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Arts enhancing research opportunities for faculty

Dr. Frederick White, associate dean of Arts, Research and Graduate Programs. by Janet Harron

It’s no secret that securing external funding for arts research at Canadian universities is a complicated and competitive procedure. However, the Faculty of Arts at Memorial is actively engaged in creating research opportunities for faculty with a number of unique initiatives.

“Funding and research issues are constantly evolving within the challenging and highly competitive academic market. Successfully negotiating these issues is a necessary part of scholarly activity for faculty and graduate students alike,” says Dr. Frederick White, associate dean of Arts, Research and Graduate Programs. “Therefore the Faculty of Arts has made it a priority to establish mentoring and facilitation initiatives to assist with scholarly development and securing external funding for research, while also recognizing the end products of sustained research and creative activity.”

The Arts Research Initiative (ARI) is an annual internal grant competition, which provides financial supports for the research efforts of members of the Faculty of Arts. It offers bridge money for tenure-track and tenured faculty of all ranks who do not already hold any external or internal funding form another source. The grant is tenable over two years at a maximum of $5,000 with the obligation to apply for an external grant within this two-year period.

This funding opportunity is offered in conjunction with other forms of internal financial support. Researchers who receive a “4A” result on a SSHRC Standard Research Grant application are eligible for the Dean of Arts/Vice-President’s (Research) Special 4A Award of $5,000 if they agree to revise and resubmit in the next competition.

If they receive a second 4A result they are eligible for $3,000 if they agree to submit a third version of their SSHRC grant. This gives researchers the potential for four years of sustained financial support towards revitalizing their research profiles or beginning new projects. Further details on this program can be found at www.mun.ca/arts/research.

In addition, the Faculty of Arts is continuing to sponsor research workshops designed to encourage and facilitate professional development throughout the spring and summer. The three remaining workshops will offer section-by-section guidance to familiarize faculty with the process of applying for external research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and other granting bodies. The workshops take place May 21, June 18 and July 23.

Recognizing that time for scholarly activities is an invaluable commodity for researchers, the Office of the Dean of Arts has developed a Request for Teaching Remission. This unique program allows those researchers who have been awarded external grants of more than one year in duration and who are the primary investigators on their project to apply for a one course teaching remission during the duration of their grant. Requests must be made to departmental heads prior to the submission of a departmental teaching plan for the following year. Further details on this program can be found at www.mun.ca/arts/research/forms.php.

Theresa Heath, grants facilitator with the Faculty of Arts, encourages researchers to take advantage of all forms of support offered to them. “Like other aspects of academia, research is an increasingly cyclical, results-oriented process. Internal funding supports small-scale research, the results of which can buoy a grant proposal to a stronger showing in national competitions. In turn, external funding comes with an inherent expectation that researchers will produce and publish results that contribute not only to their discipline but to their own growth as scholars.”

Research in the arts often results in various types of publications aimed at both the university and non-academic communities. The publication of a book is a significant achievement and often is the culmination of years of sustained research or creative energy. With that in mind, the Faculty of Arts will continue to honour all of those who wrote, compiled or edited a book in 2007-2008 with the second annual Author! Author! on November 19, 2008.

Please see www.mun.ca/arts/research for further details on these initiatives or contact Dr. Frederick White, associate dean of Arts (research and graduate programs) at fwhite@mun.ca.
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