Fall arts and humanities reception honors research grant recipients


In honor of National Arts and Humanities Month, the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities hosted its 2012 fall reception Monday evening in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union.

Jim Andrews, director of Center for Excellence and professor of history at Iowa State, said the fall reception is a way to bring attention to faculty who have received grants for their research.

“We have a number of individual and collaborative faculty grants, and this is a way to have their work highlighted and get up and give small overviews of their research,” Andrews said. “We usually have representatives from both the design college and LAS, [the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

The Center for Exellence runs colloquia featuring faculty research.

“It has a number of internal grants, individual grants for faculty to help them with new research projects,” Andres said. “Now we have these collaborative seed grants. … We also focus on visibility and helping faculty apply for grants.”

Kathleen Hilliard, assistant professor of history at Iowa State, is one of many of the center’s grant recipients.

“The [center’s] funding funded basically a full summer,” Hilliard said. “It was a small amount of money compared to what the scientists get, but $5,000 for me can fund two, three months of research. … I couldn’t have done that summer’s worth of research without CEAH. CEAH was a lifesaver for me.”

Dennis Chamberlin, associate professor of journalism and communication, is another of the center’s grant recipients.

“It gets us going so we have a jump start,” Chamberlin said. “Then we can show people in other areas what we have. Basically it’s a seed to get a project going so that you get something to offer somebody rather than just an idea.”

The money from the grants also offers recipients the funds to travel to collaborate with others in the field.

“In the arts and humanities, I believe a small amount of money can actually go a long way,” Andrews said. “They’re very significant — people who are in the humanities need money to travel to do their research.”

Hillard agrees; the human connection is invaluable.

“While great strides have been made to digitize material and there’s a lot of stuff I can access online, there’s no substitute for going down and getting a look at the documents,” Hilliard said.

Faculty recognized at the reception included William Beavis, interim director of agronomy; Mary Swander, distinguished professor of English; Chamberlin; Jean Goodwin, professor of English; Michael Dahlstrom, assistant professor of journalism and communication; and David Ringholz, associate professor and chairman of industrial design.

“Faculty — particularly younger faculty just starting out — can come to us for advice,” Andrews said, the the Center for Excellence’s grant office in Carver Hall. “We see this a venture to help them get grants outside the university as well as promote their research from within. … This is a rather unique center because at most other campuses, most centers are either humanities or arts, and they’re separate, where at ISU we have this combined venture.”