As the fall semester has moved into full swing, many faculty are wondering how to acquire the funds necessary to support their respective academic interests and professional development. In this era of steady state assistance from the State of California, where do the funds come from to support the ever demanding requirements of the teacher/scholar at California State University, Chico? These funds most commonly come to campus through the writing of grants and the awarding of contracts. Preliminary figures from the last academic year indicate that the faculty and staff received awards for sponsored programs at a level just shy of $24 million, the highest ever total for CSU, Chico. And the success rate of submitted to funded grant proposals was over 72%! The awards funded this past year will support a broad range of programs and projects.
The one common feature of every project is that it is additive to the overall academic program. These grants bring with them new resources, new experiences, and the opportunity for faculty, staff ,and students to engage in activities otherwise not possible in the absence of such external support. Funds recovered as indirect costs from these awards are redistributed as incentive funds back to every academic unit for professional and further grant development -- for project development, professional travel, special awards, and the like. In addition, a percentage of these incentive funds are returned to each project director for professional development.
So, the question for many of you is Why Write a Grant? What are the benefits and rewards of grantwriting when faced with other responsibilities and deadlines? The tangible benefits from successful grant development efforts include
release time from classroom, committee, or other assignments;
additional income, including overload or summer salary;
travel money to participate in professional meetings, nationally and internationally;
specialized materials and supplies;
specialized equipment and supplies;
student assistance, either graduate or undergraduate;
consulting support; and
services, such as computing or media production support.
What are some of the other benefits of grantwriting? The quest for grant support itself is a stimulating enterprise. When faculty are successful and receive a competitive award, there is the very real sense of accomplishment. Perhaps most important, grant activity enables faculty to invigorate their teaching. With greater currency in the field, the grant activity itself can become the basis of improved teaching. Often students become fascinated by both the process and the results of grant-supported work. The enriched examples, models, and materials that derive from projects can help to recharge your batteries and become the basis of future courses and teaching. Also, the results and products of grant-supported work often become the basis for the publication of articles, reports, monographs, and books.
New courses can be developed, new programs implemented, new students recruited, and new resources acquired -- all with grant funds. These activities bring important new resources into the community and the region. They can also, obviously, enhance the quality of individual programs, the quality of individual faculty and students, and, of course, the overall quality of the institution. Grant awards put colleges on the map, attract good faculty and higher quality students, and provide important discretionary resources for the development and improvement of our basic institutional missions.
Please come by the Office of Sponsored Projects, Kendall 111, for more information and assistance in finding additional resources that can help advance your academic interests and professional development. Or you can call us at x5700, e-mail any of our staff, or visit our home page at http://www.csuchico.edu/gs/sponsproj.html.
Robert J. Bakke
Office of Sponsored Programs