CGI Grants Promote Inter-Institutional Collaboration for NAC&U Members

Last year NAC&U launched the Collaboration, Growth, and Innovation (CGI) program to foster inter-institutional collaboration among faculty and staff. The idea behind this program, which originated in the NAC&U Faculty Ambassador group, was to enable grantees to plan potential collaborations. In essence, it was seed money for taking the first step which although important can be difficult to secure funding. The three CGI grants awarded last March resulted in a video series, a comparison of interprofessional education, and an examination of the intersection of religious studies and climate change.

Ellen Contopidis

Ellen Contopidis, director of graduate childhood and early childhood programs at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., worked with another Nazareth colleague and two faculty at the University of Evansville, Evansville, Ind., to research interprofessional experiences (IPE) for allied health and education students at NAC&U member institutions. They used the grant to visit each others’ campuses and observe students in clinical settings, allowing them to compare similarities and note differences. For example, the team noted that Nazareth’s involvement of its School of Education allows for clinical experiences in school settings. At the University of Evansville the relatively new athletic training program had been integrated into their successful physical therapy program, giving rise to the idea that new programs might benefit by a connection to an existing one. The collaborators also surveyed provosts and ambassadors throughout NAC&U to find out which had IPE on campus, in clinics, and in their communities. Through the survey responses, the collaborators noted that there is still work to be done in integrating liberal arts and professional studies for these students.

Although the grant money was slated for planning, some NAC&U faculty were able to stretch the funds to cover work beyond the planning phase. Public relations faculty at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, worked together on a video series that guides institutions on how to establish and operate a student public relations firm on campus.

Kathie Fleck

When they started this project, this knowledge was not comprehensive and only existed in “dry documents,” according to Alisa Agozzino (in banner photo above), associate professor of public relations at Ohio Northern University and a national faculty adviser for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Agozzino and her collaborators — Kathie Fleck, assistant professor of public relations at Ohio Northern University, and Kevin Trowbridge, assistant professor of public relations at Belmont University — sent a survey to student-run PR firm directors to solicit their most pressing questions and challenges. The three faculty members then used this information to interview (while videorecording) industry firm and agency leaders in New York, Chicago, and Nashville. Since they had funds remaining, they were approved to reallocate the remainder into stipends for students to complete the eight videos which were sent to the PRSSA national headquarters to disseminate through the PRSSA website.

Forrest Clingerman

For professors at Ohio Northern University and Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., the grant covered professional development that was not likely to be funded otherwise. Forrest Clingerman, an associate professor of religion and philosophy at Ohio Northern, examined the intersection of religious studies and climate change with Kevin O’Brien, associate professor of religion and dean of humanities at Pacific Lutheran, located 2300 miles away. Both professors visited each other’s institutions and spoke in classes. O’Brien also met with the biology department at Ohio Northern and met with faculty who work with student learning communities. They also attended a disciplinary meeting at the American Academy of Religion.

“It was helpful to talk across disciplines and across the institutions,” said Clingerman. “A project such as this is not likely to have been funded without this grant.”

The application deadline for the 2019 CGI grants is February 15, 2019.