Grants help fund faculty research and innovation
Research funding isn’t just for the ivory tower. Thanks to the Office of Scholarship Support (OSS), all University of Phoenix faculty members, online or at a campus, are eligible to apply for grants to support their own research and innovation.
“We offer these grants to encourage our faculty to make a scholarly inquiry into their discipline, and then bring that to bear in the classroom,” explains Aaron Coe, associate dean of the School of Advanced Studies, which administers the grants program and OSS.
“Whatever kind of research ideas faculty have that can show a clear path toward improving their [teaching] approach in the classroom, we’re open to considering them for grants,” adds Coe, who holds a doctorate in education.
The program, which began in January 2012, so far has awarded a total of $127,900 to 42 recipients, with individual grants ranging from $500 to $5,000, according to Coe. The awards can pay for research-related costs, such as travel expenses, archival access fees, study participant compensation or even compensation to the faculty member for time spent doing research, he explains.
Coe notes that recent awards provided money for a humanities instructor to travel to Harvard University and access its archives to study Emily Dickinson’s use of religious language in her poetry. Another faculty member who teaches in the public administration program researched the effects of HIV and AIDS in small communities in Uganda.
Other grant recipients include a criminal justice instructor who received funding to explore ways to combat terrorism in Latin America in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, while two environmental science instructors received separate grants to study soil-zoning management and prevention of groundwater contamination, according to Coe.
“All of these projects help to deepen the knowledge of the faculty who pursue them, which will benefit students in the classroom,” Coe emphasizes.
Even if instructors are in the earliest stages of developing a research idea, Coe encourages them to reach out to OSS and the School of Advanced Studies for support.
“In addition to processing the grant applications, we can also serve as a resource for helping faculty form their ideas and develop their scholarly abilities,” he notes, pointing out that OSS can provide complimentary access to SPSS® and NVivo® research software programs.
The grants program is ongoing, Coe says. “We’ve yet to be told we’ve broken our budget,” he points out. “As long as we have faculty interested in doing research, we’re looking for ways to support them — and, if appropriate, fund them.”
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