Spring 2014 Office of Sponsored Programs & Research 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.

Spring 2014 Office of Sponsored Programs & Research Newsletter

Featured Articles

Interim President Jones Establishes $16,000 Fund for Student Research

Learning to Write Grants

Grant/Sponsored Project Readiness:  Assessment Results

Faculty Professional Development Council Request for Proposals

Featured Grant Writers

Take Note! 

Did you know…

Grant Writers Recognized at Ceremony

OSPR Outreach - Fiscal Year 2013-2014

Summer Thoughts.....

Interim President Jones Establishes $16,000 Fund for Student Research

Cal U’s newly created Center for Undergraduate Research is very excited to announce a new program to support student research projects.  Interim President Jones has established a fund for this program by capturing indirect monies associated with outside funding of sponsored programs and research currently underway at Cal U.  This is the initial year of the program and a total of $16,000 is available.

Application for the funding will be in the form of proposals authored by students.  Students who submit proposals must have a faculty sponsor for the proposed research project and may seek up to $3,000 in funding for use in one semester.

A document containing a detailed explanation of the program with guidelines for proposal submission is currently being finalized.  That document was crafted by a task force chaired by Dr. Mark Aune, Honors Program Director, which had faculty representation from all colleges of the university.  It should be available late in March.

Proposals will be accepted this spring for funding during the Fall 2014 semester.  The specific application deadline will appear in the proposal submission documentation, but is projected to be around April 21.  Faculty members should encourage their research students to apply for this funding!

Interim President Jones is committed to support of this program by continuing to collect indirect monies from outside funding sources.  The level of future funding of the program will depend on the total amount of external funding secured by Cal U.  It is anticipated that program funding will remain at least at the level established in this initial year.


Learning to Write Grants

Would you like to learn how to write grant proposals?  Are you interested in learning about federal, state, and private agencies that provide funding to support research and projects?  If YES, consider applying for the 2014 Grant Writers Fellows Program.  The fellows program has not operated for a few years due to funding deficiencies, but this year the President has made funds available to support this important program, which invests in enhancing the skills and capabilities of faculty and staff. 

Immediately after the Spring 2014 semester, OSPR will conduct the 2014 version of the Grant Writers Fellows Program. The program will continue to pursue its goal of preparing new principal investigators and project directors to optimize their chances of successfully competing in peer-reviewed grant application processes. 

Although the program has not been funded since 2011, it has continued to pay dividends for the investment Cal U made in enhancing prospective grants writers' skills and capabilities.  Over the four years that the program operated, 42 faculty and staff members became grant fellows.  Here are a few quick statistics on the results:

Number of fellows who have participated in at least one grant proposal = 32 (75%)
Number of funded proposals in which fellows participated = 61
Cost of operating the fellows program over four years = $100,000
Total external funding secured = $1,175,344
Weighted external funding secured = $945,209 (accounting for PI and Co-PI situations)
Return on investment = $11.75 (total), $9.45 (weighted)

For every dollar spent to operate the program, $11.75 (or $9.50 using the weighting) has been returned to the university to support research, provide services, purchase instrumentation and technology, and enhance the university's ability to achieve its mission.

In 2014 funding is available to support training for about one dozen more grant fellows.  The three-day training, scheduled for May 14, 15 and 16, will be provided by successful Cal U grant writers and grant experts from Hanover Research.  Grant fellows will be compensated for successfully completing the program.  See application for details.  The application deadline for the 2014 Grant Writers Fellows Program is April 9, 2014.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact OSPR.

Grant/Sponsored Project Readiness:  Assessment ResultsAssessment Note

In the fall 2013 OSPR newsletter, a "teaser" article was written about an assessment taking place across colleges in an effort to increase the awareness of sponsored projects and research.  This assessment is part of the OSPR's strategic plan goal to foster a campus culture that is conductive to grants. 

The assessment listed several questions directed to department chairs to rank their opinion of various categories, for instance, 94 percent of department chairs think that faculty are willing to work with students in research/sponsored projects.  – more –

Analysis of Assessment Scores – University Wide:  The ranking measure for this survey was 1-5 with one being the lowest score and five being the highest score.  A moderate (average score) would be three. This data has been compiled and analyzed with the expertise of Dr. Melissa Sovak from the Mathematics, Computer Science and Information Systems Department. 


