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With $17.3M in Funding Awarded for 73 Grants, College of Education Faculty Set Record For Number of Grants Awarded in a Single Year in 2020-21

Memorial Belltower

Faculty and staff in the NC State College of Education, including the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, were awarded 73 new grants from external sources in the 2020-21 academic year, totaling $17,320,883. The number of grants awarded in the past year is the highest number that College of Education faculty and staff have received in a single year since records have been kept. 

In 2020-21, the college also reported $18 million in research expenditures. Over the past five years, research expenditures within the College of Education have increased by 39%, the highest five-year increase across all colleges at NC State. 

“As the world continues to grapple with unprecedented public health, environmental, social and economic challenges, the grants awarded to our faculty underscore their continued commitment to solving some of the most pressing educational problems in North Carolina and the nation,” said NC State College of Education Dean Mary Ann Danowitz. “Our talented faculty are engaging in highly impactful research projects and initiatives that are increasing educational success for all learners while transforming the practice of teaching, learning and leading across the lifespan.”

The grants awarded to faculty and staff in 2020-21 are allowing them to develop new and innovative ways to approach STEM education, connect underrepresented groups to crucial services, enhance teaching and learning, and address gaps in access to technology, among other areas of impact. 

A few examples of grants awarded in 2020-21 include:

> $1.1 million NSF CAREER grant awarded to Assistant Professor K.C. Busch, Ph.D., to develop a theory and test metrics for measuring community level science learning through social networks. Busch will quantitatively measure the features of community organizations in three North Carolina coastal communities that must make scientifically informed adaptation decisions to combat the effects of sea level rise in an effort to determine how community level scientific literacy is developed.

> $2.5 million from the John M. Belk Endowment to the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research to develop Teaching & Learning Hubs and establish a statewide professional learning program at North Carolina community colleges. The hubs will help community college faculty learn about, adopt, test and scale evidence-based strategies that increase equitable student success outcomes while helping community college leaders develop and execute a comprehensive strategy for enhancing teaching and learning excellence.

> $699,244 U.S. Department of Education’s IES Research Training Programs in Special Education Early Career Grant awarded to Assistant Professor Jamie Pearson, Ph.D., to strengthen advocacy and increase service access and utilization among Black families of children with autism. The project will develop and test the promise of her existing Fostering Advocacy, Communication, Empowerment and Support parent-training intervention to be delivered by community-based parent educators.

 > $369,512 in funding from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction supported the At-Home Learning Initiative to close learning gaps across the state for students who lack access to stable internet connections. The project facilitated the creation of PreK-5 literacy and math lessons, led by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, as part of the Remote Education Initiative. The lessons reached more than 30 million households statewide through free public television station PBS NC and were made available for free on YouTube. 

With nearly three-fourths of tenure-track faculty grant-active and engaged in 121 externally funded research projects totalling over $85 million, the NC State College of Education stands at the top in education research productivity in North Carolina and among the top 6% of all colleges of education in the nation.