New UGA research grant program fosters diversity, inclusion

Monday, February 22, 2021

The University of Georgia has awarded 12 grants to faculty-led teams from 17 academic units to support research that promotes diversity and inclusion.

The Diversity Research and Scholarship Grant program is a collaboration between the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research and the Office of Institutional Diversity. A total of 28 scholars working in a wide range of fields, including anthropology, biology, education, English, geography, veterinary medicine and many others, were awarded grants. The allotted funding was increased from $40,000 to $65,000 based on the number and quality of submissions.

“The enthusiastic response to this grant program underscores our faculty’s commitment to impactful research and scholarship that advance diversity and inclusion,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

In the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, associate professor Tessa Andrews and postdoctoral research associate Gretchen King, both in the department of genetics, will assess how STEM faculty think about and use inclusive teaching practices at five institutions. Their ultimate goal is to support STEM faculty in using teaching practices that can benefit students historically underrepresented in STEM.

Many of the grant awardees are working in interdisciplinary teams. Atmospheric scientist Marshall Shepherd, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor, is leading a team of researchers from the department of geography that includes a GIS expert and an urban geographer. Together, they will explore the connections between race-based segregation and increased exposure to dangerous heat levels in minority populations in metro Atlanta.

Associate professor Cheryl Fields-Smith in the Mary Frances Early College of Education has partnered with Andrea L. Dennis, associate dean for faculty development and the John Byrd Martin Chair in the School of Law, to study home education in rural Georgia to better understand reasons some Black parents have chosen to opt out of public education in their communities. Ervan Garrison, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and professor in the departments of anthropology and geology, and James Wilson, instructor in the department of English, will establish working relations with sovereign Native nations to recruit students and to foster awareness of diverse tribal cultures among the students, faculty and community of UGA.

“Efforts to promote diversity and inclusion at UGA and elsewhere must be informed by original research and scholarship in these areas. For this reason, the Office of Research is proud to be a partner in this important initiative,” said David Lee, vice president for research.