St. Thomas Magazine_Spring 2022

PREPARING EDUCATORS AWARD: $2.9 MILLION GRANTOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RECIPIENT: SCHOOL OF EDUCATION 2021 MAJOR FEDERAL GRANTS OVER $1 MILLION (NOT INCLUDING CARES ACT FUNDING) St. Thomas was one of 10 recipients nationally to be awarded a Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant in 2020. The five-year grant assists the School of Education in removing barriers for aspiring charter schoolteachers who reflect the diverse communities they serve. The recipients were Professor L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan and Associate Professor Shelley Neilsen Gatti in the Department of Special Education. EXPANDING INTEGRATED BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES AWARD: $1.9 MILLION GRANTOR: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES RECIPIENT: SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK This largest federal grant ever awarded to the School of Social Work enables the school to provide $10,000 scholarships over four years to 116 Master of Social Work (MSW) students in clinical field placements. Received in July 2021, the grant will assist the school in its goal of expanding integrated behavioral health services for medically underserved communities. “It is especially important that a more diverse workforce provides these integrated behavioral health services, so that unique needs within diverse communities can be properly addressed,“ said Assistant Professor Tonya Horn, who led the grant application effort.

“We‘ve also started to build our in-house expertise as we have more people who have succeeded in obtaining federal grants who are able to help their colleagues,“ Hill said. That‘s especially important given the ultra- competitive nature of these grants. To help with the process, the university hired McAllister & Quinn, a federal grant consulting and government relations firm, in 2019. The firm is available to help faculty members identify grant opportunities from federal agencies and translate their scholarly work into grant applications. “There‘s a specific sort of language to grant writing that is a bit different than writing scholarly articles or making conference presentations,“ Hill said. “McAllister &Quinn is able to help with translating existing scholarly expertise into language that funders will understand.“ A tremendous amount of work goes into putting together a grant proposal – a process that Hill compares to writing a nonfiction book – and there‘s no guarantee that it will be accepted. Hence, the sleepless nights experienced by faculty such as Brusnahan, who has secured two other major federal grants of at least $1 million since her first groundbreaking award. The results, however, often make up for the lack of sleep spent preparing the applications. Four of her OSEP scholars, for example, have gone on to doctoral programs, including Deeqaifrah “Deeqa“ Hussein, the first Black director of special education in Minneapolis Public Schools. With results like that, Hill feels more momentum growing at St. Thomas. “The increase in grant seeking is an opportunity to support faculty and the brainpower of all of these really smart people who are thinking about innovative ways to address the biggest challenges that are going on,“ Hill said. “We can leverage these grant resources to support faculty to do that, and for them to engage students in that work in a way that‘s true to St. Thomas. … I feel that we‘re just starting out on this journey that I‘m really excited about.“ n


The School of Engineering was awarded a six-year NSF STEM grant to help fund scholarships to 31 full-time transfer students pursuing bachelor‘s degrees in civil, computer, electrical, or mechanical engineering. “Admitting transfer students to the School of Engineering is a way to cultivate diversity in the program,“ said Dr. Kundan Nepal, the chair of the electrical and computer engineering department who co-wrote the grant application with four others.


This grant supports the Trauma-Informed Interdisciplinary Practices project, a collaboration between the School of Education and the Morrison Family College of Health School of Social Work. Eight education and eight social work students will each receive one- year, $10,000 scholarships. The grant provides scholarships for five years. The aim of the grant is to increase the number of culturally responsible social workers and special educators prepared to support early intervention needs of infants, toddlers and preschool- aged children with disabilities.

S T T H O M A S . E D U

3 1

Powered by