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CAS offers unique course for graduate students

TAMPA, Fla. – Writing grant proposals is an essential part of academic work. Unfortunately, many graduate students enter their field without the know-how of writing successful grant proposals.

Chuck Connor , associate dean of research for the College of Arts and Sciences took it upon himself to create a course to address that very need Connor’s course allows graduate students to work closely with faculty and each other to learn how to write and submit grant proposals. The students partner with faculty mentors to select a grant, write a proposal and submit their work for possible funding.

“The idea was to give them, in a six week course, a look into the process of grantsmanship,” said Connor, who is a professor in the School of Geosciences. “The students know that grants are important, but they don’t know what goes into getting the funding.”

The course is the first of its kind at the University of South Florida. Its purpose, other than benefitting the students, is to increase the amount of funding for USF itself. An increase in the amount of people who know how to accurately propose and submit grants potentially means an increase in grants that get funded.

Maggie Kusenbach, Ph.D. is one of the 10 faculty members involved with the course. She remembers entering her field with little knowledge of writing grants and said it was a very difficult and frustrating time. She hopes the course will help alleviate that frustration for these students who are getting ready to start their careers.

Connor and Kusenbach also hope to see the class expand into the fall and spring semesters, and perhaps see a smaller and more focused class for both natural and social sciences. Opening the course into the longer semesters also would allow students without summer tuition waivers to learn about grant writing.

The course is breaking ground at USF, and holds a great deal of benefit for students involved. “I’d like to see a large number of College of Arts and Sciences students take the class and faculty mentors to use the course as a vehicle to improve their own works,” Connor said. “I’d like to see USF submitting 400 grant proposals and hopefully getting more of them funded.”


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Geology Sociology   
Author: Victoria Babcock