Faculty Research Grants


Black Hills State University faculty members engage in scholarly research and creative activity to contribute knowledge and art to the community, the state, the region, the nation, and the world.  To encourage these endeavors, the Faculty Research Committee (FRC) awards grants that enhance and support faculty member’s investigations, intellectual contributions, and creative activities in all Colleges.

Definition of Research

Scholarly research is any activity of an intellectual or professional nature that discovers or revises facts, extends knowledge, understanding, or appreciation of a subject, theory, application, or activity. Scholarly research includes basic and applied investigation, as well as the production of creative works.

This definition excludes projects that primarily propose to train students or develop courses, curricula, or instructional materials.

Eligible Activities

Funding is for support of specific research projects and for intellectual and creative activities. Emphasis is on scholarly research, rather than teaching or course development. However, the Committee will fund pedagogical research. The committee encourages applicants to connect proposals to the strategic plan of their specific college, whenever appropriate. (Strategic plans are located in each Dean’s office.) Eligible activities include:

  • Collaborative research/activities with undergraduate and/or graduate students.
  • Student or non-student research assistants.
  • Consumable supplies not otherwise available from your college or division.
  • Long distance phone calls needed for the research.
  • Travel intrinsic to the work itself. (Examples of eligible travel are visits to research collections or libraries to examine documents or visits to work in laboratories or to collect data). Meals will be reimbursed at the current state rates.
  • Special equipment required by the project and otherwise unavailable. The equipment must be intrinsic to the scholarly project itself. As with all funded work, title to the equipment purchased will remain with the University. This includes printed or electronic format material, which will become the property of the University library or other appropriate University unit.
  • The FRC may award funding for release time, stipends, and partial support of sabbaticals if the activity appropriately matches the Committee’s Mission and eligibility guidelines. 

Ineligible Activities

The FRC will not fund:

  • Institutional research that is primarily intended to aid the promotion and/or administration of the University.
  • Projects or equipment acquisition primarily intended to enhance campus-wide research capability.
  • The teaching of research practice or research whose primary purpose is specific classroom use.
  • Expenses related to publication or professional presentation of research findings.
  • Costs associated with the thesis or dissertation research of the applicant.
  • Proposals with an instructional orientation (these are the province of the Instructional Improvement Committee).
  • Travel expenses for conferences.

Eligible Faculty

Priority will be given to:

  • Proposals from full-time faculty.
  • New applications not previously funded by this Committee.

Adjunct and non-tenure track faculty are eligible to apply for funding, but must do so before January 15 of the academic year in which they are working. All research must be completed before contracts end.

Successful applicants should continue to meet the eligibility requirements as regular faculty or research professionals.

Proposals for projects that may be construed as continuing must state how the current proposed research is distinct from previously funded research.

General Requirements

The FRC will review proposals and make award recommendations to the Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA). The VPAA will pass the recommendations on to the President for final approval of all awards.

Most grants are funded for amounts from $200 to about $2,500. Although there are no formal set limits, requests above this range may not be fully funded.

The results of the proposed research should be exhibited, presented at professional meetings, or submitted to refereed journals. Proposals should list anticipated showings, presentations, or journals to which the completed manuscript will be submitted.

Proposals must stand on their own merits and adequately inform committee members of the purposes and procedures of the project with a minimum of disciplinary jargon. Applicants must adhere to the guidelines for research submission.

The committee does not require any particular writing style format. However, the format in the proposal description guide must be followed. All sections must be fully addressed. Complete sentences, standard American English usage, punctuation, etc., are expected.

Language should be simple, yet precise. Proposals for exploration of alternate means of expression are acceptable, but the proposal itself must be written in clear, concise, standard formal American English.

Faculty may not retain the award or any books, apparatuses, etc. obtained under the award if they leave the university. All work must be completed prior to departure.

The committee will review applications for release time or partial support of sabbaticals and make recommendations for approval at the last meeting of each semester. If funds are still available, applications for summer stipends will be accepted for review at the last meeting of the spring semester.

Student Wages

Students engaged in scholarly work and research have value beyond that of common student assistants. Regardless of rank or educational level, those engaged in research activities should be remunerated at a level commensurate with their contributions to the research project. Successful applicants should provide a representative wage to research workers reflecting their contribution to the research project. The remuneration may be monetary or non-quantifiable opportunities. Applicants should not be limited to salary schedules established for student work-study and should use ethical discretion in determining the wages to be paid to research assistants of quality.

