Nancy Busch, Ph.D., was appointed chief research officer at Fordham more than two years ago. One of the goals of her office, as outlined in Toward 2016, the University’s strategic plan, is increasing external research funding to between $75 and $90 million.
Speaking at a March 23 event designed to recognize faculty fellows and research grantees, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, emphasized the importance of expanding and enhancing the University’s research enterprise.
“External research funding is critical,” Father McShane said. “Not just for the raw dollars, but because it speaks to the quality of the research that is happening at Fordham.”
The event at which he spoke, “Growing Research at Fordham,” was one of two public exhibitions that gave recognition to Fordham scholars who have worked with the Office of Research to lay the building blocks for future external funding. The events included PowerPoint presentations summarizing the winning research abstracts and receptions for those who received the awards.
Dean Busch talked briefly about her plans to achieve the University’s research goals with Inside Fordham.
Q. What was the status of Fordham’s research enterprise when you began
leading the Office of Research?
One of the delightful things I found was how much research of very high quality was going on at Fordham. Because we’re a student-centered institution, a lot of scholars don’t talk as much about their research as others do elsewhere. Since then, I’ve tried to emphasize the need to celebrate our research, and speak with pride about it, both within the University community and externally as well.
Q. Who are the faculty who were honored at “Growing Research at Fordham?”
First is our faculty research grant program, which is available to faculty as soon as they come to Fordham. It supplies money to do pilot work, perhaps taking ideas from dissertations and turning them into programmatic research.
This past year, we placed an increased emphasis on first-year faculty members to apply for faculty research grants. As part of “Growing Research at Fordham,” we honored 25 first-year grant recipients.
Q. What are the awards for more established scholars?
The other type of award we celebrated at “Growing Research at Fordham” is faculty fellowships. These are internal awards that faculty members are eligible to apply for after their first reappointment, usually at the beginning of their third year. It provides relief from academic responsibilities other than research, namely, teaching and service.
Fordham pays the faculty member a full salary for one semester. Faculty fellows are also eligible to be away from campus for a whole year, and those who choose to do so are encouraged to work with grant officers to find external funding sources for the remainder of their salaries.
Q. What other campus events will springboard from “Growing Research at Fordham?”
This fall, we will be scheduling mini-symposiums across campus where faculty can present the results they developed from their University-funded research. We hope to group these events by theme—sustainability, for example. We have scholars who study it from a philosophical perspective, who approach it as biology, and some faculty who specialize in environmental law.
In the spring, we will showcase those who have received prestigious external awards. This is still being developed. Overall, it’s important for our faculty to see that the work they do may be synergistic with their fellow scholars, and I don’t think they realize that sometimes.
Q. How will these events further the University’s strategic goal of increasing external research funding?
Ideally, our faculty research grant awardees can someday further their projects through faculty fellowships, develop them more fully, and use them as a springboard to external funding. We really see this as the beginning of the growth of research at Fordham. It’s our hope that more and more faculty will see Fordham as a place where they can receive outstanding assistance in examining their scholarly areas of inquiry.