Research, scholarly, and creative activities are an important part of Highland’s mission, and are written into the mission statement itself: “Our mission is to provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to attain an exceptional education by fostering creativity, critical thinking and research in the liberal arts, sciences, and professions within a diverse community.”
Highlands has many systems in place to foster research, scholarship, and creative works within the Highlands community, as described below.
Office of Research and Sponsored Projects
The Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) is dedicated to providing the necessary leadership and comprehensive support for faculty, staff and students to contribute and participate in the world of research, scholarship, and creative activity. ORSP personnel include the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research who serves as the Director, a grants manager with over 20 years of experience, a consultant on contract as needed to assist in grant support, and one student worker.
The ORSP specifically manages the research and service enterprise for the university and is administered through the Office for Academic Affairs with oversight authority imparted to the Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects.
Specifically, the responsibilities and duties of the Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects are to enhance the research environment on campus by (1) working collaboratively with appropriate deans, independent centers and institutes to enhance scholarship and interdisciplinary research at the university; (2) widely disseminating grant opportunities, conducts and plans professional development for faculty to assist in grant application and success; (3) disseminating information about indirect costs, fringe benefits, and University policies on research to administrators, faculty, and staff; (4) ensuring compliance; (5) aligning research efforts with the university’s mission, vision, and strategic goals; (6) interacting with the Faculty Research Committee by reviewing proposals and suggesting sources for funding; (7) maintaining academic and research profiles of faculty to match interests with funding agencies; and (8) responding to administrative and faculty inquiries for research support.
Faculty Research Committee
The Faculty Research Committee (FRC) works closely with the ORSP to provide further support for faculty research, scholarly, and creative activities. This committee consists of one elected faculty member from each College Department, up to two members each for the Schools of Education, Social Work, and Business, and one professional librarian, has the following duties and responsibilities as per Faculty Handbook (Section 5G) and Research Handbook (Section 1.5.1)
- Review and formulate recommendations for policies and procedures regarding research activities conducted under the auspices of the university.
- Formulate policies and procedures pertaining to allocation of university funds for support of scholarly, creative or research activities.
- Review and approve/disapprove requests for funding of scholarly, creative or research projects through university monies (i.e., the Faculty Research Fund discussed below).
- Organize an annual Faculty Research Day.
Institutional Support of Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities
To further support research, scholarship, and creative activities, the ORSP and FRC work together to oversee the Faculty Research Fund. The Faculty Research Fund provides support to faculty in several ways including: (1) initiating original, creative or scholarly activity; (2) disseminating research, creative activity, or scholarly pursuits; and (3) supporting specific activities that will contribute to external funding.
All faculty members are eligible to submit proposals. A maximum of $5,000 for research and a maximum of $1,200 for travel per faculty member is allowed per grant phase if funds are available. No quotas are set to allocate funds among the types of projects eligible for funding among schools. Funds are awarded on merit of each individual proposal established by the members of the Faculty Research Committee. The Faculty Research Fund comes from indirect cost allocations and since FY2009 years has ranged from between 2.7% and 3.9% of our total indirect funds received.
Only one proposal will be considered from an individual faculty member during each grant phase. Submission dates for each phase are published by the Research Committee and must be submitted by the deadline. While previous recipients are eligible to reapply each grant phase, preference is given to new applicants.
In addition to the Faculty Research Fund, Highlands also has a Grant Development Release Time Program to promote high-quality, externally funded research and scholarly activity. In the spirit of supporting this goal, the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects invites all tenured and tenure-track faculty to submit planned proposals for submission to outside funding agencies, for review by the Faculty Research Committee (FRC). If the preliminary proposal is recommended by the FRC, the faculty member is awarded 25% release time from the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects to further develop their grant proposal for one semester. All proposals are peer-reviewed by the FRC and are approved/disapproved based on how well they meet the review criteria outlined below. Final approval is up to the Dean of the College and Department Chair depending on departmental needs. Additionally, this award is intended to provide release time from teaching duties to facilitate proposal preparation to seek external funding; therefore it may not be used to justify a teaching overload contract.
Program details for the Grant Development Release Time Program: a) Up to five awards made per semester, b) Awards are for 1 semester only, c) Two award cycles per year (April for Fall Semester, October for Spring Semester), d) You can be awarded 25% release for consecutive semesters, but must reapply each semester, e) If awarded release for two consecutive semesters, you must wait 1 year to reapply, f) Awards are merit based, g) No funds awarded to the faculty member or department for summer pay, h) If a per-course replacement is needed, those monies are paid from the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, i) Only Tenure and Tenure-track may apply, j) 25% release awarded under this program may not be used to justify an overload contract for the faculty member during the semester of the award
Workshops and Trainings Offered, 2016 to the Present
To provide the necessary training and support for research, scholarly activities, and creative activities, the ORSP and the FRC offer a number of workshops and trainings. These are delivered both in person and via Zoom, and many are recorded for later viewing.
- Faculty Development Week: Faculty research committee: “Securing funding, working within the NMHU system; Student research activities, internal and external funding.” Tuesday August 9, 2016, 9:00-9:50. Given by Dr. Michael Petronis, Faculty Research Committee Chair.
- Faculty Development Week: “Office of Research and Sponsored Projects: What does it mean to you?” Wednesday, August 10, 2016, 11:00-11:50. Given by Dr. Jim Alarid, Director ORSP.
- Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE): “Submitting external Funding Proposals.” October 7, 2016. Given by Dr. Jim Alarid, Director ORSP
- Offered by ORSP: Grants Workshop. Monday August 14, 2017, 12:00 – 2:30 pm. Led by Carol Linder, Director ORSP. http://cte.nmhu.edu/orsp-workshop-video-10716/
- Offered by ORSP: Planning for funded and upcoming STEM Grant, Monday September 28, 2017 12:00 – 1:30 pm.
- Offered by ORSP and CTE: Funding Innovative Research through the SBIR/STTR Programs NMSU Arrowhead Center and NM FAST, Friday, September 8, 2017 12:00 – 2:00 pm
- Offered by ORSP and CTE: Tenure-Track Faculty support meeting, Tuesday, October 31, 2017.
- Individual consultations, grant-writing support, grant-specific webinars are regularly offered with specific faculty as appropriate.
ORSP includes data for completing proposals, policies, forms, grant writing tips, and materials from grant workshops: http://www.nmhu.edu/research-and-sponsored-projects/.
Faculty Research Committee includes applications, funded proposals, sample proposals: http://www.nmhu.edu/research-and-sponsored-projects/faculty-research-committee/.
Sabbaticals, Travel Funds, and Release Time
Highlands further supports research through sabbaticals, travel funds, and release time for chairing M.A. theses. Sabbaticals, travel funds, and release time are all written into the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Sabbaticals and travel funds are discussed under 3.C.4., “As per Article 33 of the CBA, tenured and tenure-track faculties are also supported with professional development funds within their unit budgets. The majority of the faculty use these funds for travel to conference and other professional meetings. The most recent CBA (2017) raised the travel money available from $700 to $1,500 per tenured and tenure-track faculty member.
Article 14 of the CBA describes the sabbatical leave program for tenured and tenure-track faculty. A sabbatical leave is awarded to provide time and resources for qualified bargaining unit members to revitalize themselves through writing, scholarship, travel, research, and/or further formal educational study, which will contribute to the member’s ability to discharge his or her obligations to the university. In the last five academic years, Highlands has awarded 19 sabbaticals to faculty members across the university. These experiences have allowed our faculty to develop skills and collaborative relationships that they then bring back to enhance their research and teaching at Highlands.”
Given the size of our tenured and tenure-track faculty (around 95), this means roughly 20% have received a sabbatical in the last 5 years to work on their research, writing, and teaching.
A unique way of supporting research at Highlands is through giving faculty release time for successful chairing an M.A. thesis to completion, as described in Article 12 of the CBA: “Faculty members shall be given 1 teaching credit hour workload credit for every completed thesis, publishable paper(s), graduate Capstone portfolio, or graduate field project for which they served as supervisor or chair.” Because chairing a thesis often means involving a student in the professor’s research, whether directly through lab supervision or indirectly through shared methodologies and research areas, this allows faculty members to dedicate more time to both their students and to improving their research knowledge and activities.
Pino and Ballen Endowment Support of Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities
The Ballen Endowment allows professors to bring in scholars and artists for two week campus visits, allowing our faculty and students to engage with leaders in their fields. Just this past week, Highlands hosted Pulitzer-prize nominated poet Diane Suess in the English department; previous scholars and artists have included performance artists, Native American social activists, and theater activists.
The Pino Endowment for Faculty Development is designed to provide faculty at NMHU an opportunity to further their development in the areas of Teaching, Research/Scholarly Activity, and Service to the University and Community. This fund provides up to $1500 to support one of the following three areas:
- Teaching—the pursuit by a faculty member to enhance her/his teaching by learning new pedagogy: knowledge, techniques, skills, or methods.
- Research and scholarly activity—the pursuit of a faculty member to enhance or expand his/her research area by learning new research techniques, skills, or methodology.
- Service to the University and Community—the pursuit by a faculty member to develop his/her knowledge, skills or methods to enhance the ability to provide service to the university or surrounding community. Recipients are expected to write a short proposal and provide a final comprehensive report at the conclusion of their development.
Institutional Support for Dissemination of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Works
- Student Research Day, organized by the Faculty Research Committee and ARMAS Student Scholars
- Faculty Research Day, organized by Faculty Research Committee
- Graduate Day at the Legislature, organized by the Office of Graduate Studies
- Faculty and student presentations at regional and national meetings
HU Power of Excellence: Recognition for Research and Scholarly Activities
To encourage research, scholarly, and creative activity, Highlands regularly recognizes this work through the following receptions held at the President’s residence during the 2016-2017 and upcoming 2017-2018 academic year.
- Power Authors: Faculty or staff who have published a book or served as an editor on a major work
- Power Artists: Visual artists who have exhibited work in a space where the primary purpose is to display artwork or artists who have completed a public art commission/installation; Musicians who have performed in a venue where the primary purpose is concert events, musicians who have had their recordings commercially released, or composers who have had their work professionally published; Actors/directors/set designers who have contributed to a production in a venue where the primary purpose is theatrical productions.
- Power Grantees: Faculty or staff who received $100,000 grants or contracts
For more information on the Power of Excellence, see http://www.nmhu.edu/faculty-and-staff/hu-power-of-excellence/; http://www.nmhu.edu/new-hu-power-excellence-program-recognizes-high-achieving-employees/.