The Connect grant committee will be meeting soon to review submissions for the latest round of funding. The program has been highly successful since its inception in 2014, and has had a profound impact on participating faculty. This effect has been especially notable in early career and pre-tenured faculty seeking to enhance and promote their research, develop networking skills and build important career connections.
I’d like to share a few highlights pulled from a recent report:
Fast facts about Connect grants:
- From 2014 to 2017, there have been 43 Connect grants awarded to 34 faculty members and two departments
- Grants ranged from $1,000 to $12,400
- The program has disbursed a total of $257,603 since its inception
- All nine RIT colleges and GIS have had Connect Grant awardees
- 25 grants went to science, technology, engineering, or math-related (STEM) fields, 10 went to social & behavioral science fields, and 8 went to other fields
- In total, 86 unique faculty members have been involved in these grants and benefited from them, and some faculty have been involved in more than one Connect Grant.
Quotes from past Connect grant recipients:
“I found a lot of support along the way, and made a lot of connections that have been and will continue to be helpful.”
“I’m going up for tenure this year. So, this year, it has profoundly impacted my career. A funded NSF grant goes a long way, since it shows that I can get grants and I can get money.”
“[My network] has broadened and deepened. At a conference I attended, I met numerous people that were interested in my research, and found it to be extremely innovative and relevant. They found it valuable enough that they wanted to continue our conversation. So to me, that was extraordinary…the exposure allowed me to develop relationships that I believe are significant.”
“I was recently approached by a colleague for a journal associate editor. I would not have taken that role a year ago, but putting yourself out there affects your professional standing.”
“We’ve had more opportunities to take on leadership roles because of our Connect grants.”
“We have had good results coming out of the collaborations already. We have submitted joint proposals, joint journal papers and joint research results through this collaboration. These collaborations wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t reached out to these people. This all helped my career a lot.
“Leadership comes from having a degree of confidence and knowing when to back off and move forward. Working on a project like this…that in itself was enough of an experience in that it added to our leadership skills. I can’t definitively say where, but it’s in your portfolio and now you can move forward and tackle what comes.”
Some of the benefits of participation:
- Connections developed because of the Connect Grants led to more research and external grant collaborations, as well as increased visibility. These connections reinforced and expanded participants’ research trajectories.
- Networking impacted grantees’ career advancement overall, by helping with publicity and promotion for their projects, developing community with those more advanced in the promotion and tenure process, and establishing connections that would otherwise not be built. For some, this resulted in new tenure letter writers.
- Participants described building a variety of skills, many of which are essential to career advancement, including communication, leadership, professional, research, and teaching skills.
- Participants expressed that their autonomy as researchers increased as a result of the Connect grant. Junior faculty were able to deepen their engagement in their research area, and foster scholarly partnerships. The grants also offered a space for researchers to shift and expand their research areas.
- Recipients increased the visibility of their projects through developing relationships with other scholars in related fields, promotion through conference presentations, and publications in scholarly, university, and public media sources.
- Recipients shared career advancement outcomes that they viewed as having been influenced by the grant. Outcomes included promotion through the tenure process, taking on editorial responsibility at a journal, stepping into new positions of leadership in their fields, and continuing research projects that led to more grant money.
- Participants were increasingly comfortable seeing themselves as experts in their fields, and were more motivated to share their work with others. Many shared how their value and influence increased as a result, as well as respect in their professional communities.
As shared above, pre-tenure and early career faculty stand to benefit a great deal from the program. I am proud to share the accomplishments of our Connect grant recipients, and strongly encourage faculty to take advantage of this opportunity. More information about the program can be found on the Connect Grants section of the AdvanceRIT website.