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Federal Government Earmarks Over $700,000 for Key Initiatives at Portland State University
Author: Jeanie-Marie Price (503-725-3773) Office of Marketing and Communications
Posted: November 20, 2004

PSU’s Branford P. Millar Library and Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) will receive funding as part of the FY 2005 appropriations bill (H.R. 4818) approved by Congress today. This bill is now headed to President George W. Bush for signature.

“Congressman Wu and Senator Smith notified us this morning that the bill approved today includes $320,000 for the Millar Library and $400,000 for our transportation research program,” said Daniel O. Bernstine, president of Portland State University. “This funding is targeted at two programs that support our students, faculty, regional partnerships and the community. I want to thank Senator Smith, Congressman Wu and the members of the Oregon delegation for their strong support of Oregon’s urban university.”

The $320,000 for the Millar Library will be used to enhance and increase the accessibility of its library collections in the area of Middle Eastern and Judaic Studies. The $400,000 in funding for the CTS is essential to PSU's transportation research initiatives, which focus on the research priorities of regional and statewide transportation agency partners.

Established in 1961, PSU’s Middle East Studies Center (MESC) is the first federally supported undergraduate program in the United States for Arabic language and area studies. MESC is one of PSU's oldest and most successful bridges between the campus, and its resources and expertise, and the community. In the coming years, MESC intends to emphasize its role as a regional information center providing support particularly to Oregon business (through research into potential markets in the Middle East and support of the Arabic language program), but also to political, media and educational systems throughout the Northwest and the nation.

Complementing this longstanding focus on Middle Eastern studies, Portland State University has recently begun the process of expanding an innovative community-based Judaic Studies Program, primarily funded through private donations. Established in 2002, the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies focuses on the encounter of Jews and Judaism with the modern world. The core principles of the PSU program are interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship, a flexible curriculum and a commitment to partnerships with educational institutions.

“This funding will support the University’s work to help students and the community better understand the peoples, languages, cultures and religions of this critical region of the world,” said Terry Ann Rohe, University librarian. “Portland State University’s long history of scholarship and creativity in these disciplines, its status in the state as the sole provider of college-level instruction in Arabic and Hebrew, and the Millar Library’s extensive existing collections, make it an ideal access point nationwide for documents and resource materials that will aid in this understanding.”

The faculty and students associated with the Intelligent Transportation Systems laboratory at Portland State University conduct research on how intelligent transportation systems can most effectively be deployed in the Portland Metro area, across the state and throughout the nation. The ITS Laboratory is affiliated with the Center for Transportation Studies, which is a joint initiative between the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Urban and Public Affairs.

“These federal funds will support transportation research priorities identified by the region and the state transportation agencies and partners,” said Professor Robert Bertini, director of PSU’s Center for Transportation Studies. “It builds on the work that PSU faculty and students are conducting using intelligent transportation strategies in the areas of urban transit, freight, safety, pedestrian and bicycle travel, and livability. This request was a priority for Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) and the support of the region’s transportation leaders is crucial to our work in this area.”

For information on these initiatives contact:
Terry Ann Rohe, University librarian
503-297-1792 (home), 503-725-4521 (office)

Dr. Robert Bertini, director, Center for Transportation Studies
503-224-3804 (home), 503-725-4249 (office)

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Deborah Murdock (503-725-5040)
PSU Government Relations