The Office of Sponsored Programs and Research (OSPR) helps Governors State University (GSU) faculty and staff achieve success in their research and other grant-related endeavors.
This newsletter is designed to keep faculty, students, and community partners informed by providing up-to-date news and information related to currently funded projects and the ongoing quest for grants research and funding opportunities.
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The Grants Resource Center (GRC) is a subscription service of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
GSU subscribes to this service, which offers a wealth of programs to help GSU more successfully compete for federal and private grants. This online resource announces new funding opportunities and houses a comprehensive, searchable funding database called Grant Search.
GRC also offers a service that sends specially tailored funding announcements to the email addresses of individual faculty. In order to use this service, please contact Penny Havlicek of OSPR.
Another publication of the GRC, GRC Deadlines, reports the most current federal grant-related deadlines and some private foundation deadlines as well. Also available on the GRC website is a guide to Developing Competitive Proposals.
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Institutional Review Board News
As research efforts at GSU have grown, the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) has played a key role in addressing federal compliance and human subjects’ protection.
We at the university are appreciative and grateful for the long years of service that Dr. Robert Druzinsky has given to the ethical performance of research as the Chair of the IRB at GSU.
Dr. Druzinsky assisted in the process of securing the first Federal Wide Assurance (FWA) for the IRB. We have accepted his resignation from this position effective August 31, 2010, so that he can devote more time to his own scholarship.
IRB Members for 2010
- Mary Clark
- Susan Gaffney
- Pam Guimond
- Maribeth Kasik
- Ning Lu (new member)
- Becky Nugent (Co-Chair)
- David Rhea (new member)
- Lourdes Richardson
- Dale Schuit (new member)
Also new to his role as IRB chair is James R. "Chip" Coldren, Jr., PhD, the Academic Coordinator for the undergraduate and graduate Criminal Justice programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at GSU, as well as a co-director of the University’s Center for Law Enforcement Technology Collaboration. Coldren will work closely with the current IRB co-chair, Becky Nugent.
Prior to coming to GSU, Coldren served for more than four years as President of the John Howard Association for Prison Reform, a 106-year-old non-profit organization dedicated to monitoring and improving the conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers, as well as to fair, humane, and effective sentencing and correctional policies.
Coldren served in several capacities at the University of Illinois at Chicago, including as director of the Center for Research in Law and Justice, where he led several research projects focusing on both corrections and community policing. Coldren served as Deputy Director with the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, a longitudinal research project of the Harvard University School of Public Health.
He recently completed a six year term on the Illinois Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee (and is co-author of a new anthology on the death penalty). He serves on the Redeploy Illinois (juvenile justice reform) Board, as well as President of the Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice Project.
Finally, Dr. Coldren has served on several IRBs in different capacities over the years. He created an IRB for prison-oriented research, and recently completed a 10-year term as Vice Chair of the IRB for the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.
The job of IRB members is to ensure the protection of human research subjects. The board meets at least twice a year to evaluate expedited and full review proposal submissions using a standard set of criteria. These criteria include, but are not limited to, a consideration of risk to the subjects, informed consent, privacy of subjects, and data confidentiality.
GSU Policy 53 mandates that IRB members must be properly qualified to conduct their duties. In order to prepare for their IRB responsibilities, members undergo training in research ethics expressly designed for them via an online training program called the CITI Program. It is important to note that any individual who conducts human subject research at GSU must also complete the module of the CITI training program most appropriate to their research.
We welcome the IRB members aboard, and extend our gratitude to all who serve the project of ethical research.
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Tips on Grant Submission
In March of 2010, Julie Kong, MED, RD, LDN, Associate Director of the Office of Research Services at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, participated in a Grants Workshop on campus that was sponsored by GSU’s Health Disparities Research grant funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Ms. Kong’s presentation was titled the “Nuts and Bolts” of Putting a Grant Proposal Together.
Ms. Kong’s tips for grant submission included the following:
- Begin your funding search early. It can take six to nine months to prepare a complete, well-thought-out application.
- Select the best funding option. For example, some funding opportunities are geared toward certain types of, or more experienced, investigators.
- Broaden your search for grant funding. A particular foundation may be a better option than a federal agency. Or one federal agency may be more amenable to funding certain types of programs than others.
- Read the guidelines and follow directions! Don’t try to be the exception.
- Convince reviewers that you have the experience and expertise to design, implement, and disseminate the research.
- Spend time on the abstract—it’s the first item reviewers read.
- Give your application to a lay person to review to ensure that your “message” is coming across clearly.
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During the past three months, GSU has submitted approximately six new grant applications. Principal Investigators, grant titles, and agency are summarized below:
- Dr. Robbie O’Shea and Dr. Deborah Bordelon, Combined Priority for Personnel Preparation, U.S. Department of Education
- Susan Rakstang, Settling Point Rehabilitation, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
- Dr. Sherilyn Poole, Centers for Excellence for Veteran Student Success, U.S. Department of Education
- Dr. Colleen Sexton, Grow Your Own Illinois, Illinois Board of Higher Education
- Dr. Becky Nugent and Kelly McCarthy, Changing the Culture for Writing, U.S. Department of Education
- Christine Radtke and Burton Dikelsky, Funding for CPA Children’s Programs, Carroll Family Foundation
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Principal Investigator (PI) Profiles
Carol Morrison, Executive Director of the Family Development Center, recently received an Early Head Start Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
We asked her a number of questions about this grant and grant writing in general.
Q: What are your goals for the Early Head Start Grant?
