Research and Scholarly Engagement

ACADEMY FOR RESEARCH AND SCHOLARLY ENGAGEMENT (2012-2017)
Using funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education Title III, Part B program, a year-long program was established to assist junior and mid-career faculty in the development of fundable grant proposals and in the building of a community of scholars across the JSU campus. This program included five cohorts of faculty with representation from all academic colleges and schools at the university. Keys to the success of the program were the community based approach and the mentoring provided by senior Jackson State University faculty with established records of funded research.

Purpose
The Academy prepared scholars to become principal investigators with externally funded projects through a year-long series of workshops that guide faculty through the steps of the grant proposal development process. Another purpose of the Academy was to build communities of scholars

Audience
The Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement welcomed all tenured and tenure-track faculty interested in pursuing external funding for research and participating in a community of scholars.

Design

  • Goals:
  • • Increase faculty engagement with federal agencies and foundations;
  • • Increase collaborations and interactions across disciplines;
  • • Provide access to Research and Scholarly Engagement Coaches to assist faculty members in developing meaningful research and scholarly agendas, in developing and submitting successful grant proposals, and in developing multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research and scholarly projects and papers; and
  • • Develop a more highly energized community of scholars at the University.

 

  • Objectives:
  • • To assist junior and mid-career faculty in establishing an active research agenda, including making grant-writing a regular part of their scholarly productivity.
  • • To ensure that all participants complete training in proposal development.
  • • To establish task-specific mentoring relationships between junior faculty and experienced PIs.
  • • To provide research support for faculty participants who complete the program.
  • • To develop a model for university-wide support for faculty seeking external funding for research.

 

  • Activities:
  • • Workshops in which experienced PIs explained proposal development steps.
  • • Online webinar and peer review of proposal elements for faculty participants.
  • • Meetings and webinars with program officers to introduce faculty participants to the proposal review process.
  • • Interactions with sponsored research office staff to familiarize faculty participants with the proposal submission process.
  • • End-of-year presentations by faculty participants of their proposals.

 
IMPACT

  • Outcomes:
  • • The program assisted 107 scholars in completing training in proposal writing. Those scholars came from every academic unit on campus and included 59 female and 48 male faculty members, which suggests that the program did a great job overall of reaching out to faculty generally under-represented in research.
  • • During the program, one hundred-thirteen proposals were submitted, and after completing their Academy training, scholars submitted a total of fifty-seven additional proposals. The proposals selected for external funding to date have generated over $5.5 million for research to be conducted at Jackson State University.

 

LESSONS LEARNED

  • • The most productive faculty participants were those with clear research goals and at least one specific solicitation in mind prior to beginning the program. Those faculty who joined the program without those elements spent much of the first few months defining their research interests and coming to understand the funding environment. While both of those activities are important, the faculty participants were often unable to complete their proposal by the end of the program year.
  • • Five of the faculty participants went through the program twice, and for faculty who are new to grant writing, this repeat experience seemed to be very valuable in preparing them to be independent grant writers. Some faculty members who repeated wanted to be a part of the community of faculty members focusing on scholarship.