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Advice for Faculty Preparing for Calvin Research Fellowships

Prepared by the Faculty Development Committee and the Dean for Research and Scholarship, Calvin College, Spring 2012.

Update from the Faculty Development Committee:

Budget constraints necessitate the following measures for applications submitted in 2015-2016:

In reviewing applications for 2015-2016 awards, the FDC expects to adhere to the "three-year" rule cited in Faculty Handbook paragraph 5.4.2.2. Applicants requesting a fourth consecutive year of CRF support must make an argument based on extenuating circumstances; this argument must be supported by the chair's endorsement statement. However, it should be noted that the FDC will be inclined to uphold the three-year rule even if such an argument is included in the application.

1. Familiarize yourself with CRF policies and procedures in the Faculty
    Handbook.
(Section 5.4 of the Faculty Handbook)

2. Update all reports on special funding that you have received from Calvin
    in the past.
(http://www.calvin.edu/admin/provost/far/menu)
      •    An incomplete record of reporting could lead reviewers to doubt your reliability.

3. Update your CV. (You will upload this document along with the CRF application.)

  • Normally a CRF project will be a natural extension of your previous accomplishments, which should be documented in your CV.
  • Even if your proposed project is in a new area unrelated to your previous work, your CV can show reviewers that you are active as a scholar and have been successful in bringing projects to completion.
  • If your proposed project is unrelated to the work listed in your CV, your Project Description should explain how and why your change in scholarly direction has changed, and it should also describe your progress in becoming competent in the new domain of activity. 

4. Write a detailed Project Description (also to be uploaded with the CRF application).

  • The Project Description should be written in terms that can be understood by an academic committee of faculty outside of your discipline.

The Project Description should address these questions:

  • What do you want to do in this project?
  • Why is this project important (and to whom)?
  • Why should you be the one to pursue this project?
  • What methodology will you be using, and how does the project relate to other work in your field?

5. Line up your department-chair recommendation and external letters of
    reference.

  • Discuss the project and timing with your department chair and possibly with the dean for research and scholarship and/or your academic dean. Once you have submitted your application, your chair (or academic dean) will receive an automatic email with a link to view your application, your funding history, and a link to the Chairs Endorsement Form. Chairs Endorsement Forms are due by October 8, 2013.
  • External reference letters are most useful to reviewers if they address not only your professional expertise but also the specific project that you are proposing. The best external reference letters come from independent and well-qualified experts. These letters must be submitted as email attachments as indicated on the CRF application form. External letters of reference may be used for up to three years, as long as they are closely related to the proposed project. Please contact the Office of the Dean for Research and Scholarship if you would like to attach any letters that are already on file.

*6. Describe the expected project outcomes and the benefits.
       (this includes benefits to the applicant, the profession, and the college).

  • Does the project have a high likelihood of producing measurable results that fit well with the mission of your department and the mission of the college?  Be specific about those connections.

*7. Describe the anticipated pedagogical impact of your project.

  • What contributions will the project make toward course/curriculum development and implementation?
  • Will your project address FEN related issues? If so, how?
  • Will your project involve student participation? If so, how?
  • Give specific examples of how the project will enhance your teaching as well as the teaching of others through dissemination of your results. 
  • Do NOT propose a project that is specifically connected to teaching that should be simply part of your normal teaching duties.

*8. Provide a work schedule or other justification that explains why the
     requested teaching reduction is appropriate for the proposed project.

  • Explain, in detail, what you will do. It is not sufficient to say “I will write a paper” or “I will research the topic in depth”. Give a work plan. Show the steps and how they interrelate. Good plans have multiple steps and take more than one paragraph to describe.
  • You should be able to convince the committee that you have a viable plan to complete the projects successfully, not that you have a heavy teaching load. You may mention your previous work to demonstrate your ability to carry out a plan.
  • Show why more intensive work over a semester or interim is important (compared to the slower pace of regular scholarship expected of all faculty on regular loads).

9. Faculty planning research that involves human subjects

Faculty involved in the planning of research that involves human subjects in any way, from interviews or questionnaires to medical procedures with living persons or bodily substances, must submit a research proposal to the current chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB).  The board is mandated by governmental agencies to review and approve research with human subjects using one of the following processes:

  • Provide an exemption
  • Conduct an expedited review approval or
  • Approve the project after full review

As a small board which meets regularly, the IRB is committed to facilitate the advancement of faculty research programs as quickly and easily as possible. Applicants must have applied for IRB approval by October 1 and must certify IRB approval before receiving a CRF. Please consult the IRB page for further instructions if your research involves human subjects.

10. Describe any efforts you have made to obtain external funding.

  • List past grants that have supported work related to what you propose.
  • List proposals that you have submitted to support the proposed work.

*The online CRF application form provides a textbox for each item marked with an asterisk. Information relating to all the other items must be provided in separate electronic documents, which are to be uploaded or emailed as indicated in the application form.

11.  Obligations Following a Calvin Research Fellowship.

  • It is expected that grantees who receive CRFs will continue in their teaching positions at Calvin College. The teaching load required of each grantee during the academic year following that of the CRF is, at minimum, two courses per CRF-funded course release. Grantees who do not fulfill this obligation are required to reimburse the college in full for the salary (not including the cost of benefits) earned under the CRF.
  • All publications that result from work done during the course release should acknowledge the support of Calvin College for the project.
  • The grantee must submit an online report by August 15 after the end of the course release, detailing results or progress of the project and any related professional gains. This report should be submitted to the dean for research and scholarship who will forward it to the department chair and the academic dean.
  • Common courtesy should require some form of acknowledgement to the Board of Trustees. Notes of thanks may be sent via the Office of the President.

Secondary

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