A: The goals for the Early Head Start grant are to prepare children and families for life. The formal goals are:
- Children enrolled in the Governors State University Early Head Start program will score within or above the normal range for their age on measures of language, cognition, and social emotional development upon leaving the program at age three;
- Governors State University Early Head Start will support and enhance parent-child relationships;
- Children in the Governors State University Early Head Start program will be up-to-date on an age-appropriate schedule of health requirements according to the Illinois EPSDT schedule; and
- Governors State University Early Head Start will increase the level of child care quality in the area.
Q: If you are successful, what are your future goals for the Family Development Center?
A: I really want the FDC to expand and flourish to the point where we can become a Lab School. I think we are on our way. We have researchers from other entities exploring partnerships with us.
A professor from the University of Illinois contacted us to partner on a video training program, and we are talking with a state training partner on the possibility of becoming a model program for other child care centers.
Q: You’ve been pretty successful at grant writing. How did you learn to write successful grants? Any particular tips you can provide to others?
A: I learned to write at Purdue. One of my professors took the fear of writing away when she allowed everyone to edit their first paper. I credit her with teaching me how to write. After school I would say I had good bosses that allowed and encouraged me to write grants. I did take a one-credit class on grant writing that helped.
The most important thing you can do when writing grants is to read the directions, and follow them exactly. In federal grants, if you don’t follow the directions they immediately throw out your proposal. I have heard it said that if you can’t follow the RFP directions, you probably can’t follow the directives of the federal agency. Read the RFP, and then read it again.
Q: The Early Head Start grant is federally funded. Do you currently have any other grants funded?
A: We received a grant from the Dept of Education for a CCAMPIS grant (Child Care Access Means Parents in School). This grant is to provide child care subsidies to Pell Grant recipients.
The FDC has two other grants funded through ISBE: a Prevention Initiative grant to provide home visiting to at risk-infants and toddlers and an At-Risk Pre-Kindergarten grant.
Q: How is working with the federal government different from working with state government or private foundations?
A: I think working with the federal government is easier than with state agencies. Maybe it is because I am more familiar with the regulations and operations.
There is more oversight with federal grants, at least the ones I have, and more trust in that once you have climbed all the hurdles to get the grants, you know what you are doing.
Q: Have you always worked in the field of early education? How long have you been at GSU? How did you get here?
A: I have not always worked in early childhood education. I went back to school as an adult, (I considered GSU at the time, and then we moved) and received a BS in Early Childhood Education from Purdue University.
When my son went to preschool 23 years ago, he was fortunate to have a fantastic preschool teacher. I was fascinated by child development and how fast he learned with her. So I decided to make a career change. I have been at GSU almost two years (November 2008).
After graduating from Purdue, I taught in several preschool programs, then was fortunate to get hired by a Head Start program as a Coordinator. I worked there for several years and when Early Head Start programs were started, I applied for and became an Early Head Start director at a nonprofit agency in Indiana. I stayed there almost 10 years, ending up as the Vice President of Children’s Resources, which meant I wrote grants for the entire agency, especially children’s programs.
I left Indiana to move closer to family here in the south suburbs. I worked in Chicago for a Head Start program immediately prior to coming to GSU.
Q: Anything else to share?
A: I love GSU and being part of the College of Education. I also love collaborating with all the staff, professors, and students that I am privileged to work with.
For more information about the Family Development Center, please contact Carol at email@example.com. We thank her for her input!
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On your way to campus, some of you might have noticed the white frame house near the red barn across the street from Tony Tasset’s sculpture, Paul. Originally the home of a family named Hantack, this building has housed the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) Grants Office since 2007.
This building is the center of activity for two of CHHS’ grant funded projects: the Health Disparities Research Grant funded by NIH’s National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and now the Health Care Jobs for Chicago Southland Grant, funded by the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
The purpose of the first grant is to build research infrastructure at GSU. The purpose of the second grant is to put unemployed, dislocated, and underemployed individuals to work by providing training and establishing career ladders in the health professions.
Recent Hantack Activity
- Getting the Health Care Jobs for Chicago Southland up and running.
- Organizing a conference on Eliminating Health Inequity: From Research to Practice.
Since March 1, 2010, Health Care Jobs for Chicago Southland Project Director Bob Bliese and Assistant Project Director and Case Manager Coordinator Shari Lewis have put into place about 70 percent of planned program elements. A data manager is scheduled to start in September of 2010, and an effort is underway to recruit a Job Developer. Eight training sites are up and operating. To date six individuals have been trained and placed into jobs.
A planning team of GSU faculty, staff and community members have been working for over six months to organize the Eliminating Health Inequity: From Research to Practice conference.
The objectives of this conference are to:
- Highlight the health inequities found in the area.
- Present information about how some community programs are addressing these inequities.
- Highlight the kind of health inequity research GSU is conducting.
- Build partnerships with the community.
Scheduled for October 22, 2010, the conference will include panel presentations, poster sessions, and Dr. Terry Mason, Chief Medical Officer of the Cook County Health and Hospital Systems, as keynote speaker.
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The National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review has produced a series of videos to give new and experienced investigators important information to help them prepare better grant applications.
One video, NIH Peer Review Revealed, shows a peer review panel at work and provides insight into how applications are assessed for scientific and technical merit.
A second video, NIH Tips for Applicants, provides some practice advice and reveals what project officers and peer reviewers look for in a grant application. Both are worth a look—the first video is about 15 minutes long; the second is less than five. Both videos are available by visiting Center for Scientific Review.
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- Linda F. Samson, Interim Vice-Provost of Research and Graduate Studies: 708.534.4389, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Penny L. Havlicek, Director of Administration and Operations Center for the Care and Study of Vulnerable Populations: 708.235.3982, email@example.com
- Becky Nugent, Writing Center Coordinator and Co-Chair of IRB: 708.235.2105, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donna Rolih, Contracts Administrator, Grant Accountant: 708.235.7664, email@example.com
On the Web at:
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