Grant to support faculty research
Faculty members can now apply for a grant to help create more research-based undergraduate courses.
The Quality Enhancement Plan Curriculum Development Grant Program was implemented this semester to further integrate research into the undergraduate program.
"We want to change courses or the way they are taught to integrate more research," said Veronique Tran, director of the Office of Undergraduate Discovery Programs. "Research helps add value to your degree. Knowledge in a degree can change, but if you know how to research then you can keep abreast. It’s more than just Googling."
The majority of undergraduate research takes place on a more in-depth and one-on-one basis, but if the faculty develops these courses it will help bring research into an entire curriculum where more students can take advantage of it, Tran said.
The grant program, which is also part of the University’s Learning Through Discovery Initiative, is just one of many facets of the QEP program, created in 2006 to integrate research into the undergraduate program, Tran said.
After receiving approval from their department chair or college dean, faculty members must submit an application describing the course, skills students will learn and how they will learn them, Tran said.
A task force will evaluate the applications, and approved curriculums will be offered to students starting in the summer or fall semesters of 2009.
"Once those courses have been selected to be funded they will be on the Learning Through Discovery Web site. If the course is successful, then the applicant has to propose how they will sustain the course," Tran said.
Faculty can apply individually or with a partner from the writing program or library.
Associate professor of English David Mazella, who hopes to teach a course based on Literary History of a Single Year, a book he authored on the literary events that shaped the year 1771, partnered with subject librarian Julie Grob to apply for the grant program.
"In the course we have a series of required texts focusing on several cities during that period. We bring out a series of rare books from the period, and the students pick out books from them to do independent research on," Mazella said.
Grob’s background in special books collection is essential to the formation of the course.
"We did this on our own as a pilot project. We’re planning to submit the proposal, and hopefully it will be accepted and then we can get more books," Grob said.
Faculty must submit proposals by Nov. 17, and after the task force’s decision the grants will be awarded depending upon the applicant.
Grants range from $5,000 for individual applicants, $10,000 for teams and $20,000 for colleges or departments.
"The grant money will be used to help pay for assistants, materials and preparation of the course," Tran said.
The Learning Through Discovery Initiative will hold a workshop for faculty interested in learning more about the grant program on Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. in Farish Hall, Kiva Room.
"The purpose is to help faculty who are thinking of developing a course by telling them about the different resources available to them," Tran said.
For more information, visit the online Curriculum Toolbox at www.uh.edu/discovery/CurriculumToolbox.html.