Congratulations to UMW External Grant and Contract Winners and Applicants

UMW faculty and staff have been active and very successful in submitting external grants and contract proposals. Since the last report (August 2017), TWELVE proposals from UMW faculty and staff have successfully achieved funding! Another 16 applications for external funding from 17 faculty and staff members have been processed through the Provost’s Office (some projects had multiple proposers). Congratulations to everyone who received awards and to those who applied. Keep reading to see the list of all successes and applications.

In April 2017, we learned of UMW’s biggest recent success on the external funding front – a $996,215 from the National Science Foundation for a project titled “STEM Talent Expansion through Research, Engagement, Preparation, and Scholarship (STEREPS)II: the Jepson Scholars Program.” The project is to be led by principal investigator (PI) Dianne Baker (Department of Biological Sciences) along with the following persons named on the grant as co-PIs: Nicole Crowder (Department of Chemistry), Chuck Whipkey (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences), and Mary Kayler (Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation). This project will provide four-year scholarships to 20 academically talented and low-income students majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth/environmental science. Key features of the program include an early, 5-week summer research experience prior to the first-year at UMW, a STEM-based first-year seminar, advising, and peer-assisted study sessions (PASS) for gateway science classes, and continuing intensive research experiences with faculty. Even though you may have seen some publicity about this program already, it’s a big deal and is worth the repetition.

In July, Parrish Waters (Department of Biological Sciences) learned that his $100,000 proposal to the Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research was awarded. His project is “Visualizing big data to determine the effects of physical exercise on social ethology, social rank and neurophysiology in laboratory mice.” Parrish is teaming with two UMW collaborators on the project: Dave Stahlman (Department of Psychological Science) and Jennifer Polack (Department of Computer Science). The project involves a study of the social behaviors and interactions of laboratory mice and the extent to which voluntary wheel running by the mice might influence social behaviors and social rank of the mice studied.

Also in July, Rita Thompson (Rappahannock Scholars Program) learned that Wells Fargo had renewed a $5,000 grant to the program. The grant provides operating funds for the program, which is a partnership between UMW and six high schools in the Northern Neck region of Virginia.  Since 2007, the program has worked to encourage college level study for a select group of talented and hard working students by providing the support and guidance throughout high school necessary to help the students achieve high academic standards and be fully prepared for success in college. For those who meet all necessary program criteria, admission to UMW is guaranteed following high school graduation.

In August, UWM received another large award, this time from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dan Preston (James Monroe Papers) was awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant to produce volumes seven and eight of the Monroe Papers (covering the time span April 1814-March 1821). This is the third consecutive award Dan has achieved from the NEH for this project – a remarkable feat. The grant funds provide support for salary and benefits for the editor, an associate editor (both full time), an editorial assistant (part-time), and student aides. The goal of the project is to present the history of Monroe’s life and era with minimal editorial intrusion, using annotations where additional information is needed to provide background and context.

August was a banner month for the College of Education. First, Jennifer Walker learned that her grant proposal to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) for “Special Education Teacher Support Grant for Regions 3 and 4” was awarded in the amount of $34,670. The grant provides tuition support and resources enabling up to 14 provisionally licensed special education teachers teaching in Superintendent’s Regions 3 and 4 to work toward obtaining their professional collegiate licensure during the 2017-2018 academic year. The project’s goals are to increase the teacher’s knowledge of evidence-based classroom management strategies and to increase their abilities to successfully employ them. UMW has received a similar grant in the past but this is the first time Jennifer has been the project lead.

Next, Venitta McCall and Courtney Clayton (from COE), along with Debbie Hydorn (CAS, Department of Mathematics), learned that VDOE had awarded them $42,874 for the “Pathways to Excellence, Clinical Faculty Program at the University of Mary Washington.” The project will assist student teachers and beginning teachers to make successful transitions into full-time teaching. UMW is partnering with several local school divisions to provide this training for 30 new and eight returning clinical faculty. This is the third year in a row that UMW has been awarded a Clinical Faculty Program grant from VDOE!

COE’s winning streak continued in September when Patricia Reynolds was notified that VDOE had issued her an additional $20,196 award to offer an additional online section of TESL 532 to educators of English Learners. VDOE previously awarded Pat a grant in January for the first section (both courses ran in the fall 2017 semester). This made the TENTH award Pat had achieved under VDOE’s ongoing project to meet the state professional development requirements for Title III under the “Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.” That’s right, the 10th award. The course helps students (teachers) develop the knowledge and skills needed for dealing with the complex and controversial issues of language education for English Language Learners (ELLs) in the United States.

Our next external funding awards came about in October. Lauren McMillan (Department of Historic Preservation) was notified that the Virginia Department of Historic Resources had awarded her $4,99.23 for analysis of archaeological and archival information relating to the Nomini (Nominy) Plantation site, located in Westmoreland County. The site was established in 1647 and presently contains an 18th-century brick mansion and a 17th-century refuse midden and brick foundation. While the site was excavated in the 1970s, no formal report was ever written. Although she previously served as an adjunct faculty member (and is a UMW alum), Lauren has the distinction of successfully achieving external project support in her first semester as a full-time faculty member!

Also in October, Brian Rizzo (Department of Geography and Director of the GIS Program) completed negotiation on a $5,465 memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Fauquier County School System. Under the terms of the agreement, UMW presented five, three-hour WebGIS professional development sessions in order to provide up to 15 Fauquier County teachers with the fundamental understanding of geospatial technologies and how these technologies can be introduced into the class room. The sessions were delivered in November and December on the Stafford campus. This is a follow-up to a prior successful MOU with Fauquier County Schools last April.

