SPAD at Auburn University at Montgomery
Like STEM faculty at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) everywhere, Auburn University at
Montgomery (AUM) faculty must overcome a daunting array of disincentives to pursue external funding. Heavy
teaching loads, lack of dedicated research space or time for research, an unfamiliarity with grant programs and
procedures, a perception that the likelihood of success was remote, even the ready availability of summer
teaching opportunities, all acted to create a faculty culture of low expectations with regards to grant seeking. But
with a range of new initiatives designed to better serve the needs of our diverse student body, AUM is
experiencing a cultural change, where expectations for faculty research and engagement are escalating rapidly.
At this critical juncture, AUM has crucial need for an expanded and reorganized OSPR.
In support of new initiatives and a changing campus culture focusing on research and engagement, AUM
is seeking SPAD funding to reorganize and expand its Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) to keep pace with
the rapidly growing faculty interest in pursuing external grant funding. The specific aims of the project are to:
1. Increase the capabilities of the OSP by hiring and training new staff and providing them with the competency-
based training and professional development that includes training and building an infrastructure that supports
continuing education in this area.
2. Establish new OSP services, policies, and procedures for the development and submission of applications
and provide training and support to faculty in these new services, policies, and procedures;
3. Develop a faculty reward structure that emphasizes cost sharing and workload management to promote
research and creative activity;
4. Expand collaborative research partnerships and funding opportunities for faculty and students, especially with
Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
5. Offer students the opportunity to work with faculty and the OSP to acquire grant writing skills; and
6. Partner with the AUM Office of Diversity to offer scaffolded workshops in cultural competency for faculty to
facilitate creating effective grant writing teams for grants targeted at PUIs.
The SPAD grant would enable AUM to create an OSPR that would play an important role in fostering this
new culture of research and scholarship, that would encourage grant-assisted faculty training and curriculum
development, and help create new programs for research training and mentorship of underprivileged African-
American students, who comprise 42% of our student population. The success of the project will be determined
by measuring increases in faculty interactions with the OSP, in proposal submissions, in the creation of new
research collaborations, in the expanded mentoring of student researchers, and in the volume of publications.