Last August, the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences received $76,000 to support the presentation and dissemination of faculty scholarship and creative works. Dubbed the “Pamplin Professional Impact Fund,” or “PPIF” for short, the pilot project helped 56 faculty members present approximately 100 papers, projects, and exhibitions at respected conferences around the world, as well as to conduct research.
“Last year, during the budget planning process, Dean Clark proposed the professional impact fund as his top strategic priority aimed at enhancing research and scholarship opportunities for faculty in the Pamplin College, and we were pleased to be able to support it through my office as a pilot program,” said Provost Gretchen Caughman. “I am very encouraged by the program’s early results and hope it can be extended to more faculty in the future.”
The funds were awarded through a competitive application process conducted by a committee comprised of both junior and senior faculty from across the college. Seventy-five separate awards were made, ranging from $100 to $2,500 and covering, on average, 75 percent of the faculty member’s travel costs.
“Our growth as an institution depends on getting our name out there, increasing awareness of the GRU name, and supporting the exciting work our faculty are doing,” said Assistant Dean Wesley Kisting. “To be a recognized leader in research and education, we need to be showcasing our work on a national and international level. That’s exactly what the support of PPIF has enabled us to do.”
Several of the programs have an international component. For example, Dr. Andrew Goss, Chair of the Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy, presented in Singapore, and art professor Dr. Michael Schwartz is planning to fly to Iceland to attend the annual meeting of the Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle, where he is co-founding Executive Lead Officer and serves as this year’s Program Chair.
Many of the projects funded are also expected to lead to peer-reviewed publications that will help to raise the institutional profile of GRU.
“When it comes to supporting faculty research, the return on investment can’t be measured immediately,” said Dean Charles Clark. “The path to publication can take years, but the results we’ve seen so far are very exciting.”
At least two of the funded projects have already led to book contracts, while five more have been accepted for publication in journals that include Mediterranean Quarterly, Questions in Politics, and International Journal of Linguistics, Literature, and Culture. Several more have been solicited for review. Faculty have also reported networking with top scholars in their field and being invited to organize or present at future conference proceedings, as well as to hold offices in national associations.
“Those results are particularly impressive,” said Dean Clark, “considering that more than half of the funded activities for this fiscal year have yet to occur. As more reports come in, I am confident there will be many more confirmations that this was money very well spent.”