Again in October, Eric Gable (Department of Sociology and Anthropology) had a sub-contract transferred to him by George Mason University to contribute to a project titled “Co-Arg: Cogent Argumentation System with Crowd Elicitation.” This five-year contract for $17,013.41 was previously awarded to a UMW adjunct faculty member who had to decline participation in the project.

In November, Steve Hanna (Department of Geography) learned that he was awarded $10,000 a year for a four-year term to serve as the Cartography Editor for the American Association of Geography journals. His role will be to provide figure assessment for three journals: Annals of the American Association of Geographers, The Professional Geographer, and GeoHumanities.

Finally, also in December, and just under the wire before we head off for the semester break, Emile Lester (Department of Political Science and International Affairs) was awarded a $40,000, three-year sub-contract from the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute to conduct research on the state of Georgia’s 3Rs Project to independently assess the effectiveness of that project as a demonstration model of religious literacy and religious liberty in Georgia public school districts. The project is expected to culminate in a series of publications and conference presentations to disseminate the results of the research.

These are terrific accomplishments, and great news for UMW. Sincerest congratulations – again – to everyone who had a proposal that earned external funding. Competition for these awards is always rigorous and achieving success takes persistence and ingenuity.

Since the April 2017 Newsletter, the following persons have submitted grant or contract proposals. (These projects are in addition to some of the ones listed above that were submitted this year and have been funded.) Developing and submitting proposals takes significant time and effort; it’s important that those efforts be recognized.

*Allyson Poska (Department of History and American Studies) submitted two separate proposals seeking support for her project “Contesting Equality: Smallpox Vaccination in the Spanish Empire (1803-1810).” She sent one proposal for $70,000 in funding to the American Council of Learned Societies. The second proposal, for $6,000, went to the America Philosophical Society. Both proposals requested funding to produce a book-length monograph and a series of scholarly articles.

*Emile Lester (Department of Political Science and International Affairs) submitted a $50,000 proposal to the Spencer Foundation to support his research on “Assessment of the Georgia 3Rs Program.”

*Kelli Slunt (Department of Chemistry and Director of the Honors Program) and Michael Stebar (Department of Biological Sciences) partnered with the Spotsylvania County Public High Schools innovation grant proposal titled “Expanding Partnerships to Enhance Student Learning in the Bio-Medical and Health Services Fields.”

*Marco Millones Mayer (Department of Geography) submitted a $432,596 National Science Foundation proposal for a five-year project titled “Space Beats Time: A Methodological Framework for Assessing Abrupt Change and Recovery in Spatio-Temporal Data Series.” This proposal involves two collaborators from the University of Texas-Dallas who would, if the project is funded, receive a sub-award contract from UMW.

*Debbie Hydorn (Department of Mathematics), Leanna Giancarlo (Department of Chemistry), and Venitta McCall (College of Education) submitted a National Science Foundation proposal for $367,949 to support a three-year project titled “I AM STEM: Identity, Attitude, and Mentoring STEM.”

*Debbie Hydorn also contributed to a NSF grant application from Wesleyan University for a project called “Data-Driven: A flexible, accessible, multidisciplinary superhighway breaking disparities and opening the data analytics economy to everyone.” If funded, UMW would be one of the named “implementation partners” of the project with a funding share of $10,410.

*Dan Preston (James Monroe Papers) submitted a $44,625 proposal to the National Archives and Records Administration for Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions to support continuing work on volumes seven and eight of the Monroe Papers.

*April Wynn (Department of Biological Sciences) submitted a $19,811 collaborative NSF proposal (working with collaborators from Old Dominion University and The College of William and Mary) in order to include the herbarium collection of the University of Mary Washington in SERNEC (Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections).

*Kyle Schultz (College of Education) submitted an $80,634.71 sub-award proposal as part of a NSF grant proposal (working with collaborators from the University of Wisconsin). The project proposes to conduct research on the “ONPAR Algebra Readiness Assessment.”

*Andrew Marshall (Department of Computer Science) submitted a $47,969, three-year, collaborative NSF proposal (working with collaborators from Clarkson University) on “Understanding Symbolic Methods for Cryptographic Algorithm Analysis.”

*Kimberly Young (Executive Director of Continuing/Professional Studies) submitted a $193,000 Mary Ball Washington GO Virginia Region 6 proposal (working with several local government collaborators and the Bay Consortium Workforce Investment Board) to support a scholarship fund for participants to achieve the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) Program Certification.

*April Wynn and Parrish Waters (Department of Biological Sciences) served as faculty sponsors for two student applications to the Virginia Academy of Sciences for Undergraduate Research Grants.

*Ashley Woodard (Office of Admissions) submitted a $1,000 proposal to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) to support a program to provide more exposure of colleges that are less well-known to students in the Richmond, Virginia area.


*Brian Baker (Executive Director, Center for Economic Development) renewed UMW’s commitment to the Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Program for $2,208.96 in in-kind support.

The materials relevant to applying for any external grants or any other form of external funding are available at the External Funding, Grants, and Research web page.  Or from the main page at the Provost’s web site, just look for the heading titled “External Funding, Grants, and Research.”

The list of awards at the web page includes all the awards the Provost’s Office knows about. Usually, we find out that an award was made by following a proposal that was developed and submitted through the process for approving external grant and contract applications before submission. Occasionally grant applications get submitted outside the official approval process, which means that we may have missed an award on our list of awarded grants because we had no prior knowledge of the proposal.  We strongly encourage everyone to work with the Office of the Provost in developing and submitting your grant applications.

If there’s an awarded project missing from this list, please contact the Office of the Provost.  We’d like to recognize your accomplishments.




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