Fordham Notes: Fordham Faculty “Get Funded!”

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fordham Faculty “Get Funded!”

Guest Post:

James S. Wilson, Director of Faculty Development
Office of Research

On Wednesday, Oct. 22, 100 Fordham faculty came out with their co-researchers, community collaborators and graduate students to “Get Funded!”

A full day of skills based workshops led by Michaela Kiernan, Ph.D., of Stanford University, “Get Funded!” gave attendees the opportunity to hone their research writing, graduate from mere grant submission to grantsmanship, and in so doing consciously create their career path rather than follow each foot as it falls.

“This is a tough funding environment,” Kiernan coached our colleagues, “but my position at Stanford is 100 percent soft money—if I didn’t do research, if I couldn’t get grants, I wouldn’t have a job. It can be done. You can do this!”

Kiernan covered concrete steps to convert one’s writing into the format and style grant reviewers prefer to receive. Grant and fellowship applicants don’t fully realize how critical this is to getting funded until they understand the review process.

“Because of sheer volume, your first audience will be a computer. If you haven’t taken the care to ensure that your proposal meets an agency’s criteria—for length, number and type of documents, the form of attachments—all your hard work may never be read,” Kiernan warned. “Once your proposal does go before a human being, your initial reviewers will probably have no more than ten minutes before they need to make a decision whether to send your proposal forward for further review.”

To learn how to capture and command reviewers’ continued attention, Kiernan advocates:

• using her six steps to conciseness and clarity;
• serving on an agency’s grant review committee;
• forming peer groups within and across disciplines in order to critique each other’s abstracts; and
• relying on Fordham’s Grant Officers to be a critical second set of eyes from outside their field of study that are focused solely on a proposal’s preparation.

To do all that on top of teaching and administrative duties is a challenge, but one that was both recognized and addressed in the afternoon’s final workshop: “Developing Your Academic Plan.”

“I anticipated feeling anxious about all I haven’t done, but the workshops weren’t that way at all,” one Fordham faculty member commented, a sentiment echoed by her colleagues: “presenting general strategies rather than just descriptions of grants was particularly helpful,” “very motivating” and “Kiernan is excellent!”

Make getting funded part of your academic plan—please contact James Wilson, director of faculty development, at or (718) 817-4964 and “Get Funded!”

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