NORDP 2017 Conference Notes: Engaging the Arts & Humanities in Extramural and Collaborative Research

Engaging the Arts & Humanities in Extramural and Collaborative Research

Presenters: Kim Patten, Assist. Director, Research Development Services (RDS), University of Arizona
Kim Nicolini, Assoc. for Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences, RDS, University of Arizona

Thanks to our session note-taker, Melinda Laroco Boehm!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • Frame your research into “fundable ideas.”
  • Help Social Science and Humanities faculty look beyond thinking about “their books” and “their tenure”. Help them take their comprehensive research ideas and apply for funding in “bite-sized chunks.”
  • When packaging Social Science and Humanities research in terms of extramural funding, “time to write your book” is not a fundable concept. Strategize with the faculty members to find fundable concepts within their books and help in deciphering the real life applications that can come from their research.
  • Start to think about museums as more than just places to go see exhibits. Connect Social Science and Humanities faculty to a broader spectrum, as there is not an entity on campus that could NOT use a museum for their research. Examples may include:
    • Example for Humanities? Meeting with the archivist
    • Example: refugee cities, poetry, children to use art for feelings, then art exhibit
    • Example: public engagement
  • Leverage your campus’ resources to be creative for funding in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Look for atypical sources for funding opportunities, e.g. International support office/study abroad office

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?          

Fun fact: their campus’ first NEA grant assisted by their RDS office was from the College of Medicine.

What resources did you discover at this presentation? Examples: a website, database or software tool. We’ll link to resources on the blog.          

AEHN: Arts Engagement Humanities Network

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s)’ response?          

Suggestion from the audience that discussed how to get Arts and Humanities to focus on their proposal getting trajectories: Ask them the gold watch question: “How do you want to be talked about when you retire? What do you want your legacy to be?” They will be able to tell you their path, and you can find funding that translates to what they want their legacy to be.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?        

Keep a spreadsheet of faculty and their areas of research, and take time to find the connections in an effort to form collaborative teams that go for the larger multi|inter|trans-disciplinary proposals.

GENERAL NOTES TAKEN DURING SESSION

  • Interactive session
  • They come from a large institution, so take the information and use accordingly
  • Centralized office: 3200 people
    • 500 faculty in 3 colleges that make up SS and Humanities
    • They have an Associate VP for Research in Arts, Humanities, and Society
    • Extended their seed funding for specific tracks
  • Added staff to support this college, institutions, and museums
    • One person coordinates these colleges (3) in SS and Humanities (new to this position, only 1.5 years old)
  • Fun fact: their first NEA grant RDS assisted with was from the College of Medicine

Early Career Researchers

  • Be creative in partnerships with Humanities folks
  • Frame research into fundable ideas
  • Ask them “what is your focus” and help them discern how funders will see them
    • Make their ideas relevant and exciting
    • Understand how do they craft a research proposal out of arts and humanities
      • Help them look beyond thinking of “their books” and “their tenure”
      • Help them take their work and apply in “bite-sized chunks” and break it up
        • Difficult with social sciences but can be done

Packaging the Humanities

  • “Time to write your book” is not a fundable concept
  • Find fundable parts within their book [sabbaticals and honorifics]
    • Real life applications
    • How will this impact the human population?
  • Multidisciplinary collaborations
  • External partners
  • Keep a spreadsheet and try to find the connections

Museums as places for “seeing”

  • Museums have to be more than just go see exhibits
    • How do you connect them to the broader spectrum?
    • There is not an entity on campus that could NOT use a museum for their research
      • Example for Humanities? Meeting with the archivist
      • Example: refugee cities, poetry, children to use art for feelings, then art exhibit
      • Example: public engagement
    • Cross the museum with faculty with student engagement à equals working together for a à fundable idea!
  • Ideas
    • Family Day and Meet a Scientist
    • Portal to the Public

Challenges

  • Breaking the tradition; it takes time
  • Understanding the traditional model for getting funding does not look the same anymore
  • Make it applicable
  • Translate their needs to fundable ideas
    • “I need light bulbs!” No, you need specific lighting in order to preserve the documents….etc.

Discussion Topic 1: Challenges

  • Independent brainstorm: Begin completing the challenges section (2 min)
    • Grant getting is so rare and overwhelming that when they do go for large grants, it deters them from trying again.
    • Grantsmanship is not being addressed/motivated by their deans and department chairs
    • From audience:
      • How could you work with large amounts of faculty? (Time management)
      • Working with Humanities faculty, funding rates are low and the grants are extremely What techniques are others using to increase the grant competitiveness?
      • Faculty tell RDs the “let me tell you how it works” in humanities
      • Faculty have no professional development in grantsmanship skills; it’s not what they do
      • Funding is not credited for tenure and promotion
        • No institutional incentive
      • “Us vs Them” mentality with humanities and sciences; they do not want to collaborate
    • Talk to one neighbor: unique, similar? (1 min)
    • Report out to group (6 min)

Discussion Topic 1: Solutions

  • Faculty engagement programs
    • Workshops
      • Homework-have them find funding in Pivot
      • Have them send their potential opps ahead of time, and RDS spends a day sitting down with them and their team to strategize (very successful for their university)
        • Successful consortiums have come out of this
      • Institute-focused programs
      • University initiatives
      • Outcomes: Engage faculty in funding; establish collaborative teams; grow research base and campus connectivity
      • Encourage them: get them applying for smaller ones to get the ball rolling and create momentum
      • Get faculty to cross-talk to other disciplines

Campus community interaction

  • Serve on strategic planning committees
  • Hiring committees
  • Internal funding review committees
  • Becoming part of the community

Leverage campus resources

  • International support office/study abroad office
  • Teaching support center
  • Scientists
    • from Arizona: Arts Engagement Humanities Network (AEHN)
  • Limited submissions
  • Foundation
  • Sponsored projects
  • If you show enthusiasm for them, they will become excited.

Discussion Topic 2: Solutions

  • Independent brainstorm: what are solutions that might work on your campus? (2 min)
  • Talk to your other neighbor (2 min)
  • Report to group (6 min)
  • If you show enthusiasm for them, they will become excited.

Discussion Topic 2: Solutions from group | Summary | Q & A

  • Culture of Research Excellence for Faculty Fellowships (competition)
    • Course release
    • Collaborations have arisen just for being in that fellowship
    • More senior faculty (old and crusties)
      • Have not been expected to go for funding
      • Ask them the gold watch question? How do you want to be talked about when you retire/your legacy?
        • They will be able to tell you their path, then you can go from there
        • Get funding that translates to what they want their legacy to be
      • Sponsored Research Fellows Program
        • Open to any discipline
        • They get paired with an internal mentor, they give them funding for an external reviewer, they get a course release, they work to submit a proposal (the cohort works independently but collaborations can come from that as well)
      • Introduced a Logic Model to the Arts and Sciences folks; it is new to them; it forced them to get clear about their idea (The Ohio State: Kristen Ward’s idea)

 

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