Friday, March 27, 2009

OMG! Employment U might be taking research seriously!

A major complaint from researchers here at Employment U. has been the cost of grad students on our grant budgets. The reason for this is that Employment U. charges an absurd rate for out-of-state tuition, which must be budgeted for if one is including an RA in a grant budget. Last night I got an emailed memo from the Provost's Office letting the university know that they are creating a "Graduate Research Tuition Differential Fellowship", which will basically make up the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for anyone on an externally funded RA.

Why is this the best news I've gotten in a few weeks?

- Taking this year's tuition as an example, the new initiative would save my budget more than $58K over a three year grant... PER STUDENT!

- This makes our grants more competitive from a $ per unit effort standpoint.

- In past proposals I have had to put in full RAs only for one year or split them between students in order to keep my budget under control. This would effectively eliminate the need to do this.

- While I have nothing against having students TA a bit, making RAs more affordable to grants means that students will be able to spend more time in the lab during their careers here.

- Finally, it suggests that the new Provost is actually going to act on his promises to make it easier to do research here and gives me hope that our proposal to reduce the number of course credits our students have to take might not be roundly ignored.

New building, new focus on research, proposals to reduce research-active faculty teaching. I think I got here at the right time.