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School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Interdisciplinary Investigations

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Call for Proposals for 2022-2024

Submit by 5 p.m., May 31, 2022

The School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development (ISPD) and the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) announce a call for proposals for the 2022-2024 Interdisciplinary Investigations Research Series. The aim of this new two-year series is to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration to address community-identified needs, enhance community capacity to solve pressing challenges, and to prepare the next generation of engaged scholars.

The Interdisciplinary Investigations initiative is underwritten by the Southern Miss Fund for Academic Excellence.  We thank the donors for their support of these exciting interdisciplinary projects at Southern Miss.  We also thank the Provost for his long-standing commitment to interdisciplinary projects and scholarship.

In addition to the upcoming series, the fund paid for the 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 series.


A successful proposal will involve two to three faculty members from multiple disciplines, with the support of an identified stakeholder from the community. Collaboration across schools, colleges and campuses is encouraged. Research will include up to four undergraduate students identified during the first year of the project. 

If you are interested in applying but do not have a community partner identified or would like to brainstorm potential topics, please contact Christy Kayser at christy.kayserFREEMississippi  or Ann Marie Kinnell at ann.kinnellFREEMississippi. Potential areas of study important to our region include but are not limited to homelessness, mental health, racial equity, economic mobility, early childhood and maternal outcomes, juvenile delinquency, public health, career readiness, environmental health, and domestic violence. 

Proposed research projects should adhere to the principles of community-based research with faculty and community members working collaboratively to conduct research for “the purpose of solving a pressing community problem or effecting social change” (Community-Based Research and Higher Education, Strand et al., 2004, p.3). The collaboration should incorporate best practices and principles of campus-community partnerships (such as those outlined in CCPH’s Principles of Partnership.)

The Structure of the 2022-2024 Series

Year One will focus on the planning and development of the project.  Year Two will focus on data collection, analysis, and reporting.

  • Summer/Fall 2022: Development of strategic partnerships, research questions, and research plans.
  • Spring 2023: Commitment to team-teach a section of IDS 350 Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies on research topic and methods of community-engaged research. This course may be cross-listed with special topics/variable content courses in the faculty members’ home schools.
  • Summer/Fall 2023: Research and analysis. Collaboration with up to four undergraduate researchers to collect data and begin analysis. 
  • Spring/Summer 2024: Completion of research and analysis. Results submitted to the community partner. Engaged Scholar students present research project at Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellows and Engaged Scholar Research Assistants

  • Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellows actively participate in all parts of the initiative including conducting research, teaching the IDS 350 course in the spring semester of the first year, and supervising undergraduate research assistants.  A maximum of three Interdisciplinary Fellows will be funded. Additional faculty may be considered based on importance to project and availability of funding.
  • Faculty will identify one to four undergraduate researchers to serve as Engaged Scholar Research Assistants; students will receive a small stipend and course credit via IDS 491.


  • Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellow Stipends: each Faculty Fellow will receive a $500 stipend per year. 
  • Faculty Fellows teaching IDS 350 out-of-load will receive a course overload payment (for groups of two, the course overload payment will be $1,500; for groups of three, course overload payment will be $1,200). Faculty may choose to receive stipends directly as pay or they may elect to use the money for reimbursement for other work-related projects, e.g. travel, research, scholarship, and/or creative activities. University procurement policies and procedures will apply.
  • A budget of $500 is available to support costs associated with research activities such as travel, data collection, and data analysis. Other costs may be covered as funding allows.
  • Engaged Scholar students will receive stipends of $250/each at the conclusion of each semester of participation in the research project (Fall 2023 and Spring 2024).   

Proposals should include an overview of the project including:

  1. A clear statement of the community issue to be studied, how it is relevant to the Mississippi or Pine Belt region, and how the study’s findings may benefit community stakeholders. 
  2. A list of all faculty involved with their school/program affiliations. Contact person for group should be identified.
  3. A brief description of each Interdisciplinary Fellow’s participation/contribution to the research and teaching activities of the initiative.
  4. A letter of support from a community stakeholder indicating their interest in the partnership and how the research project could meet their needs.
  5. A preliminary budget, including an indication of potential sources of additional funding if applicable.
  6. A brief description of the proposed IDS 350 course and explanation of how students will be recruited for the course.  Please specify which courses may be cross-listed if applicable.
  7. A brief email/memo of support from the School Director of each Interdisciplinary Fellow indicating support for their participation and agreement with how course will be taught (in- or out-of-load, any cross-listing).
Submit proposals in PDF format via email to Dr.%20Ann%20Marie%20Kinnell, Director, ISPD, by 5 p.m., May 31, 2022. Funded proposals will be notified by June 15, 2022. Please contact Dr. Kinnell with any questions. 


