The Connect Grants Overview
The Connect Grants program, launched in the 2013 Academic Year, 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 Office of AdvanceRIT. Connect Grants are offered through AdvanceRIT within the Office of Academic Affairs with advisory support from the Council for the Representation & Engagement of Women Faculty, 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 2020, seven past rounds of Connect Grants have been awarded ($360K overall with average award of $5.7K) with 63 awards supporting over 116 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 148 tenured and pre-tenured faculty awardees serving as grant PIs and Co-PIs over the past seven funding rounds, 95% self-identify as female. Of the 63 awarded grants to date, 95% of PIs self-identify as female. The grant “award rate” overall is 47% and the award rate for the last round (Round 7) was 26% (5/19). 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.
Special Interest Areas for the 2020AY cycle
AdvanceRIT has particular interest in funding projects that support the following:
- To redirect or restart research disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic
- Associate Professors for developing a strategy for and/or support for their research portfolio for application to Professor
- Peer-support groups focused on faculty career success
- Global connections for research activities
Proposals that address one or more of these areas will be given additional consideration; however, topics are not restricted to these areas.
Examples of past funded efforts (more detailed examples below):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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
Connect Grants Request for Proposals
Use the following links for required forms and more information:
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.
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 email@example.com. See the current RFP for more information.
CV/Biosketch: Email to firstname.lastname@example.org a two page (maximum) CV or NSF style biosketch for the PI which lists current rank, department, and contact information.
Letter(s) of Endorsement: For proposals submitted by faculty, email to email@example.com a letter from the Department Head of the PI. For unit-level proposals, upload a 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grant Schedule for Academic Year (AY) 2020
The schedule for the current round follows
- Request for Proposals: December 7, 2020
- Proposals Due: February 15, 2021
- Decisions Announced: April 1, 2021
- Funding Available: May 1, 2021
- Funding End Date: March 31, 2022
- Final Report Due: April 30, 2021
In AY 2020, eight projects and their PIs were awarded Connect Grants:
PI - Ambarien Alqadar, College of Art & Design
Co-PI - Atia Newman
PI - Silvia Benso, College of Liberal Arts
Co-PI - Sara Armengot, Tamar Carroll, Kijana Crawford, Nickesia Gordon, Chris Hinesley, Ammina Kothari, Laura Shackelford
PI - Lucia Carichino, College of Science
Co-PI - Blessing Emerenini, Shahla Nasserasr
PI - Santosh Kurinec, Kate Gleason College of Engineering;
Co-PI - Bing Yan, Katie McConky
PI - Dina Newman, College of Science
Co-PI - Rita Magalhaes
PI - Sonia Lopez-Alarcon, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
PI - Joy Olabisi, Saunders College of Business;
Co-PI - Duygu Akdevelioglu
In AY 2019, five projects and their PIs were awarded Connect Grants:
Training in the Development of a Preventative Intervention for College Students with Trauma Histories who are at Risk for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
PI - Lindsay Schenkel, COLA
Co-PI - Suzanne Bamonto, COLA
Building a Sustainable Pipeline of Graduate Students for New PhD Programs
PI – Patricia Taboada-Serrano, KGCOE
Co-PIs – Obioma Uche and Poornima Padmanabhan, KGCOE
Mapping Trust: Examining decision making in a context of double burdens of chronic and communicable disease epidemics
PI – Jessica Hardin, COLA
Preliminary Data Generation Related to the Use of Polymeric Threads for Management of Lymphedema in Breast Cancer Patients
PI – Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard, KGCOE
Indigenous Industrial Design
PI – Mindy Magyar, CAD
Connect Grant Review & Selection Committee Leadership
Anne Marie Canale, Faculty Career Development (committee co-chair)
Carol Romanowski, GCCIS (committee co-chair)
Betsy Dell, Director of AdvanceRIT
Frequently Asked Questions
No, proposals are not required to address one of the special topics areas. However, proposals that address one or more of these areas will be given additional consideration.
I have a question about my proposal. Is there someone I can ask?
Please email any questions to email@example.com.
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.
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 November, 2019 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.