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Faculty Research Funding Initiative (FRFI)

Drexel University School of Education

The SoE Faculty Research Funding Initiative provides seed funding to SoE Faculty members through a competitive application process each year with the intention of enabling faculty to establish and then scale their research agendas. Faculty may partner with school districts and colleagues or across Drexel to pilot new research projects aimed at advancing the field of education while contributing to the local educational ecosystem.

How to Apply for a Faculty Research Grant

The call for applications occurs in May of each year. Applicants should demonstrate that the proposed projects are germane to the current mission and strategic vision of the School of Education, and that the seed grants will contribute to the publication of findings in discipline appropriate journals and/or books. The funded projects should also have the potential for raising the research profile of the School of Education, both within and outside of Drexel University.

The funds may be used for the following:

  • Materials
  • Software
  • Equipment
  • Student research assistant time
  • Travel to research sites1
  • Other non-salary materials or activities (data transformation e.g. transcriptions & analysis)

Funds may not be used for dissemination activities such as traveling to conferences, publication costs, etc. Funds may not be used for faculty salary. Professional development funds are more appropriately used for these costs.

Review Process

Applications are systematically reviewed and evaluated by the SoE Research Committee and the Associate Dean for Research using the “Research Initiative Funding Evaluation” rubric with awards administered in June. 

Previous Faculty Research Projects 

2019 FRFI Grantees

Strategies for Elite Transformation: Educational aspirations, motivations, and transnational schooling experiences in China

Project led by Jennifer Adams, EdD

This project investigates the northwestern Chinese city Chengdu’s diverse institutional, socio-cultural, family, and student factors that condition parental and student motivations for enrollment in American curriculum centers via survey design, international field work, survey pre-testing and data collection.


Surveying Early Childhood Educators About Nurturing Children’s Spirituality

Project led by Michael Haslip, PhD

Dr. Haslip with colleagues Jen Mata-McMahon and Deb Schein are conducting a multi-year research project to investigate how early childhood educators might be nurturing children’s spirituality in their educational settings with a survey based on a literature review about the best ways to nurture children’s spirituality.


Exploring School, Community, and Family Engagement Efforts with Parents of English Learners in Philadelphia Public Schools

Project led by Vera J. Lee, EdD and Kristine Lewis Grant, PhD

With colleague Barbara Hoekje, Drs. Lee and Grant will explore current school family community partnerships across several Philadelphia public schools by collecting data (focus groups, interviews, field notes) from a sample group of public K-8 schools with a high number of English Language Learners, key school district office staff, school administrators, ESL lead teachers/program directors, and multilingual parents/caregivers.

2018 FRFI Grantees

Preserving History/Persistent Legacy: A Historical Ethnography of an African American Urban High School in Philadelphia

Project led by Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD

This Youth-Led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) project explores and documents the rich history of Hopewell High School which has served as a pillar of the Black community since the early 1950s using qualitative oral histories, archival document analysis such as historical maps, Census data, policy reports, and social media outlets, as well as artifacts such as yearbooks.


Facilitating 21st century knowledge, skills, and motivation to learn through STEAMulating play-based experiences in informal settings

Project led by Aroutis Foster, PhD

This project examined the design and impact of Invent with Environment, a maker course developed and implemented collaboratively with educators at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education to facilitate ~30 middle and high school Latinx students’ identity exploration in environmental science career roles with post-doctoral scholar Mamta Shah.


Diversified Mentoring and Intersectionality in Leadership Development: Breaking through the Double bind faced by Minority Women in STEM

Project led by Rajashi Ghosh, PhD

The phenomenological study explores the role of mentoring and diversified mentoring in the leadership development journeys of minoritized women leaders in higher education STEM disciplines through an examination of their lived experiences, completed with PhD student Ague Manonsong.


Intentional Conceptual Shift Through Cooperative Controversy Activities

Project led by Penny Hammrich, PhD

Dr. Hammrich revisited her work on the nature of science to replicate a study with Teacher Education students determining whether extending the cooperative controversy activity over a period of two months (without extending the on-task time) and integrating intentional reflective activities has an impact on the degree and nature of conceptual shift (with PhD students at that time Jessica Cellitti and Jonan Donaldson).