The University of Southern Mississippi recently established the Institute for Collaborative Research and Engagement (iCoRE), which was approved by the Institution of Higher Learning. iCoRE is a faculty-led research hub in the College of Arts and Letters which assists in locating grant funding for research, proposal and budget development, and administrative forms and requirements.
Dr. Steven Moser, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said the new institute represents efforts to provide support for faculty research, and to do so in collaborative, cross-college, and multidisciplinary ways.
“We have remarkable faculty in our college who do interesting and meaningful research and creative scholarship, with great potential for national and international recognition,” Moser said. This work should lead to funding by organizations and foundations from around the country with iCoRE serving as the college mechanism to support faculty as they develop relationships with these organizations.”
Executive Director of iCoRe and Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Letters Dr. Lin Harper said iCoRE was designed to focus and encourage faculty productivity in research and in funded research.
“We want to develop a culture of asking for - and receiving - external funding to support faculty research rather than having faculty continue to rely on rapidly dwindling departmental budgets or spend their own personal funds to fund their research,” Harper said. “This is not a new idea in the sciences, health, or even the performing arts, but it is a different way of doing business for most of our colleagues in this college.”
While iCore helps fund various faculty research initiatives, the heart of iCoRE is promoting and celebrating those faculty research projects. Acknowledging successful initiatives is a priority and a special awards committee was formed to recognize those who have gone above and beyond the role and portrait of the typical college professor.
The College Research Awards Committee, which consists of faculty representatives from each department in the College of Arts and Letters, awards Faculty Basic Research/Creative Grants in the fall and screens and recommends Excellence Award winners in the spring.
Harper said Southern Miss Provost Dr. Denis Wiesenburg and Vice Provost for Research Dr. Gordon Cannon “clearly understand that the college is in transition in this area, and have provided us with some seed money to award basic research/creative activity grants over a three-year period.”
These grants, while competitive within the college, are less competitive than federal or regional grants and give faculty the opportunity to hone their grant-writing skills and quickly identify funding for their research.
“It’s not just about funded research; it’s about building a research profile for our departments and the college, which means more publications, more conference attendance, and more national grants,” Harper said. “Those kinds of things help us build on our regional and national profile for our faculty, departments, college and the university.”
For more information about the Institute for Collaborative Research and Engagement, contact the College of Arts and Letters at 601.266.4315. To learn more about the college’s degree programs and activities, online visit www.usm.edu/arts-letters.