Grant News

Check out these recent articles about grant-funded research and initiatives at Bates from the Bates Communications team!


GRANTS@BATES

July 2018

In this issue:

  • Bates Receives $1 Million Grant from HHMI for “Inclusive Excellence”
  • Tuyuryaq Workshop at Bates Supported by a $50K Grant from NSF
  • Carrie Diaz Eaton, New to DCS, Helping Organize NEON Workshop on Inclusion
  • Rabkin Foundation Awards $7,500 Grant to Myron Beasley for Research Travel
  • On Trial Basis, SPaRC Now a “Full-Service” Sponsored Programs Office
  • New Requirements for Purchases Using Federal Funds

Bates Receives $1 Million Grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute for “Inclusive Excellence”

Bates has won a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to transform its STEM culture to fully support all students in the sciences throughout their undergraduate years. With the grant, Bates joins 33 colleges and universities selected in 2018 to join the HHMI Inclusive Excellence initiative, which aims to catalyze national efforts to broaden participation of students from all backgrounds in the study of science. At Bates, the HHMI grant will fund strategies aimed at: Transforming the ways that faculty approach their work with students; expanding existing programs for student mentoring and leadership through the Science Fellows program; and redefining the first-year science curriculum to introduce research experiences. The project director will be Paula Schlax, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who wrote the proposal with the assistance of a team that included other members of STEM faculty (Louise Brogan, Aleks Diamond-Stanic, Matt Jadud, Bev Johnson, Lynn Mandeltort, Raj Saha, Adriana Salerno, John Smedley, and Larissa Williams) and members of administrative staff and the College’s senior leadership (Matt Duvall, Kathy Low, Tom McGuinness, Ann Marie Russell, and Clayton Spencer), with the coordination of our Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Rachel Wray. We congratulate all those who have been involved, and look forward to intensive efforts in the coming five years. For the College’s full, official announcement, please see http://www.bates.edu/news/2018/07/05/bates-wins-1-million-howard-hughes-medical-institute-grant-for-equity-driven-stem-innovations/


Tuyuryaq Workshop at Bates Supported by a $50,000 Grant from the National Science Foundation

Tuyuryaq: a model for decolonizing learning on college campuses, is a three-day workshop that will be held at Bates College, organized by Assistant Professor of Anthropology Kristen Barnett. Building off a research project that Prof. Barnett and students from Bates have engaged in alongside youth and elders from Togiak, Alaska (Tuyuryaq in the Yup’ik language), this workshop targets topics of decolonizing and combating Indigenous marginalization and structural inequalities in higher education. It convenes a platform for collaborative participation accommodating a wide range of Indigenous communities, interdisciplinary scholars, students, administration and staff, and the general public. This workshop consists of an opening plenary session with Maggie Walter (University of Tasmania), followed by multiple small group workshops that facilitate immersive and sensitive discussions among participants, and concludes with a larger group discussion that highlights conference experiences, ideas and future directions. Throughout the course of the workshop guest speakers will highlight opportunities for introducing and establishing models of ‘research sovereignty’ and development of knowledge as a method of ‘co-production’ while addressing topics of appropriation, social and political impacts of ‘research’ and education systems, development of institutional resources, and support for enriched outcomes. Participants will access tools for curriculum development and deepen their understanding of ongoing colonial impacts in our current educational models. The long-term goals of this workshop will advance awareness and support for incorporation of decolonized practices of research, teaching, program support, and student involvement in campus culture that is scalable to any institution. It will be held from October 24 – 26, and is now open for registration. Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, the workshop will be attended by Dr. Walter and a number of other experts on indigenous research sovereignty and marginalization within educational systems, and there will be a limited number of registration fee waivers available for early career faculty, Indigenous scholars, and students.


Carrie Diaz Eaton, Newly Hired in DCS, Helping Organize NEON Conference on Inclusion

Conversation IDEaS (Conversations on Inclusion in Data Science for Ecological and Environmental Sciences) is a conference that will be held at the Boulder, Colorado headquarters of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), April 2-4, 2019. (Dates are tentative and to be confirmed.) Carrie Diaz Eaton, who is joining the Bates faculty as an Associate Professor in Digital and Computational Studies, is a member of the organizing committee for the conference, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The conference will be by invitation only, but faculty colleagues interested in the discussion topic and possible follow-up activities should feel free to reach out to Prof. Diaz Eaton (cdeaton@bates.edu) to learn more. Please welcome her to Bates!


