SOE News

School gaining traction with investments in research support

The School of Education has made strategic investments in its research enterprise, leading to increased grant activity and funding for educational research.

“Our faculty lead exciting research agendas that generate important new understandings and solutions around the most difficult problems in education,” said Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean. “It’s important that we identify and pursue ways in which we can support and amplify that work.”

During the past three years, the School has:

  • Embarked on a comprehensive faculty hiring program aimed at attracting scholars who address critical topics of education and have either a strong record of success in winning external funding or the promise of success in winning funding. Six new faculty members joined the School in 2018 and nine more have been hired to join the School in the coming year.
  • Rebuilt staff support for the research enterprise, including the hiring of business operations personnel with proven experience helping faculty apply for, win and administer grant funding. School of Education faculty now enjoy the support of full-time pre-award and post-award administrators.
  • More thoroughly identified, accounted for and reported faculty grant activity.
  • Bolstered support to faculty who are new to grant proposal development, while also better supporting faculty who have already been active in pursuing grants.

Jill Hamm, a faculty member with exceptional scholarly expertise and a record of success in attracting grant support, took on the newly created position of associate dean for research and faculty development in which she works to help guide grant application activity and to support faculty members in their efforts to seek external funding. Among her efforts, Hamm has organized and led proposal-writing workshops, working both with faculty across all ranks, junior faculty and faculty who have already been active in pursuing external funding.

“We have seen a substantial expansion of faculty submitting grant proposals,” Hamm said.

These factors helped lead to a 55 percent increase in reported research expenditures in the 2017-18 fiscal year over the prior year.

In fiscal year 2017, 100 percent of assistant professors submitted at least one grant proposal, Hamm said, more than five times an earlier established goal. Also, submitting grant proposals were 54 percent of associate professors, 22 percent of full professors and 31 percent of clinical professors.

“We have been given more and diverse resources that go into putting together proposals,” Hamm said. “Those investments are paying off.”