The Connect Grants Overview

The Connect Grants program, currently in its 8th funding round, supports faculty career development and advancement as well as academic unit-level culture change initiatives and faculty recruitment approaches through awarding mini-grants.  Funded projects align with the goals and objectives of the AdvanceRIT programConnect Grants are offered through the AdvanceRIT program within the Office of the Provost with advisory support from Faculty Career Development, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and Sponsored Research Services.  The program’s target audience is all tenured and pre-tenured faculty at RIT and proposals are accepted from individual faculty and from academic units.

As of the fall of 2019, seven past rounds of Connect Grants have been awarded ($330K overall with average award of $5.8K) with 58 awards supporting over 100 unique faculty members. Scholarly products commonly result from this funded effort including funding proposals, peer-reviewed publications, short animations and films, etc.  There have been a total of 143 tenured and pre-tenured faculty awardees serving as grant PIs and Co-PIs over the past seven funding rounds, 80% self-identify as female. Of the 58 awarded grants to date, 93% of PIs self-identify as female. The grant “award rate” overall is 52% (58/111) and the award rate for the last round (Round 7) is 42% (8/19).  Refer to Connect Grant Evaluation and Impact for more information.

The Connect Grants are designed to broaden faculty opportunities and enhance overall career advancement.  Creative unit-level efforts to engage in cultural change, guide and manage faculty through various career stages are encouraged. During this current round, approximately $30K is available for the Connect Grants program with the number of awards depending upon the review and evaluation of the proposals in relation to the posted selection criteria.

Examples of past funded efforts (more detailed examples below):

Networking

  • Strengthen faculty’s professional visibility in national/international networks.
  • Utilize social resources to support the creation and expansion of networks among RIT faculty and within professional disciplines.

Research

  • Support research proposal development or re-submission efforts for external funding.
  • Expand research and/or writing capabilities to enhance competitive proposal development and submissions.
  • Promote interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty internal and external to RIT which could include formal peer-to-peer reciprocal visits to mutual institutions.

Professional Development

  • Sponsor and coordinate a visiting scholar’s colloquium series.
  • Present research at national/regional conferences.
  • Specialized training to support scholarly collaborations.
  • Engage the assistance of an external career/leadership coach.

Community Building and Engagement & Unit-Level

  • Unit-level efforts focused on recruiting and retaining exceptional faculty from broadly diverse backgrounds. 
  • Efforts designed to support organic efforts, organizational development, research to inform change or other self-identified areas of need

     

    Proposal Submission Details

     

    Use the following links for required forms and more information:

    Connect Grants 2019 RFP

    Executive Summary from the AdvanceRIT Annual Faculty Data Report

    Connect Grants 2019 Review Criteria

    Connect Grant 2019 Proposal Template

     

    All proposals shall identify at least one mentor, either internal or external to RIT, and include a description of their role on the proposed project.  See the current RFP for more information.

    Use the Executive Summary from the AdvanceRIT Annual Faculty Data Report to inform and support your proposal.  See the current RFP for more information.

    Funded projects align with the goals and objectives of the AdvanceRIT program.

     

    Proposal Template: Complete the proposal template and submit as a pdf file to connectgrant@rit.edu.  See the current RFP for more information.

    CV/Biosketch: Email to connectgrant@rit.edu a two page (maximum) CV or NSF style biosketch for the PI which lists current rank, department, and contact information.

    Recommendation Letter(s): For proposals submitted by faculty, email to connectgrant@rit.edu a recommendation letter from the Department Head of the PI. For unit-level proposals, upload a recommendation letter from the college dean and from constituents/department members indicating department support for the proposed effort. Letters should concisely describe the potential impact of the proposed effort on the proposer and on their respective department, college, and the university.

    Direct questions to ADVANCEwomen@rit.edu.

     

    Grant Schedule for Academic Year (AY) 2019

    The schedule for the current round follows:

    • Request for Proposals: December 2, 2019
    • Proposals Due: January 31, 2020
    • Decisions Announced: March 2, 2020
    • Funding Available: April 1, 2020
    • Funding End Date: March 30, 2021
    • Final Report Due: April 30, 2021  

    All Recipients

    Connect Grant Recipients by Year

    2018-2019 Recipients

    In AY 2018, eight projects and their PIs were awarded Connect Grants:

    Homecoming: A Web Series of Three Short Form Documentaries about Law Enforcement and Community Action in Upstate NY

    PI - Ambarien Alqadar, Assistant Professor of Film and Animation, CAD

    Co-PI - Cathleen Ashworth, Professor of Film and Animation, CAD

     

