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Collaborative Research Project Guidelines

Proposals for Academic Year — 2020-21

Collaboration is the key to much of the research and scholarly activity at Earlham. Each year members of the Earlham teaching faculty apply for Collaborative Research grants to support student/faculty research teams.

Since the College has officially committed itself to a Quality Initiative Project for re-accreditation focused on “Diversity,” we particularly encourage applications that inspire Earlham’s active pursuit of diversity and inclusion across the disciplines. With broad considerations of compositional and thematic diversity and inclusion in mind, we invite teaching faculty to pursue analytical, creative, imaginative and constructive research that embraces the challenge of inclusive collaboration within the context of Earlham’s significant national, international and transnational diversity.

If you are interested in applying for a Collaborative Research project, there are two deadlines to observe (both are on the first Wednesday of the month).

  • Wednesday, November 6, 2019: for submitting a preliminary statement. The committee needs approximately two paragraphs describing your project (topic, projected research and outcomes, plans for sharing your research with the Earlham community) AND a close estimate of dollar costs.
  • Wednesday, December 4, 2019: for submitting the final proposal.

The final statement for a Collaborative Research project should include the following components, in this order:

  1. Name and title of faculty director
  2. Title of project
  3. What is the research to be conducted? What are the anticipated learning goals and outcomesfor yourself, the students, and the community? How does the project relate to the mission of the college? Please be specific. Note that items #1, 2 and 3 could be included in reports describing Collaborative Research projects, and posted on the Collaborative Research web page.
  4. Exactly how will the work be collaborative? Specifically, what research and analytical work will the students do? How will the students' work be evaluated? Please be specific, especially in relating assessment to student learning.
  5. What academic preparation should students have?
  6. How many students will be involved? Four students is the norm, but past projects have had as few as three and as many as eight students.
  7. What is the schedule for the project? Please indicate:
    •  semester and year during which the project will occur
    •  how the work will be accomplished during a semester, and perhaps
    •  how time before and/or after the research term is to be used.
    •  Note: Collaborative Research projects earn 3 credits.
  8. How will your released time be provided? If you are to be replaced, how will this be arranged?
  9. What is the budget for the entire project? Please include the costs of ANY faculty released time during a regular semester as $8,000 (even if your replacement may earn less). Most project totals fall within the $9,000 to $10,000 range, INCLUDING the cost of faculty replacement. Note: the Collaborative Research Fund does not cover the costs of students' books and of extensive group travel. However, we can support individual faculty travel to conduct research essential to the Collaborative Research project. Proposals should clearly indicate why the travel is essential, and what specific costs would be. Project directors can also request funds to purchase personal books and educational materials necessaryfor project preparation; requests should include an itemized list of materials to be purchased.
  10. How will the project impact your teaching generally?
  11. What are your plans for sharing your research results with the Earlham community? Publications, exhibits, departmental colloquia, presentations at the Earlham Annual Research Conference, and readers' theater performances are just a few of the vehicles used in the past.
  12. For the 2017-2018 academic year the College has committed itself to a Quality Initiative Project for re-accreditation focused on “Diversity.” The collaborative research committee invites you to articulate the ways in which your proposed project expresses the theme of diversity in ways that exhibit inclusive intersectionality in terms of the composition of your research team; research focus, materials and methodology; learning goals; and/or any other measure(s).

Please send your application via email (in a PDF or MS Word file) to Maggie Thomas at and Donna Sykes at

Here are some sample proposals from:

You are encouraged to discuss your plans with a member of the Collaborative Committee before you apply. Committee members are Neal Baker, ext. 1355; Maggie Thomas, ext. 1451 (convener). The Administrative Associate for the Collaborative Research Program is Donna Sykes, ext. 1525, 1526.

Note: Final reports on Collaborative Research projects are due by last Monday of June of the academic year in which the project occurred. You must submit a final report in order to be considered for future grants.

A complete account of expenses, with receipts, should accompany your final report. It is expected that any unused portion of an expense award will be returned to the College when you submit your final report.

Individuals who submit proposals that are not funded by the Collaborative Research Committee may appeal the Committee's decisions to the Academic Dean.

For 2018-19, the Collaborative Research Committee approved eight projects involving nine faculty members. These projects are:

  • Jennifer Cardinal (Sociology/Anthropology), Earlham and Richmond: The Sociocultural Geography of Community
  • Eric Cunningham (Japanese Studies), Japan at Earlham, a Research and Historical Preservation Practicum
  • Tom Hamm (History), Quakers and the American Civil War
  • Ahmed Khanani (Politics), Rethinking “Islam” in Political Islam
  • Michael Lerner (Environmental Sustainability), Modeling Climate Change in New Zealand
  • Lynne Perkins Socey (Theatre Arts), New Play Project for Edinburgh Fringe Festival
  • Honghong Tinn (History), History of Science and Technology in Modern East Asia
  • Betsy Schlabach (History) and Amy Bryant (Library), Intersections of Race and Language in New Orleans: Colonial Era to Katrina

For 2017-18, the Collaborative Research Committee approved eight projects involving eight faculty members. These projects were:

  • Becky Justice (Global Management), Virtual Experiences in Diversity & Inclusion Education
  • Sandra Lara (History), Gender, Law, and Popular Culture in Coahuila:  1821-1910
  • Ann-Eliza Lewis (Museum Studies), (Re) interpretive Analysis of the JMM’s Adena and Hopewell Collections
  • Katharine Milar (Psychology), Psychology Curriculum at Historically Black Colleges
  • Jana Schroeder (Community Engagement), Oral Histories of Place and Identity in Richmond, Indiana
  • Tian Tian (Chemistry), Testing the Efficiency of Solar Cell
  • Michelle Tong (Psychology), The Molecular Mechanisms of Olfactory Representation Specificity, and Other Untold Stories
  • Chris Smith (Biology), The Role of Nutrition in Ant Caste Determination and Ecology

For 2016-17, the Collaborative Research Committee approved seven projects involving eight faculty members. These projects were:

  • Michael Birkel (Religion) & Tom Hamm (History), The Young Friends of North America Movement
  • Michael Lerner (Physics), Watching Molecules Move
  • Demian Riccardi (Chemistry), In Silico Drug Design of Molecular Antagonists to the Biological Activities of Carbonic Anhydrase
  • Rachael Reavis (Psychology), Birth to Five
  • Jennifer Seely (Politics), Politics and Community Research: Voting in Richmond, Indiana
  • Kelly Tuttle (Arabic), The Arabic Manuscript in the Digital Age
  • Mickey White (Theatre Arts), Solving Sustainability Issues in the Field of Dramatic Arts

For 2015-16, the Collaborative Research Committee approved 10 projects involving 10 faculty members. These projects were:

  • Michael Birkel (Religion), Quakers and Post-Theism
  • Michael Birkel (Religion), Buddhism and Film
  • Ellen Keister (Physics), Science Time: Photographic Investigation of the Timescales of Natural Processes
  • Sungyeoul Lee (Art), Digital Craft
  • Karen Mager (Biology), Biodiversity in the Bicentennial Legacy Conservation Area
  • JoAnn Martin (Sociology/Anthropology), Compulsory Heterosexuality and the State
  • Carmen Moseley (Museum Studies), A Human Skeletal Curation Practicum in the Joseph Moore Museum
  • Mark Van Buskirk (Art), Big Bodies: Life Size Figurative Sculpture and Life Casting
  • Alice Shrock (History), Uppity Women: Quaker Women as Agents of Advancement Abroad
  • Lyn Miller (Religion), Mystics, Dreamers, Geniuses, Soul-Travelers: The Psychology and Science of Extraordinary Experience
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