Summer 2015 Newsletter

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A image of Dixon Hall where the Sponsored Research and Grants office is located.A image of Dixon Hall where the Sponsored Research and Grants office is located.

OSPR Summer 2015 Newsletter


FPDC Annual and Innovative Grant Programs

The PASSHE Faculty Professional Development Council (FPDC) Annual and Innovative Grant Competitions, released in October 2014 and awarded in April 2015, resulted in 7 awards for Cal U.  Six of the awards were under the annual grant (or 60% of submissions) and 1 award was under the innovative grant (or 50% of submissions).  Below is a list of the faculty who were awarded and a short synopsis of their projects in alphabetical order. 

FPDC Annual Grant Awardees:

Dr. Weifeng Chen (Mathematics, Computer Science, Information Technology) – A Novel Authentication Framework to Protect Smartphones.  This project will develop a novel authentication framework for locking and unlocking cell phones using variable-factor authentication.

Dr. Justin Hackett and Dr. Holiday Adair (Psychology) – Needs Assessment for the Child and Family Studies Institute.  This project will use a needs assessment to identify the unmet needs of communities in southwestern PA.

Dr. Sarah Meiss (Biological and Environmental Sciences) – Creating a Community (Local) Based Food System in Southwestern Pa Tri-County Area.  This project will develop and maintain a community based food system in southwestern PA using the SAI Farm and Cal U students.

Dr. Dawn Moeller (Student Affairs) – Piloting a new “Hive Experience” program on a college campus: Does assigning a residence hall friendship group and fostering group cohesiveness result in better adaption to college?  A research project to determine if being placed in a “hive” (here defined as a group of peers in their residence hall in which group cohesion is actively fostered) improves students’ adjustment to college.

Dr. Keat Murray (English) – This project will repatriate to the Haudenosaunee people several hundred names and historical notes contained in Beauchamp’s Papers by rendering the collection into a searchable digital form, which, in turn, will be delivered to Six Nations Polytechnic for their archival, instructional, and cultural purposes.

Dr. Kimberly Vanderlaan (English) – Directed Reading of Literature Improves Brain Functioning and Test Scores in Local High School Students.  This project will present directed methodologies to 10th grade English teacher(s) to supplement the existing high school curriculum. These activities will prepare students for the state tests in April as well as develop improved higher order thinking skills that will be applicable to all further studies.

FPDC Innovative Grant Awardee:

Drs. Denise Joseph, Samantha Procaccini and Nancy Carlino (Communication Disorders) – The effect of the Supervision, Questioning, Feedback (SQF) Model on critical thinking skills in speech language pathology graduate students. This project will study the effect of Supervision, Questioning, Feedback (SQF) Model in the field of speech-language pathology.

 Congratulations to all awardees.

Professional development, as defined by FPDC, “involves the acquisition of knowledge and/or development of skills related to some aspect of the faculty member’s professional responsibilities.  The learning may involve increasing knowledge in one’s discipline or a related discipline or of the interrelationships among disciplines – or knowledge about how students learn, about issues facing colleagues in business or basic education or another professional field, or about national trends and issues in higher education.”

 If you are a faculty member that has a particular area of interest that you would like to further develop, it is time to start thinking about a project idea.  We anticipate the announcement for the Annual/Innovative Grant Programs will be released in early fall.  Contact OSPR at x1662 if you have an idea that you would like to discuss.  Fall will be here before we know it!

WKE's for Grant Writing Development

This pilot incentive program, now in Year Three, provides an opportunity for a grant writer to secure a 3-credit Workload Equivalency (WKE) during a fall or spring semester to provide time for developing and writing a competitive proposal for a larger sponsored program or research.

The following faculty members were awarded three credits of work release to write and develop grants during the first two years of the program, WKE’s for Grant Writing/Development.

Fall/2015 – Dr. Kimberly Woznack, Chemistry and Physics
Fall/2015 – Dr. Marta McClintock-Comeaux, History and Political Science
Fall/2015 – Dr. Ayanna Lyles, Health Science 

Drs. Woznack, McClintock-Comeaux, and Lyles will be submitting a proposal in January, 2016, to the National Science Foundation (NSF) program ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers, Institutional Transformation (IT).

Fall/2014 - Dr. Barbara Hess, Mathematics, Computer Science and Information Systems

Dr. Hess submitted a proposal requesting over $1.1 million to the NSF program, Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program in March, 2015. This program provides funding to support talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science teachers

Fall/2014 – Dr. Kimberly Woznack, Chemistry and Physics
Fall/2014 – Dr. Marta McClintock-Comeaux, History and Political Science

Drs. Woznack and McClintock-Comeaux submitted a proposal to the NSF program ADVANCE: Partnerships for Learning and Adaptation Networks: Institutions of Higher Education (PLAN IHE) in September, 2014.  This program aims to increase the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. 

Please note: Applications for theSpring 2016 semester are now being accepted. The deadline for applying is 3:00 pm, Monday, October 12, 2015.  Questions?  Please call the OSPR at Ext. 1662.