    Automation and Artificial Intelligence in Newsrooms: A Comparative Analysis

    PI – Ammina Kothari, Associate Professor of Communication, CLA

     

    Saunders Women Faculty Support Group

    PI – Emi Moriuchi, Assistant Professor of MIS, Marketing, and Digital Business, SCB

    Co-PIs – Sorim Chung, Assistant Professor of MIS, Marketing, and Digital Business, SCB; Archana Jain, Assistant Professor of Finance and Accounting, SCB

     

    Green Informatics: Development of a Scholarly Collaboration for Robust & Resilient Building Management Systems

    PI – Jennifer Schneider, Eugene Fram Chair, Academic Affairs

    Co-PIs – Yewande Abraham, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology/Environmental Management and Safety, CET; Lisa Greenwood, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology/Environmental Management and Safety, CET; Nana-Yaw Andoh, Assistant Professor of Architecture, GIS; Minh Pham, Assistant Professor of Mathematical Sciences, COS

     

    Developing Spatialized and Volumetric Audio in Virtual-Reality Storytelling

    PI – Mari Jaye Blanchard, Assistant Professor of Film and Animation, CAD

     

    Building & Diversifying Color Science Research & Recruiting Networks

    PI – Michael Murdoch, Assistant Professor of Color Science, COS

    Co-PIs – Susan Farnand, Assistant Professor of Color Science, COS; Mark Fairchild, Head of the Integrated Sciences Academy, COS

     

    JJournal Development and Mentorship Project for the Launch for an Afrofuturism Journal Project

    PI – Myrtle Jones, Assistant Professor of Media Sciences, CAD

     

    Building the Foundations for a Computational-Materials Research Nucleus at RIT

    PI – Poornima Padmanabhan, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, KGCOE

    Co-PI – Patricia Taboada-Serrano, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, KGCOE

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are all the fields in the application required? What if I don't answer them all?
    Yes, all the fields are required. Please be sure to answer everything or unfortunately we will not be able to include your proposal in the pool for review.
     
    What is the review process?
     A review committee of faculty and administrators reads every proposal and provides feedback to the proposers. It is very common for revisions to be requested before proposals are finally approved. 


    I have a question about my proposal. Is there someone I can ask?
    Please email any questions to advancewomen@rit.edu.

    Connect Grant Evaluation and Impact

    The AdvanceRIT Connect Grant program has resulted in strong impacts for the grantees of the programs as well as the broader RIT community, based on an evaluation of the program.

    From 2014 to 2019, there have been 58 Connect Grants awarded to over 55 different faculty members and two departments. Grants have varied in size from $1,000 to 13,500 and the Connect Grant program has disbursed a total of $330,299 since its inception; 52% of all proposals were awarded. All ten RIT colleges have had Connect Grant awardees; 35 grants went to STEM fields, 13 went to SBS fields, and 10 went to other fields. In total, over 100 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.

    Individual impacts of the Connect Grants have been related to improving women’s work life, professional development, career advancement, and improving their working environment. In particular, Connect Grantees strengthened internal and external networks which led to career advancement, benefitted from mentoring relationships as mentors and mentees, built skills (including leadership skills) to support their professional development, increased their research autonomy and project visibility, increased their confidence in disseminating and being experts of their work, increased their value and influence, and supported the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups in their field, through their grant projects.

    Organizational impacts of the Connect Grants at RIT are related to refining institutional structures and installing practices to promote representation and advancement of women faculty. Some grantees worked to transform their institutional environment by strengthening community and raising internal awareness of their work, and also created new learning and leadership opportunities which helped to modify institutional policies, practices, and procedures.

    (The above is an excerpt from the April 2018 Connect Grant Program Internal Evaluation conducted by Dr. Liz Litzler, Emily Affolter, and Lexie Maister, University of Washington Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity)

    Examples of Proposals

    You can download the following proposals as samples. All have been provided with permission of the authors.

    PI Poornima Padmanabhan, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Chemical Engineering
    Co-PI Patricia Taboada-Serrano
     
    PI Kara Maki, College of Science, School of Mathematical Sciences
    Co-PI Michael Schertzer
     
    PI Jennifer Schneider, Office of the Provost, Senior VP of Academic Affairs
    Co-PI's Yewande Abraham, Lisa Greenwood, Nana-Yaw Andoh, and Minh Pham
     
    PI M. Ann Howard, College of Liberal Arts, Department of Science, Technology, and Society
    Co-PI(s) Silvia Benso, Caroline Delong, Jessica Lieberman, and Corinna Schlombs
     
    PI Carol Romanowski, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, Department of Computer Science
    Co-PI's Sumita Mishra, Yin Pan, and Xumin Liu