“I assist in the design of our internal funding mechanisms, process all applications and oversee all of our internal grants from cradle to grave,” Hendry said.
That, however, is about to change. Hendry was recently awarded a $9,999 grant from the National Council of University Research Associates to study how smaller universities can increase external grant funding, using UWF’s unique approach as the case study. She will work with Dr. Mark Roltsch, Assistant, Vice President & Director of the Office of Research and Research and Sponsored Program as Co-Principal Investigator on the project.
“Even though I am a large part of the internal grants process, I don’t always know if that mechanism is truly the best for the faculty or the university so it’s imperative that we conduct research on ourselves to see how we can improve,” Hendry said. “I believe that we get better by comparing past and current data trends to identify weaknesses so changes or updates can be made to the process.”
While larger universities have successfully used faculty incentives to increase research funding, that method may not be best for Predominantly Undergraduate Universities (PUIs), such as UWF.
“Smaller universities often face many funding limitations not only from external granting agencies but also in their normal operating budgets. Resources can be limited at PUIs, therefore creating or supporting internal grants, initiatives or incentive programs are not resources many smaller schools can support,” Hendry said. “We have been very lucky to have had funding to support our faculty and now we need to see which of the mechanisms we created worked the best and has shown the most return on its investment.”
By studying how UWF has used different methods to increase funding and determining which of those work best, Hendry believes that other PUIs can benefit as well.
“Because this study is longitudinal in nature, the larger educational community will benefit from the results if we are able to find the balance between giving our faculty grant writing skills against strictly providing funding for a project with no grant preparation or guidance,” she said.
Hendry is the first research administrator in UWF’s history to receive a grant for conducting research and said that it’s very exciting for her personally, as well as for the university.
“I love conducting research and having the ability to do it at UWF as a non-faculty member is an incredible feeling,” Hendry said. “I work with faculty every day discussing their interests and helping them design their research plans and now I feel like am able to take all of my experiences and do something that will continue to help UWF faculty as well as help the University.”