Survey Item Percent Ranking Below Moderate Response Percent Ranked at Moderate Response Percent Ranking above Moderate Response
Rank the priority of research/sponsored projects for department faculty. 35% 47% 18%
Rank the willingness of faculty to work with students in research/sponsored projects. 6% 0% 94%
Rank the skills and abilities of faculty to perform research/sponsored projects. 0% 18% 82%
Rank the level of research/sponsored projects that could be conducted using current labs/facilities. 6% 35% 59%
Rank the level of research/sponsored projects that could be conducted using current technology. 6% 41% 53%
Rank the level of department chair concern when the faculty engages in research/sponsored projects. 59% 12% 29%
Rank the probability that faculty will pursue research/sponsored projects. 24% 24% 53%
Rank the probability that faculty will follow-through on research/sponsored projects. 12% 0% 88%

Analysis of Assessment Scores – College of Science & Technology, College of Education and Human Services, and College of Liberal Arts:

It is the opinion of a significant majority of department chairpersons that there is a moderately high to high willingness of faculty to work with students in research projects.  A majority of department chairs also indicate that probability of faculty pursuing research/sponsored project is moderately high to high.A majority of department chairs indicate that faculty follow-through on these projects is moderately high to high.  Chairperson confidence in faculty's abilities to perform research is also high, with a significant majority of chairpersons indicating faculty ability to be moderately high to high.  A majority of chairpersons also feel that facilities are conducive to supporting moderately high to high levels of research.  Interestingly, these also show, however, that priority of research is only low to moderate, with a significant majority of chairpersons indicating this.

Analysis of Assessment Scores – College-by-College:

Significant majorities of faculty in all three colleges indicate a moderately high to high willingness to engage with students in research projects.  In two of the three colleges, a majority of department chairpersons indicated moderately high to high probabilities of faculty pursuing research.A majority also indicated moderately high to high probabilities of faculty follow-through on these projects.  In one college, a majority of department chairpersons indicated low to moderate probability of the pursuit of research/sponsored projects by faculty, however, a majority felt there was a moderately high to high probability of follow-through on attempted projects.  In all colleges, a majority of chairpersons felt that faculty ability was moderately high to high (significant majority in two colleges) and in two colleges, a majority of chairpersons felt the facilities supported moderately high to high levels of research.  In no college was the priority of research/sponsored projects indicated to be moderately high to high.  The highest indication of moderately high to high priority was 40%.  The other two colleges indicated results significantly below a majority.

Generally speaking, when asked about the specific needs, improvements, and/or barriers that would assist faculty in pursuing sponsored projects/research, or cause them to not pursue sponsored projects/research, the most often mentioned comments included:

Faculty Professional Development Council Request for Proposals

The PA State System of Higher Education Faculty Professional Development Council (PASSHE FPDC) offered two grant opportunities for faculty.  The first is the Annual Grant Program which is generally intended to provide professional growth opportunities for individual faculty.  The second is a new opportunity known as the Innovation in Teaching and Improvement of Student Learning Outcomes.  Both opportunities are to provide professional development, however the Innovative grant requirements are additionally to gain expertise in – to learn – innovative methods of teaching that improve student learning outcomes.  Both of these opportunities were announced via email and through the general Cal U Announcement system.  More....

The PASSHE FPDC Annual Grant allowed each System University to submit up to 16 grants with a maximum award of $10,000 each.  The Cal U FPDC Grants Subcommittee reviewed nine proposals that totaled nearly $80,000. Two of the proposals provide for cross-college collaboration.

The PASSHE FPDC Innovation in Teaching Grant allowed for two proposals per university and had a maximum award of $10,000.  The Cal U FPDC Grants Subcommittee reviewed four proposals totaling nearly $38,500 and had the difficult task of choosing only two to move forward.

The OSPR wishes "Good Luck!" to each faculty member or faculty team that submitted a proposal.  The PASSHE FPDC proposal awardees will be announced later this spring.  Watch for an article this summer that announces Cal U's awardees.  Now is the time to start thinking about ideas for writing a proposal for the next funding cycle!

FPDC Proposals by College

Note: In the instance of cross-college collaboration, the college of the project director was used.

Featured Grant Writers

Drs. Mitchem and Kossar

Drs. Katherine Mitchem and Kalie Kossar, Special Education, have accepted an invitation from the U.S. Department of Education to serve as program reviewers for the Montclair State University “Critical Friends” program.  Just one month ago, the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education invited Drs. Mitchem and Kossar to present on their grant project at the annual convention of the Council for Exceptional Children, the premier professional organization in special education.  Drs. Mitchem and Kossar were asked to present at the conference and serve as program reviewers due to the excellent reputation and experience they have gained in building and administering their grant program “HQ-TEEMS (Highly Qualified Teachers in Exceptional Education, Math and Science)”, in which they have served as Co-PIs for several years.



