Research Enhancement Plan

A cooperative program between COAS and ORSP to encourage research and grant-proposal submissions in Arts and Sciences.


The College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Office, in cooperation with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and individual departments in the college, fund proposals for course releases and for research budgets as one means to enhance focus on research, research productivity, and on acquisition of grant funds.  The projects may be in any Arts and Sciences discipline; they must result in an external grant application, a high-quality scholarly publication (or submission of a paper to a first-class journal), or a work of similar scholarly merit.  Proposals may be submitted by any tenure-line faculty member.  

Applications are submitted first to department chairs who consider both the merits of the proposal and the availability of departmental resources that may be committed to applications.  Chairs then send to the dean’s office those awards they wish to recommend, in ranked order if the chair prefers.  Awards are decided by the dean and the associate deans.  Course releases are assigned subject to the needs of the department. 

The College makes between 5 to 10 awards in the following two categories:

(1) Course Releases.  an award of $1000, matched by $1000 from the applicant's department and by $1000 by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, that is used to provide a course release for the faculty member.  Whether the release is taken in Spring or Fall is decided by the department chair.  (No course release can be authorized in the same term in which a faculty member receives an overload.)

(2) Monetary Awards.  an award of $500, matched by $500 from the applicant's department and by $500 by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (for a total monetary award of $1500), that may be used as a budget for research expenses or research-related travel (but not as a salary supplement).  

Preference in making the awards will be given to projects that do not benefit from other sources of support.  Since funding for this program will come partially from dollars generated by prior grant activity, some of the awards likely will go to projects resulting in grant applications.  

Applicants submit to their department chairs an application packet consisting of the following items (double-spaced, 12-point Times-Roman or close equivalent):

  • One page project description, Half page description of the significance of the project both to the applicant’s research agenda and as a contribution to the discipline, 
  • Half page budget (in the case of a monetary award application) and timeline,
  • Contact information and signature of applicant, and 
  • (for the forwarded applications) Signature of departmental chair, indicating a commitment of the departmental matching funds, along with whatever comments the chair wishes to offer. 

  Deadline for submission of applications to the dean’s office is late August. Awards are announced by September 15 to allow time for awards to be considered in the scheduling for Spring Semester.   


2016-17 Awardees:

Natasha V Christie (Political Science & Public Administration) --research budget -- "Obama's Rhetoric: Confronting Race in the age of Post-Racialism"

Laura Heffernan (English) -- course release -- "The Teaching Archive: A New History of Literary Study"

Amy L Lane (Chemistry) -- research budget -- "Marine Natural Products as Inhibitors of Fungal Biofilms"

Hannah R Malcolm (Chemistry) -- course release -- "Identification of the pH Sensor in E. coli MscS"

David Sheffler (History) -- course release -- "The Myths of the Middle Ages"

Jenny Stuber (Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work)  -- research budget -- "Precarity and Power: How the Middle Class Navigate Inequality amid Affluence"

Daniel J Watkins (History) -- research budget -- "The Making of Conservative Catholicism: Isaac-Joseph Berruyer, The Society of Jesus, and the Enlightenment in France, 1700-1830"  


 For more information about this program, please contact David Fenner at 


Previous Research Enhancement Plan Awardees