Research, Commercialization and Outreach Awards $35,000 in Grants to Island University Faculty Members

Published: November 22, 2016

Research, Commercialization and Outreach Awards $35,000 in Grants to Island University Faculty Members

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – With the aim of enhancing professional research experience, the Division of Research, Commercialization and Outreach (RCO) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has awarded $5,000 Research Enhancement Grants to seven faculty members to help kick-start their research projects.

“The Research Enhancement Program is an important part of RCO’s portfolio of support for faculty members. It not only supports valuable research that promotes research culture among faculty and students, it also provides our faculty members with experience and feedback in grant writing,” said Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President of RCO.

The 2016 grant recipients included:

  • Dr. Shannon Fitzsimmons-Doolan, Assistant Professor of English
  • Dr. Jennifer Garza-Cuen, Assistant Professor of Photography
  • Dr. Patrick Larkin, Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • Dr. Thomas Naehr, Associate Professor of Geology and Environmental Science
  • Dr. Bethanie Pletcher, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instructions
  • Dr. Mary Thornton, Associate Professor of Music; Dr. Matthew McClung, Assistant Professor of Music; Carrie Pierce, Assistant Professor of Music
  • Dr. Heather Webb, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

The University Research Enhancement Committee, which comprised of two representatives elected by each of the five colleges on campus, reviewed applications and selected the awardees. This process ensured fairness and objectivity. Evaluation criteria include clarity, soundness of method, and an indication that important problems or critical barriers will be addressed while contributing knowledge to the researcher’s field.

“The research enhancement program criteria require that projects advance knowledge in the applicants’ respective fields. In that sense, the program promotes knowledge creation on our campus. Faculty active in research, spread our campus’s reputation and ensure our students are being trained by scholars who are active in their fields,” said Daniel Riechers, Senior Research Development Officer at RCO.

The Research Enhancement Program at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is funded by legislative grants according to a formula developed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The request for proposals is released on Dec. 1 with proposals due on March 1. To ensure RCO is able to support the research efforts of as many faculties as possible, faculty may submit one research proposal every other year for consideration at the University level.

“The funds are limited, so the primary concern is that we use them in a way that promotes research culture across campus and has a significant impact on the careers and success of our faculty and students,” said Riechers.

To learn more about RCO and the Research Enhancement Program, visit