University Solicits Applications for 2021 Achieving Equity Grants

Virtual information session set for Wednesday for new round of grants

OXFORD, Miss. – After awarding four inaugural Achieving Equity Grants earlier this year, the University of Mississippi has announced a request for applications for the 2021 round of the competitive seed grant program.

Started in 2019, the program supports innovative scholarly and creative efforts that advance knowledge on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion, which are central to the university’s mission of transformative teaching, learning, research and service.

A virtual diversity grants information session for interested investigators is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday (Oct. 14) to discuss the 2021 program.

“The scholarly activity of our faculty has driven our campus to the highest level of research activity among higher education institutions,” said Shawnboda Mead, interim vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement. “The Achieving Equity Grants competition and award reaffirms to our campus that topics of diversity, equity and inclusion are advanced through robust scholarly exploration.

“As our university strives to foster an inclusive environment where all individuals feel a sense of belonging, these projects are critical to continued efforts to decrease inequities both on our campus and within the broader community. Our division is excited about the projects that were funded during the 2020 competition and look forward to the 2021 cycle.”

Seven professors were awarded four grants this summer through the program, which is funded by the Office of the Provost and managed by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in collaboration with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

The professors and their research projects are:

  • Meagan Brown, clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice and coordinator of community pharmacy development at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Justin Sherman, associate professor of pharmacy practice, exploring health inequities resulting from vaping and other electronic nicotine delivery systems
  • Brian Droubay, assistant professor of social work, and Amy Fisher, associate professor of social work, examining factors to improve intergroup race relations by reducing bias and discrimination
  • Carrie Smith, assistant professor of psychology, studying how students’ experiences during their first two years of college might be related to who they are as people – their views, attitudes and personality
  • Joseph Wellman, assistant professor of social psychology, and Nadeeja Wijayatunga, assistant professor of nutrition and hospitality management, investigating interventions to explore the impact of weight bias in health care

“Understanding and knowledge developed by our faculty has the potential to develop and implement effective solutions to ensure equity,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our institution, faculty and society will benefit from the knowledge gained from these projects, and we hope that they will lead to further research opportunities for these faculty members.”

This year’s competition is funded for $50,000, which will support several projects with activity periods between six months and two years. The projects will be funded from $1,000 to $10,000 apiece.

Proposals for 2021 will be reviewed based upon their relevance, intellectual merit, impacts, external funding target, soundness of plan, and qualifications, resources and environment.

The timeline calls for 2021 awards to be announced in March, with projects starting in April.

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs also is committed to working with the investigators to seek the level of external funding required to expand these seed projects into significant programs.