Rabkin Foundation Awards $7,500 Grant to Myron Beasley for Research Travel

The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation has awarded a grant of $7,500 to support the research of Myron M. Beasley, Associate Professor of American Studies. As part of research for a contracted book on necropolitics and art in the African Diaspora, Prof. Beasley will travel to Alabama and Haiti for comparative research on the quilters of Gees Bend, and the vodou flags of Haiti. The generous support of the Rabkin Foundation is for his travel to these locations to view exhibits and engage with practitioners of these art forms.


On Trial Basis, SPaRC Now a “Full-Service” Sponsored Programs Office

Heather Ward, formerly the Assistant Director of Accounting at Bates, has embarked on her own personal “Dempsey Challenge,” joining the Dempsey Center as its new Finance Director. For ten years, Heather was an indispensable support to our Principal Investigators and Project Directors, monitoring expenditures of grant funds and serving as the primary liaison for our annual audits. With several straight years without audit findings in the Research & Development cluster, we owe her a debt of gratitude. That this consistently high performance was achieved in midst of the expansion of our faculty, and of major changes in the College’s senior staff, in the Federal government, in the regulatory regime governing Federal grants (the OMB Uniform Guidance of 2014), makes it particularly impressive.

With the collaboration of the Accounting Office and Human Resources, these duties relating to the expenditure of grant funds and the documentation and reporting thereof, will shift for a trial period of 6 months from the Accounting Office to the Sponsored Programs Office, and shall primarily be the responsibility of Theresa Bishop, Assistant Director of SPaRC. The trial will be assessed at that point to determine whether and to what degree to make that transfer of responsibilities permanent. Therefore, for that trial period, SPaRC will be a “full-service” Sponsored Programs office, responsible for research development, application preparation and submission, financial administration, and non-financial research compliance.

Theresa came to Bates 11 months ago with 9 years of experience in grants administration–first 6 years at the University of Maine in Orono, followed by 3 years at the University of Southern Maine. In her roles at those institutions she combined responsibilities for financial administration–what those of us in the grants business call “post-award”–with aiding PIs and PDs in the application for funds–i.e., “pre-award”. In those roles she oversaw grants portfolios that, in terms of the number of awards and dollar amounts represented, were approximately 3 times the size of what we will be working with at Bates. (Joseph Tomaras, Director of SPaRC, has a similar background in post-award administration prior to joining Bates.)

In the trial period and beyond, the Accounting Office will retain responsibility for overall monitoring of internal controls, and for indispensable functions that undergird our research enterprise, such as the College’s annual audits and the negotiation of our Federal indirect cost rate. A search will begin soon for a new Assistant Director of Accounting, with an emphasis on candidates with a strong general accounting background. We thank the College’s Controller, Natalie Williamson—for having supervised and trained Heather over the years, for making everything we do possible through her office’s stringent management of the College’s general ledger, and for the flexibility she has shown, and the time she has already given and will give, in making sure that Theresa has the training and tools necessary to follow effectively in Heather’s footsteps. We also thank Geoff Swift, Kathy Low, and Shanna Hines for helping to make this transition happen. As the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance, we look forward to working with all interested members of Bates faculty and staff, through the full lifecycle of their grant applications and awards.


New Requirements for Purchases using Federal Funds

New mandatory procurement standards in the Uniform Guidance have been an ongoing topic of discussion between representatives of the Federal government and Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), particularly those in the private, not-for-profit sector who, unlike State-controlled institutions, had not been required to implement governmental procurement standards in the past. Fortunately, the Office of Management and Budget provided three successive years of regulatory forbearance for IHEs, and recently published a memorandum of clarification raising the dollar thresholds for IHEs. Moving forward, on any grant involving Federal funds, all purchases of $10,000 must be justified either by at least two quotes, or by a sole source justification. Any purchases above $250,000 must follow a more rigorous process involving solicited bids, unless a sole source justification can be provided. An updated procurement policy can be found on the Accounting Office website, located at:

https://www.bates.edu/accounting/gifts-grants-and-contracts/federal-or-state-grants-and-contracts/purchases-and-subawards-using-federal-funds/

For a purchase using Federal funds to be approved above these dollar amount thresholds, there must be documentation on file of the cost analysis or justification, attached either to the original purchase order or the invoice. For further information or clarification on this policy, please contact Theresa Bishop in the Sponsored Programs office.

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