Proposal Evaluation

The committee will evaluate the proposal using the following criteria:

  • Clarity of Abstract
  • Clarity of the Project Plan
  • Qualifications and ability of principal investigator
  • Significance of Project: Does the project offer opportunity for new advances, discovery or revision of facts, extension of knowledge, understanding, or appreciation of a subject, theory, application, or activity?
  • Expected Results: What effect will this project have on the applicant's field and on his or her professional development?
  • Objectives: Appropriateness of listed objectives in terms of project time, funding, and personnel.
  • Budget: Is the budget realistic and reasonable?
  • Purpose of the Grant: Will this grant serve as seed money for external funding?

Optional Elements

  • Student Research: Does the project include collaborative research/activities with undergraduate and/or graduate students?
  • Strategic Plan: Does the proposal harmonize with the strategic plan of the specific College?

Human Subjects

Any proposals using human subjects or animals must be approved through proper University channels. Human Subjects approval request forms are available in Word, fillable format, on the Sponsored Programs website under "Forms and Guidance". For additional information, contact the Chairman of the Animal Care and Human Subjects Committee, extension 6026. No grant proposal will be approved and no account will be established until such approvals have been secured.

Responsibilities of the Project Director

When an award is made, the Business Office will assign the project director an account number. It is the responsibility of the project director to keep a detailed account of expenditures.  The Sponsored Programs Office will monitor the faculty research general account and, for reconciliation purposes, will provide budget detail upon request.

Before hiring any funded project staff, awardees must check with the appropriate office on campus for BHSU hiring procedures. If you are hiring a student, contact the financial aid office at 6254. To hire a non-student, contact the personnel office at 6545.

Grantees will be required to submit an annual status report on uncompleted projects by June 30 each year.  The report must include the project title, current status of the project, amount of the award, expenditures to date, and anticipated completion date.

Projects shall be completed and all funds expended and accounted for within the time frame requested on the application unless other arrangements are approved by the Committee.

Grantees will be required to submit a final report detailing research findings and project expenditures. The report must include a summary of not more than 300 words to post on the FRC website.

Grantees will be required to explain any significant differences between the approved budget and the final budget.  Budget overruns and expense disallowances are the responsibility of the grantee.

Any balance remaining when the project is completed shall be returned to the general research account.

Any publication arising from the funded project or activity shall carry the following acknowledgement: "This research was (partially) supported by a grant from the Faculty Research Committee, Black Hills State University."

Submission of Proposals

  1. Obtain an application.
  2. Complete the application form. Contact members of the Committee if you need assistance.
  3. Submit one original, signed proposal to the Sponsored Programs Office at Unit 9504 or W203. Email an electronic version of your proposal to Dianne.darling@bhsu.edu, making sure both the electronic version and the signed original proposal are received in the Sponsored Programs Office by the announced deadline.

Recent Abstracts

An Analysis of Peer Review Responses in an Online Graduate Capstone Class


Biclique Cover Number of Upset Tournaments


A Maximum Score Test


An Investigation of Pre-school and Kindergarten Teachers' Perceptions and Instructional Strategies Regarding Learning to Look at Print


The Effectiveness of Hops as an Anti-Fungal Agent in Aquaculture Applications


Establishment and Review of Bylaws and Application Guidelines

The Committee shall establish and review bylaws and guidelines for applications and, by majority vote, may change any part thereof. Such changes shall be announced to the faculty in writing.

The Committee will consider only proposals whose format conforms to the application form and guidelines. Copies of the application form and guidelines shall be available in the Sponsored Programs Office and on the Sponsored Programs website link on the BHSU Home Page. No proposal requires the signature of division or department head, dean, or other administrator except those from faculty seeking release time.


The Committee shall consist of nine members. The VPAA will appoint members from each College of the University who are full-time faculty members with a demonstrated interest in, and knowledge of, research and scholarly activity. Terms will ordinarily be for three years and will end on a rotating basis. Members may be reappointed. The Committee may recommend new members.

In the event that a voting member resigns from the Committee, the Committee will recommend that the VPAA appoint a replacement.

Members may be recommended for removal from the Committee by a two-thirds vote of the Committee, obtained by secret ballot of all voting Committee members present.

The VPAA and Director, Sponsored Programs, will serve as ex officio nonvoting members of the Committee.


The Committee shall elect a chair annually at its final spring meeting. The chair may vote and be reelected.

The Committee will meet at least twice annually to consider proposals and conduct business. A majority of the voting members will constitute a quorum.

The current edition of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the conduct of meetings.

Revised 1/2010


Committee Members

  • College of Education
    • Michelle Hovland
    • Tim Molseed
    • Rob Schurrer 
  • College of Arts & Sciences
    • Kara Keeter
    • Parthasarathi Nag
    • David Siemens
    • Nicholas Wallerstein
  • College of Business & Technology
    • Dan Spencer, Chair
    • Chen Wu 
  • Ex-officio Members
    • Dean Myers
    • Sharon Hemmingson