution that, in the words of Redekop, will "narrow the widening gap between what people know based on our mental makeup and everyday experience of the world, and the world discovered through modern science."

1 of 50 sites in U.S., only 2 in Michigan

Specifically, the Kettering University Library System earned selection as one of 50 pilot sites across the U.S. and one of two schools statewide to conduct the "Research Revolution: The Laboratory and the Shaping of Modern Life."

The National Video Resources and the National Science Foundation in cooperation with the American Library Association offer this prestigious grant program. The project is a series of six community programs presented by the Kettering Library that focus on award-winning documentary films and scholar-led discussions regarding genetic engineering, the development of synthetic materials, military technology and the changing understanding of the human body.

Video titles include "I Am Become Death: They Made The Bomb," "Into The Body," "Our Genes, Our Choices: Who Gets to Know," "The Gene Squad," "What's Up With The Weather?" and "Natural Conditions."

Kettering's selection for this honor groups the University with some of the nation's preeminent libraries and institutions of higher education participating in this project. Some of these libraries and universities include:

  • Boston Public Library,
  • Denver Public Library,
  • New York Public Library,
  • William Madison Randall Library at the University of North Carolina--Wilmington, and
  • Founders Library of Howard University in Washington, D.C.

"We're extremely excited to receive selection for this program," explained Hanson, who is director of Library Services at Kettering. "It will strengthen our university mission to provide access to information resources that support quality research. More importantly, participants in the discussions will gain an understanding of the contributions of research to our quality of life."

Hanson also said that Kettering's specific aim is to conduct the discussions at areas throughout the Flint and Genesee County areas as a way of increasing the positive impact and learning opportunity for members of the local community. Since this project is geared toward the connection of science, modern life and how scientific research has changed our lives, a great potential exists for attracting many individuals from the community to learn more about these subjects.

Marshall, who serves as reference librarian and library coordinator for this project, is particularly pleased about the opportunity to present this program. "As a multidisciplinary scholar and librarian with experience teaching cinema and documentary, this is a great chance to participate in a wonderful project and to share knowledge with a wide range of people," she said. "It provides a forum for discussion about the science and technology that pervades our lives, and a place to talk about what that means."

As part of the program, Marshall and Redekop will travel to Baltimore, Maryland, to participate in a workshop to help them prepare Kettering's segment of the Research Revolution. Although a specific schedule is not yet available, the group expects to release this information following the workshop conference in mid November. Several of the presentations will be at Kettering.

For his part, Redekop, who is an assistant professor of Social Science in the University's Liberal Studies Dept., is happy to serve as the faculty scholar for the Kettering program. "This is a very exciting opportunity to build bridges between Kettering and the wider public," he said. "Modern scientific research has become an indispensable activity that affects our lives in many ways, but the average person often feels out of touch with the ever-changing complexities of science and technology. This series provides a chance for citizens to become better informed about how they can play a role in guiding scientific and technological research."

Kettering University seeks community partners that can provide a setting to present additional films and discussions, andencourages all interested organizations to contact the Kettering University Library. The program is tentatively slotted to begin February of 2003 and run through June. If you would like to offer the assistance of your organization as a partner in this program, please call the Kettering Library at (810) 762-7814, or visit the Library website at

Kettering received a grant of approximately $3,200, which covers videos, provides a $1,000 stipend to Redekop as the project's faculty scholar and supports the participation of Marshall and Redekop in the November workshop in Baltimore. Additionally, Kettering will receive national exposure regarding its participation through the National Science Foundation, American Library Association and National Video Resources. The University will also receive posters, flyers and other promotional materials to help spread the word throughout campus and the local community. When the program ends, Kettering will retain all videos, which the Library will archive.

To learn more about "Research Revolution: The Laboratory and the Shaping of Modern Life," visit the National Video Resources website at

To learn how your organization can sponsor the presentation of a video and scholar-led discussion, contact the Kettering University Library at (810) 762-7814, or visit the Library website at

Written by Gary J. Erwin
(810) 762-9635