 Take Note! 

The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research (OSPR) is available to assist you in applying for funding from private foundations or corporations.

The Grant Services Agreement, along with processes and procedures, between the University and Foundation enables Cal U faculty and staff to work with the OSPR when seeking funding from a private foundation, such as the Benedum Foundation or the Heinz Endowments or a corporation, such as CONSOL, or corporate foundations, such as Cardinal Health.  Information on private foundations in the region is available at Foundation.  If you are interested in pursuing private funding, please be sure to contact the OSPR. 

Did you know…

Faculty can earn workload incentives to write grant proposals?

The President’s Incentive for Sponsored Programs in Research, Education, and Service (INSPIRES) is available to faculty members interested in grant writing.  This program provides workload incentives to faculty grant writers who seek funding from external funding sources.  If you are interested in this reward program, the detailed guidelines are available at the President’s INSPIRES Program.

Workload Equivalencies are available each semester for grant writing and proposal development?

The WKEs for Grant Writing/Development three-year pilot program enables faculty members to apply for a 3-credit WKE during a fall or spring semester to provide time for developing and writing a competitive proposal for a large sponsored program or research.  If you are interested in learning more about program, the detailed guidelines are available at the WKE for Grant Writing/Development.

Help in grant writing and proposal development is available from Hanover Grants?Hanover Research

Cal U has contracted with Hanover Grant Development Services to provide assistance in procuring grant funds.  Their services include multi-faceted project development, comprehensive grant-writing assistance, identification of suitable grant opportunities, assistance with post-award compliance, strategic outreach to, and relationship cultivation with, federal, corporate, and foundation contacts, assessment and overhaul of previously rejected proposals, and ensuring project sustainability.  In addition, Hanover generates a weekly email alert of funding opportunities.  If you are interested in receiving this alert, please contact the OSPR.          


Grant Writers Recognized at Ceremony

Highlights of the Grant Writers Recognition Ceremony 2013 included the presentation of two new awards for outstanding grantsmanship and the recognition of two new Million Dollar Achievers.  Dr. Katherine Mitchem, of the Department of Special Education became the University's first recipient of the President's Award for Outstanding Grantsmanship.  Dr. Kyle Fredrick, of the Department of Earth Sciences, became the University's first recipient of the Provost's Award for Outstanding Grantsmanship.  Professors John Kula and Laura Giachetti, from the Department of Academic Development Services, were honored as Million Dollar Achievers. For additional information, you can view the article in the December 9, 2013 edition of the Cal U Journal. 

Dr. Katherine Mitchem receives President's Outstanding Grantsmanship award from Interim President JonesDr. Kyle Fredrick receives Provost's Outstanding Grantsmanship Award from Interim President Jones.Professors John Kula and Laura Giachetti are recognized as 'Million Dollar Achievers' by Interim President Jones.

OSPR Outreach - Fiscal Year 2013-2014

The OSPR has been busy this year launching new outreach initiatives as well as continuing existing programs.  Following is a brief overview of the programs as well as attendance data.

Benefits of Grantsmanship – During the fall semester Cheryl Vogrig and Donna Gilmore visited six academic departments providing a brief overview of the “Benefits of Grantsmanship” to 57 faculty and staff.   
Lunch and Learn – The OSPR staff interacted with over 30 faculty and staff members during the informal brown bag lunch sessions which were held monthly throughout the fall semester.
Hanover Webinars – Cal U and the OSPR has been working with Hanover Grants, a global research and grant writing firm, to enhance and enrich our grant writing resources.  During the fall semester 34 faculty and staff members participated in a 3-part series of training webinars conducted by Hanover Grants.      


Summer Thoughts - Writing Grants?
Summer Thoughts.....

As this harsh winter releases its hold on us, our thoughts turn to summertime, warmer weather, and maybe, more time to relax and "think...."

The OSPR would like to suggest that you 'think..." about grant writing.   Perhaps you have an idea for a project that you just keep pushing to the back burner.  Summertime is a great time to bring it to the front!  The OSPR is staffed all summer and available to help you search for funding sources, brainstorm ideas, plan your budget and organize your proposal.

Please contact us anytime at 724-938-1662 to discuss your ideas.  We want to hear from you!