This is our third year for the Interdisciplinary Seed Grant program, which aims to encourage our faculty to explore substantive questions across disciplines, departments, colleges and institutions. We’ve seen great success with this and one great example is the Humanities on the Edge Speaker Series. The series has brought in some big name speakers and drawn hundreds to hear them at the Sheldon Museum of Art. They talk about the theoretical edge of humanities and don’t look at a topic strictly from the perspective of English, or history, or another individual discipline but really cut across disciplines. The College invested a significant amount in this series. But considering the number of people it reaches, the payoff has been tremendous.
Our Enhancing Research Excellence grant program is something that came out of our strategic planning process and it fits very well with the Chancellor’s goals of enhancing research in terms of research expenditures and awards. What we’re trying to do here is help faculty members who have an outstanding project that just needs a little help to put it over the top. Maybe they need some money to travel abroad to look at an archive. Maybe they need a reduced teaching assignment for one semester to be able to concentrate on finishing a book or to write a major grant proposal. There’s so much pent up in the College in terms of research potential. It’s just incredible.
We received 14 proposals for that program that are all excellent. That makes our decision very difficult. We spent a fair bit of time yesterday discussing the proposals and we still have to meet again for deliberations just to narrow it down. Because this is the first year for the program, I can’t yet point to any of its successes, but I know it’s going to be successful just by looking at the quality of the proposals.
Finally, many thanks are due to our Associate Dean for Research Greg Snow for formulating and directing these grant programs. It is a lot of work for him but well worth it for the college.