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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences announces Excellence Initiatives Projects

Professors benefit from planning and seed grants

June 5, 2010, by Rob Enslin

Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences is embarking on six new Excellence Initiatives Projects, part of the three Excellence Initiatives–Forensic and National Security Science, Sustainable Global Systems: Clean Water, and Humanities in the Digital Age–unveiled in 2009 to foster collaboration among multidisciplinary teams of research scholars.

Arts and Sciences has awarded eight faculty members involved with the six projects more than $83,000 in planning and seed grants. The money will be used to collect preliminary data and to prepare interdisciplinary research proposals for submission to state and national agencies and to private foundations.

Dean George M. Langford (above) says the grants ensure the long-term success of the Excellence Initiatives. “Our recipients submitted outstanding projects,” he says, adding that each proposal incorporated elements of interdisciplinary research, teaching, service and enterprise. “The new Excellence Initiatives help position the college as a center of excellence in areas of national importance.”

The following faculty members received more than $51,000 in planning grants to support the preparation and submission of one or more proposals to an agency or foundation: Robert Doyle, associate professor of chemistry (“Targeting Iron-Citrate Membrane Transporters for the Detection of Anthrax”); Larry Lewandowski, professor of psychology, and Stephanie Ortigue, assistant professor of psychology (“Multi-Method Assessment of the Effects of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Soldiers”); James Watts, associate professor of religion (“Putting Iconic Books on the Web”); and Stephanie Ortigue (“Predicting Motor Intentions of Other People”).

The following faculty members received $32,000 in seed grants to support preliminary data collection and proof of principle for new research initiatives: Kishi Animashaun-Ducre, assistant professor of African American studies (AAS); Joan Bryant, associate professor of AAS; Linda Littlejohn, associate vice president of SU’s South Side Initiative (“Black Syracuse Community History and Mapping Project”); and Donald Siegel, a Meredith Professor in the earth sciences department (“The Intersection of Great Lakes With Urban Environments”).

Langford says that both types of grants provide the resources needed to overcome barriers to multi-investigator interdisciplinary research. “Excellence Initiatives exemplify our commitment to campus-wide interdisciplinary research,” he says.

“Applicants were subjected to a rigorous four-month review process,” explains Jeffrey Karson, the Jessie Page Heroy Professor and chair of the earth sciences department, who led the Excellence Initiatives Fund Oversight Committee. Each project, he says, was evaluated on the basis of the strength of the research group, the quality of its research plan and the relevance to a specific Excellence Initiative. “The committee then made recommendations to the dean, who made the final decisions.”