The President’s Incentive for Sponsored Programs in Research, Education, and Service (INSPIRES) enters year 3 of the pilot test. INSPIRES is designed to provide incentives to stimulate grant writing. The program has three primary objectives:  generate more grant proposals, engage more grant writers, and increase grant proposal dollar amounts. During the first two years of the pilot, the number of proposals increased 12%, the number of grant writers increased 29%, and the dollar amount proposed increased 39%. Year over year the number of grant awards associated with INSPIRES decreased by one and the total dollars awarded declined 16%, but there are still seven grant proposals related to the INSPIRES program that are pending a decision by the funding agency.   At June 30, 2016 an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program will be conducted.  Funding available during the pilot period is anticipated to be $30,000 and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. See INSPIRES.

Developing SMART Objectives

Developing specific and measurable objectives requires time, orderly thinking, and a clear understanding of the results expected from program activities. The more specific your objectives are, the easier it will be to demonstrate success. The first and most important question is why are you requesting the grant? The second key question is what are you expecting to achieve? Thirdly, you will need to know what you anticipate to obtain after all the money has been spent, which will be the goal of the project. The goal is the beginning and the end of your proposal; it is the totality of your request. A SMART objective, on the other hand, will describe how you will achieve your goal, and is Specific, Measurable, Realistic and Time-bound.  

Unless the directions in the Request for Proposal (RFP) specify otherwise, you will probably have three objectives that will answer the following questions:

Who will benefit? Who will be the target population that will benefit most from the program? If, for example, your objective is to reduce obesity by 10% in a certain population, you will have to be precise about the level of obesity, the age of the population, and other exact factors that relate to your group.

Who will participate? Explaining the criteria you’ll use to select participants and how you will handle those who must be turned away, will further define and clarify your population. If your selection is mandatory, then there is no need for an explanation, but if it is not, your choice will need to be justified.

How many will participate? Describing how many will participate and benefit from your intervention adds an additional component to the objective. It is important to state the sample size of your target population and why you decided on that number.

What is the time period of your intervention? How long it takes to achieve your objective will be determined by your approach, sample size, and number of activities.

What is the approach you will use? Evidence-based approaches are most desirable for they are validated by substantial evidence derived from rigorous research. For example, what evidence demonstrates the relationship between exercise and reducing fatigue as a side effect of cancer treatment?

Below are three illustrations of incomplete and complete objectives:

Example 1

Incomplete objective: Increase the mentoring of students who do not meet the standardized reading criteria.

Complete Objective: Increase the reading level of 500 students to meet the state level of standardized reading via three one-on-one, two hour per week mentoring programs, over a six month period. By the end of the grant, 500 children will be able to read at the standardized state level for their age group.

Example 2

Incomplete objective: Develop an environmental health data management plan.

Complete Objective: Develop an information management plan by July 31, 2016 that describes how to identify, store, analyze, and collect environmental health data.

Example 3

Incomplete learning objective: Reduce the obesity rate of all adults enrolled in the obese reduction program at Good Samaritan Hospital by 10%.

Complete learning objective: Reduce the obesity rate of disabled adults ages 18 years and older, who are enrolled in the obese reduction program at Good Samaritan Hospital by 10% by December 31, 2016.

Setting measurable objectives is the cornerstone of the strategic approach you need to take to execute your proposal. These objectives will be developed following research and situation analysis and will determine your activities, timeline, personnel, and budget. All too often, incomplete objectives lead to incomplete evaluations and outcomes. Specific, Measurable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART) objectives define the direction of your proposal.

Reprinted with permission from an article dated May 18, 2015 by Mathilda Harris.

Harris, M (2015). Developing SMART Objectives. Grant Training Center. 18 May 2015.  Accessed 8 July 2015.

OSPR Annual Report 2014-2015 - A Snapshot

Thanks to the efforts of faculty and staff, the OSPR submitted 75 proposals totaling $5,898,703 during fiscal year 2014 – 2015.  Cal U received notification of 36 awards totaling $2,356,287 for projects to support research, instruction, and service.   Compared to the same period, one-year earlier: 1) the number of proposal submitted increased by 97%; 2) the dollar amount of proposals submitted increased by 175%; 3) the number of awards increased by 38%; and, 4) the dollar amount of awards increased by 122%.  The annual report is available at OSPR Annual Report 2014-15.

OSPR Deadlines and Upcoming Events - Fall 2015 Semester

Important   Deadlines!  Fall 2015 semester

Due Date




Guttman Grant Program

Applications due to Donna Gilmore at by 3:00 pm


WKE for Grant Writing/Development

Applications due to Cheryl Vogrig at by 3:00 pm

OSPR -Lunch and   Learn Sessions



Location and Time


October 2015

Understanding Administrative Processes


Donna Gilmore, Post-Award Administrator

November 2015

FPDC Update


Cheryl Vogrig, Director

OSPR Outreach




Location and Time


Walk in Wednesdays

Cheryl Vogrig or Donna Gilmore

Dixon Hall, Room 425

OSPR Strategic Plan 2015-2018

During the Spring 2015 semester a subcommittee of OSPR Advisory Board members (Dr. Shelly DiCesaro, Ms. Donna George, Dr. Daniel Harris, Dr. Mario Majcen and Dr. Cindy Persinger) joined the OSPR staff members to develop the OSPR Strategic Plan for the next three years.  The plan was finalized and approved by the OSPR Advisory Board on April 23, 2015.  The five goals address the need to expand external funding to support research, teaching and service.  See Strategic Plan.