November 10, 2020

Dorothy Ives Dewey (Geography & Planning) received $50,000.Research Funding to Date for AY20-21

In the first quarter of the current academic year (July through September 2020), WCU faculty have far surpassed last year in total research funding awarded: $1,886,698 this year versus $656,008 during the same quarter last year — nearly tripling funding awarded during the same time period in 2019.

In July alone, notes Niki Bennett, Vice Provost for Research and Creative Activity and Vice Provost for Faculty Development, “Faculty submitted five times the number of proposals submitted at the same time last year.”

In addition, Bennett has seen an uptick in the number of research proposals submitted and the amount of funding requested.

Some of the notable faculty proposals that have been funded since July 1:

  1. Julie Tenille (Master of Social Work) received funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration for a proposal entitled “Behavioral Workforce Education and Training Program.” This $465,954 grant will be used to increase the number of social workers and school counselors trained in integrated care and to expand behavioral health services to medically underserved populations and communities.
  2. Michael Gawrysiak (Psychology) received $417,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health for his project entitled “Mindful MAT Adherence: Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) to improve extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) adherence and drug-use outcomes for opioid use disorder (OUD).” Funding will support graduate and undergraduate students as they work to understand how mindfulness therapy can be used to alleviate the impact of opioid addiction.
  3. Laquana Cooke (English) received a $20,000 grant from the Independence Public Media Foundation for her project entitled the Youth Activist Press. This will allow Cooke to support youth journalists as they document daily life in Black and brown communities from the perspectives of their peers. The work, currently situated in Philadelphia, will be expanded to Chester and Montgomery counties.
  4. Frank Fish (Biology) received a $59,951 grant from the Office of Naval Research for his proposal “Investigating Sea Lion Locomotion as the Basis for Shape-Changing UUVs.” Fish and his graduate students will use simulations of sea lion movement to inform the engineering of multipurpose robots that can transform from autonomous underwater vehicles to remotely operated vehicles.
  5. Jayme Trogus (Counseling Center) received $39,484 in funding from the PA Liquor Control Board for Reducing Underage and Dangerous Drinking. With this award, Trogus will develop, implement, and evaluate a campaign to reframe the campus culture around alcohol use at West Chester University.
  6. Harry Holt (Health) received $99,999 in funding from the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to conduct research into Opioid Prevention in Higher Education.
  7. Dorothy Ives Dewey (Geography & Planning) received $50,000 from the Center for Rural PA to study “Planning in Rural PA: Analysis of the Effectiveness of Municipal Land Use Tools.”
  8. Astronomer Karen Schwarz (Earth & Space Sciences) received funding from NASA for a proposal entitled “Increasing Student Interest in STEM Careers Through Formal Research.” This $8,000 grant will support students as they develop professional skills through participation in undergraduate research.
  9. Colleen Commisso (Special Education) received a $18,789 grant from PA Inclusive Higher Education to support students who participate in the WCU Real Achievement Matters (RAM) Initiative.

The Office of Research and SponsResearch Fundingored Programs assists faculty with locating funding sources, developing and submitting proposals, ensuring research compliance, and provides post-award services. The office also promotes student research and supports students who are interested in being involved in research on campus.

This fall, the office hosted virtual faculty forums (via Zoom) that featured highlights from multiple researchers across several disciplines in 90-minute themed lunchtime presentations. On November 5, the topic was vulnerable populations with Chiwoneso Tinago, health; Sami Abdel-Salam, criminal justice; Janet Chang, psychology; and Michael Antonio, criminal justice.

The final fall forum on Thursday, December 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. via Zoom will highlight faculty research into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Presenters will be Mia Ocean, graduate social work; Michael Boyle, communication and media; Meg Panichelli, undergraduate social work; Beatrice Adera, special education; and Gerardina Martin, Honors College.

 “We hope to encourage scholarly conversations among faculty members who might not normally meet each other in the interest of igniting collaborations,” says Bennett.

Bennett is also working to establish “Communities of Practice,” faculty teams that meet on a regular basis to learn more about an area of mutual interest. These communities might initiate or continue research and creative activity collaborations; read and discuss disciplinary and interdisciplinary literature related to the topic; write proposals together; and proofread and edit each other’s scholarly manuscripts.

For more information on Research and Sponsored Programs, contact or 610-436-3557.


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