University of Southern Indiana

Liberal Arts Research Grants

Liberal Arts Research Awards (LARA)

Purpose and scope of awards: LARAs are intended to support faculty members who are completing scholarly work on a specific project that will result in a clearly defined outcome intended for dissemination to the wider academic community by the end of the term in which the award is received. Winners of these awards will receive a one-course assigned time in the same semester of the subsequent year; for example, LARA winners chosen in spring 2015 will receive a one-course assigned time in spring 2016.

Eligibility and Requirements:

  • Faculty members who are full time, either on continuous appointment or eligible for such in the College of Liberal Arts, may apply for an award. 
  • Projects related to improving or enhancing teaching, including locating teaching resources, designing course-related activities, compiling information to be used in class or other projects which are intended for use in the classroom are not eligible unless these activities are part of the scholarship of pedagogy and will be submitted for presentation at professional conferences, appropriate artistic venues, or publication.
  • Applications (both electronic and hard copies) for fall semester release time must be received in the Dean’s office by October 15 of the academic year prior to the award period, while applications for spring release time are due in the Dean’s office by March 1 of the preceding year.
  • Recipients of the award may not teach an overload course during the semester in which they receive an award, except under exceptional circumstances approved by the Department Chair and the Dean.
  • Recipients of the awards must make themselves available to the Director of the Liberal Arts Colloquium Series to give a presentation on their projects in the academic year following the award. The Director will select which recipients shall be asked to make a presentation.
  • Recipients of the awards must make themselves available to serve subsequently a two-year term on the LARA committee.
  • Recipients of the awards must submit to the chair of the LARA committee a project report by February 1 in the semester following fall awards and by June 30 for spring semester awards. This report should document the work completed during the release time.
  • No subsequent LARAs will be awarded to that faculty member until he/she has submitted this report and documentation. Exception: Individuals who are seeking to apply for a LARA in two consecutive semesters may do so before submitting their final documentation for the first LARA. For example, an individual who applies in Fall 2014 and receives the award for Fall 2015 may also apply for a LARA in Spring 2015 to be used in Spring 2016. This exception is capped at two consecutive semesters.

Application Process: The application should be 12-point Times New Roman font and have page numbers and the applicant’s name on all pages. It should contain the following sections:

  • A heading including proposed title, faculty name, faculty rank, previous LARAs received including semester and year, and the date of final report submission.
  • An abstract of the project (250 words maximum), written so that individuals who are NOT experts in your field can understand it. 
  • Indicate the significance of the project to your scholarly agenda (250 words maximum).  If this is a component part of a larger work, indicate the place of this project in that work.
  • Indicate how the project relates to existing scholarly work and why the project might be of interest to others in the profession (250 words maximum).
  • Give a detailed timeline of your planned work on this project, including any additional time outside of the award period or work already completed.  Identify the scope and extent of work to be completed during the LARA and its place in the overall project. This estimate should be realistic about the amount of work that can be accomplished during the award period. (500 words maximum).
  • If the proposed project has multiple authors or investigators, specifically identify the work that will be completed by the LARA applicant, and the place of this component in the overall project. (100 words maximum).
  • Identify specific outcomes for the project, including the outlet and proposed date of submission. Examples of viable outcomes include submission of an article in a peer-reviewed journal or an essay in a collection; a paper proposed to be presented at a scholarly conference; a monograph submitted; a creative work that will be submitted for publication, presentation, or showing in a peer reviewed venue. (100 words maximum).
  • A brief curriculum vitae showing education, degrees earned, publications, presentations, and previous grants, fellowships or awards. (2 pages maximum).
  • A memo from the department chair indicating which course will be replaced with the reassigned time for research and how the course will be covered.

Failure to follow format and organizational guidelines will result in an automatic rejection of the proposal.


  • The applications will be reviewed and ranked by the LARA committee.  It will be comprised of five full-time faculty members from the College and chaired by a representative from the Dean’s Office, who will make recommendations to the Dean. The LARA committee will rank the applications using the attached rubric as a guideline for evaluation.
  • Any faculty member who sits on the LARA committee may apply for an award but will be recused from the entire review process that semester. In this case, a senior faculty member from that department or closely related discipline (who is not applying for a LARA) will participate in the review process and exercise the committee member’s vote in the committee’s recommendation to the Dean.  The senior faculty member will be selected by the Dean’s office.
  • In the event that one or more applications are ranked equally, priority will be given in the following order:
    • Tenure-track faculty who have not previously received an award
    • Tenured assistant and associate professors
    • Professors
    • Instructors holding the terminal degree
    • All other full-time faculty


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