Past Interdisciplinary Investigations Series Projects:

The 2021-2022 series, Medical Encounters, was organized by four faculty members:

  • Dr. Emily Stanback, Associate Professor of English, School of Humanities
  • Dr. Kathryn Anthony, Associate Professor of Communications, School of Communications
  • Dr. Ian Dunkle, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, School of Humanities
  • Dr. Michelle McLeese, Assistant Teaching Professor of Sociology, School of Social Science and Global Studies

Information about their two events and their course can be found at their website:

Proposal: Topics included:
(1) history of uses, including religious, medical, and recreational uses;
(2) sources of drugs, such as opium poppy plants in this case;
(3) the mechanisms of action, or pharmacology, of drugs in reducing pain;
(4) the legal and illegal business of producing, marketing, and selling drugs;
(5) intervention and the treatment of addictions; 
(6) the public policy of dealing with drugs, drug users, and drug dealers.

Coordinators: Mac Alford, Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences; Ragan Downey, Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security; Michael Madson, Psychology; and Julie Pigza, Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Spring 2020 course: IDS 350-H002 (8505), TTh 1:00p.m. - 2:15p.m. 
Topic: Opioids: From Painkilling to Pain Causing, A Multidisciplinary Analysis of the Opioid Epidemic.
Instructors: Mac Alford (Biology), Michael Madson (Psychology), Ragan Downey (CJ/Forensic Science)

This class considered opioids and the opioid addiction crisis from the angles of history, medicinal plants, chemistry/pharmacology, pain treatment, addiction interventions and treatments, medical professional training, policies and practice in criminal justice, and societal impact. Students developed a multifaceted view of, and be better prepared to help address, this important and timely public health epidemic.


Proposal: This project investigated civil rights and social justice issues in Mississippi jails through an examination of the conditions within jails and the opportunities for reform. The series included a documentary being made by undergraduate students as well as through panels featuring civil rights leaders, law enforcement officials, reporters, and Southern Miss faculty members.

Coordinators: Douglas Bristol, Humanities; Vincenzo Mistretta, Communication; Team: Deanne Stephens, Humanities; Chris Campbell, Communication; Cheryl Jenkins, Communication/Black Studies; Wes Johnson, Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security; Alan Thompson, Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security; and Michael Wigginton, Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security


Proposal: This project investigated aspects of Native American life and ways in the Gulf South from ancient to contemporary times, using a variety of research methods and sources. Faculty and students examined ethnographic and qualitative data collection as well as perspectives on indigenous life collected from primary colonial sources (Spanish, French, and English)  

Coordinators: Tammy Greer, Psychology; Joshua Haynes, Humanities; Jeanne Gillespie, Social Science and Global Studies; Team: Bridget Hayden, Social Science and Global Studies; Jennifer Lemacks, Kinesiology and Nutrition; Deanne Stephens, Humanities

Spring 2020 course: IDS 350-H001 (8163), MW 1:00p-2:15p, HYBRID 

Topic: In the Footsteps of the Ancestors: Native American Travel, Trade, and Natural Resource Use in the Gulf South
Instructors: Jeanne Gillespie (World Languages), Tammy Greer (Psychology), Josh Haynes (History)

Come learn about our American Indian heritage along the Gulf Coast.  Did you know Pascagoula, MS has been a city known for boatbuilding for more than 5000 years? Did you know tamales got to Mississippi before Europeans did? Did you know that some of the first contacts between Europeans and American Indian communities occurred in our region and that there are archives filled with documents describing American Indian ways of life and cultures in Spanish, French and English?  If you are interested in exploring more about these questions and the lives of our American Indian neighbors, take IDS 350.


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School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

110 Elizabeth Harkins Hall (EHH)
118 College Dr. #5112
Hattiesburg, MS 39406


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