Self-Study Updates

Thank you for your interest in the Self-Study of the position of the Director of Faculty Research Support! This is a welcome development, as this will be the first-ever external review of this kind since the position of Director of Faculty Research Support was created 17 years ago. Let's use this as an opportunity to think expansively about how your scholarly and creative work can be better supported.

Feedback Gathered

Feedback from Faculty in Block 8 Survey

In Block 8, 2021, we administered a survey to the faculty seeking feedback on the support you receive in working on grants and fellowships. Forty faculty members answered at least one question – 21 respondents indicated their affiliation in the Natural Sciences, 13 in the Humanities, 7 in the Social Sciences and 7 in interdisciplinary fields (some affiliated with two areas).

The feedback from the faculty survey has been incredibly helpful – and also personally very uplifting. If you were able to contribute, thank you so much. For the sake of full transparency, the Survey Findings prepared by Dr. Amanda Udis-Kessler have been posted here:

Feedback from Administrative Offices during Summer 2021

The Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness met with representatives from various administrative offices that interact with the Director of Faculty Research Support. Interviews were conducted with 12 individuals and the feedback was compiled into the following report.

Moving Forward

Based on the Block 8 faculty survey findings and the feedback from the administrative offices, I believe we are in an excellent position to take advantage of current strengths and opportunities – and I greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness and candor in outlining where we can improve.

Vision Statement

As part of the self-study I have drafted the following summary Vision Statement for how the work of supporting external grants and fellowships could be strengthened over the next 5 years. While this language is a beginning, I want the vision for this work to be something we create as a community. Ultimately this is not my vision but should be our collective vision for better supporting you.

Because the strength of our engagement in research and creative work is clear and because such engagement enriches our teaching, the pursuit of external funding for our scholarly work enhances our mission to provide the finest liberal arts education in the country. With our time and efforts supported by the College in imaginative ways, we create a vibrant, intentional community of faculty and staff who engage in grants and fellowships activity as part of the broader ecosystem of our scholarly activity and creative work. Recognizing that our research and creative work benefit both from the process of writing thoughtfully about its significance as well as from sharing our written narratives with colleagues and reviewers, we foster a supportive environment for scholarly exchange. Encouraged by robust individualized programming and appropriate administrative support, we engage in strategic activities that position us well for long-term success, reaping wide-ranging benefits from the process regardless of funding.

The following document elaborates on how we can get there.

Strategic Position and Direction

Based on the above feedback and my own reflection during the course of preparing the self-study, the final section of the self-study, titled "Strategic Position and Direction," describes:

  • Six overarching goals for the position of Director of Faculty Research Support (aka the "Office")
  • Eight interconnected strategies for meeting these goals
  • 27 Recommended Actions across these strategies

Overarching Goals for the "Office" in 5 Years

  1. Faculty interested in seeking external funding have confidence in the benefits of the process.
  2. Grant-seekers feel part of a strong grants community.
  3. The grants community is well informed about ongoing and new resources & opportunities.
  4. Faculty from all disciplines, ranks and identities feel supported equitably.
  5. Collaborations with other administrative offices are strengthened to manage existing external funding and leverage additional resources.
  6. The scope of the “Office” is evaluated to ensure we are appropriately structured to leverage success.

Interconnected Strategies for Reaching "Office" Goals

A) Develop a culture for long-range, strategic planning for external funding
B) Develop ongoing mechanisms for faculty to provide ongoing guidance to DFRS/Office
C) Foster an intentional grant-seeking community
D) Develop mechanisms to provide grant-seekers with structured time to make progress on grants and fellowships
E) Enhance resources in targeted ways in order to invite engagement and grant activity from all faculty, regardless of division, rank, identity, etc.
F) Formalize the “Office” in order to build capacity
G) Develop systematic processes of post-award and compliance support throughout the lifespan of active grants
H) Evaluate the structure and functions of the “Office” including its scope and its capacity for collaborations with allied offices

Recommended Actions for reaching "Office" goals: To learn more about the 27 Recommended Actions, please review Section 10 - Strategic Position and Direction (draft as of Dec. 7, 2021).

The Final Stages

As I finalize the self-study in the coming weeks, I welcome your feedback. You may send me your thoughts to Prefer a phone call? Let’s set up a time to talk!

If you would like to share feedback anonymously, Amanda Udis-Kessler will gladly accept feedback by email to Please indicate in your email whether we have worked together in the past or not. She will anonymize the feedback and provide it to me in those two categories.


Thank you for your participation in this process!

Tess Powers, Director of Faculty Research Support

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/13/2021