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New research center opens in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) opened the Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (RSCA) Center for Excellence this fall. The center “offers support, technical assistance, training and coaching for faculty who want to expand or enhance their research efforts and who want to access external funding.”

Placing the center in Wagner Hall 204 provides a central location for faculty to visit when in need of assistance. While the space is being developed, efforts to support and sustain faculty in their RSCA efforts are underway as deadlines for several key grants are quickly approaching.

There are several members of the team who assist in different capacities within the research center. Mary Emery, professor of sociology and rural studies, was selected as the Dean’s Fellow for RCSA and leads the center. In this role, Emery creates support structures for faculty, works to increase the number of grants applied for and provides training to faculty who are interested in expanding their research, scholarship and creative activity.

Chris Francis, grant proposal specialist for the CAHSS and the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, also works with faculty to prepare their grants, meet proposal deadlines and obtain funding from sources that can help fulfill their research goals. Jason Zimmerman, associate dean of the CAHSS, and Dennisse Bedard, post-award grant specialist, complete the support team for the research center.

An initiative that launched this fall was the formation of the first collaborative scholarship group in the center. The idea for collaborative scholarship groups was first developed by the College of Education and Human Sciences and the faculty within the CAHSS have joined in. By developing a cohort, faculty across schools and departments can connect to pursue research on shared interests. Several groups have formed this semester, with more planning on connecting for future projects. Francis emphasized the importance of these groups, stating, “They provide another means for the CAHSS to connect our faculty to resources and opportunities which further support and recognize the quality research, scholarship and creative activity they all do.”

Lynn Sargeant, dean of the CAHSS, said the center will provide faculty the resources necessary to sustain their work. “Faculty in the College do truly impactful research, scholarship and creative activity. However, they sometimes find it difficult to navigate the process of finding financial support for their work,” said Sargeant. “The new center provides faculty with focused support to develop grant seeking skills and to develop and submit effective proposals. It is very exciting to launch this initiative!”