The ACUI Research and Education Grant awards up to $1,500 towards research-based projects that increase the knowledge-base of the college union and student activities profession. In addition to the financial support for conducting research, recipients will have the opportunity to be featured in The Bulletin as well as gain recognition of peers by presenting the research at the Annual Conference.

2020 Recipient
Heidi Lang, University of Wisconsin–Madison, will study the impact of college union involvement on undergraduate student perceptions of sense of belonging and campus climate. This mixed-methods study seeks to understand if a relationship exists between college union involvement and how students make sense of that relationship. Lang's research goals are: 1) demonstrate that students of color do, in fact, not only belong on campus, but their presence is essential to the continued success of higher education; 2) demonstrate whether college union involvement might help white students generate greater awareness of their roles as campus climate creators; and 3) demonstrate the role college unions can play as campus community builders.
Heidi Lang
Past Recipients
  • 2019: Tara Benson & Victoria Rice, Missouri State University – Perceptions of Transfer Students and the Role of the College Union in Building a Sense of Belonging 

  • 2018: Joe Lattal, Northwestern University – Culture of Equity in Student-Authored Campus Events  

  • 2017: Wendy Denman, Texas A&M University–Commerce – Experiences of Highly Involved Students in Extracurricular Activities 

    2016: Anh Le, University of Nebraska–Lincoln – Beyond Adjustment: A Phenomenological Study of High-Achieving International Students 

  • 2015: Matthew Ducatt, Texas Tech University – A Case Study on the Role of Employment in the College Union on Student Self-Efficacy Development 

  • 2014: Zane Reif, University of North Texas – Building Community through Physical Space: A Visual Ethnography of College Union Utilization by Community College Transfer Students 

  • 2012: Kerry Hodak, The Ohio State University – Campus Engagement for Graduate and Professional Students

Criteria

The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of the criteria listed below. The submission must:

  • Be the original work of the investigators and not have been reported elsewhere.
  • Demonstrate a quality of writing sufficient that ACUI could publish an article based on the research.
  • Have significance and relevance to college unions, student activities, and/or the ACUI research agenda.
  • Include quality and significant literature cited in support of the research.
  • Have a clearly articulated research design.
  • Identify suitable expected implications of the research.
  • Be feasible to complete according to the details and scope of the proposed budget and timeline.
  • Result in at least one research-focused article, educational session, or other ACUI resource within 18 months of receiving the award.

Researchers may submit more than one project for grant consideration; however, a complete application packet must be submitted for each.


Eligibility

Individuals with ACUI membership are eligible for this award.


Submit

Applications for this writing and research award will be accepted again in December 2020. Submission materials must include the following:

  • Name, institution, and contact information for all contributors.
  • One compiled packet—that is no more than 10 double-spaced typed pages (not including references), and that contains no identifying information to ensure a blind review—which addresses:
    • Research rationale and brief literature review.
    • Description of the methodology.
    • Justification as to how the project supports the published ACUI research agenda and makes a significant contribution to the profession.
    • Detailed budget showing how the awarded funds will be utilized.
    • Anticipated project timeline.
  • An acknowledgement by the applicant that, if selected:
    • They would be willing to sign and agree to the grant terms of agreement.
    • All funds must be utilized within 18 months.

All materials submitted become the property of ACUI and will not be returned to the applicant.


Selection 

Submissions will receive electronic notification confirming receipt of materials. A confidential panel of judges will conduct a blind review of the materials to make the selection based on the criteria identified for this specific award. It is the goal that at least one recipient will be chosen per year, but multiple awards may be given depending on quality of submissions at each deadline and funds available. The panel has the option to distribute funds up to the full amount, partial funds, or to choose not to distribute the award at all. The decision of the judges will be final. One physical award will be given to each recipient project, which will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference and in subsequent publications.