Funding has already been distributed for fall semester grants from the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, but the selection committee is already looking to help fund events and scholarship in spring 2023.
PCDI awards grant up to $1,000 for campus climate events and as much as $3,000 for research, teaching and professional development.
“Our numbers surely dwindled as the pandemic hit, especially for the campus climate grants,” said Assistant Professor of Sociology Vincent Laus, who has chaired the committee since 2017, its second year of operation. “I felt like this year, starting this fall, was going to be a coming out party. But, I think it’s a transition period for people to get used to the idea of applying for funding so they can hold events on campus. That word is getting out there slowly, and we’re trying to spread awareness. We want to create a more inclusive and diverse environment on our campus, and we have some money to try to promote that.”
On-campus events funded by campus climate grants in the fall were TRiO Student Support Service’s First-Generation Student Week and the Career and Professional Development Center’s Disability Employment Awareness Month program.
- Assistant Professor of Sociology Vincent Laus
Laus said he hopes to see more requests, especially from student organizations, to fund spring semester events.
“Institutionally, we’re trying to find more avenues so students, staff or faculty on campus can create inclusivity through an event and that’s what the campus climate grant is for, to provide that visual manifestation of our goal at PCDI,” Laus said. “If you can see consistent events throughout the years, organizations, faculty and staff can rely on that kind of funding, I think it helps create the culture.
“We can talk about it in meetings and do tests and surveys, but events are the tangible result of what we can do to help people on this campus see we care about diversity and inclusion.”
PCDI, founded upon President Ellen Junn’s 2016 arrival, is committed to an inclusive community that strives to make the University one that “strives to teach, incorporate, mediate and promote issues of diversity.”
Only one research, teaching and professional development grant was awarded in the fall. Laus said his committee needs to better communicate the limitations of the grant’s use. Student employment and equipment purchases may not be funded, which is why some requests were returned to be reworked.
Information about both campus climate and research, teaching and professional development grants can be found on the PCDI website.
Although the official opening for application submissions for spring is early February, Laus said anyone planning an event early in the semester, say for Black History Month, may email him, Neisha Rhodes or Daniel Soodjinda in the next two months to submit an application.