USF Professor’s Receive $1.9 Million In Grants

Monica McCown

Staff Writer

As a private institution, USF relies heavily on donations and grants to function. President Fitzgerald, in his opening address for convocation, expressed pride in the grants obtained by USF organizations and professors. Just in 2016, USF-based projects have received $1.9 million in federal grants that will fund programs and research at the University.

The vast majority of the grant money was gifted to an on-campus organization called Upward Bound. Upward Bound’s mission is to help underprivileged or educationally disadvantaged high school students prepare for success in college. This program has allowed 90 percent of all Upward Bound students to begin college. Upward Bound was founded in 1965, while the USF chapter opened in 1966.

The grant was obtained through the Federal Department of Education, which issues grants every five years. Because it is a five year grant, Upward Bound will be receiving about $240,000 per year, and $1.2 million total over five years. To tackle the application, Shakir-Gilmore attended proposal writing workshops. “You get one shot [at this grant] every five years, and so I couldn’t really afford to not apply,” says Shakir-Gilmore. He also worked with the Associate Dean’s office and put together an application writing committee, then took time off and worked on the proposal full time, including nights and weekends.

Although the USF Upward Bound chapter is responsible for seven high schools in San Francisco, the grant is specifically awarded to introduce Upward Bound to three new  SF schools: Martin Luther King Middle School, Visitacion Valley Middle School, and Burton High School. During the academic year, Upward Bound will provide financial literacy workshops, academic skill building workshops, and college advising to 500 students in those schools. The grant will allow Upward Bound to enter middle schools, which will broaden recruitment sites for participation in high schools. Shakir-Gilmore said, “It also allows us to continue to work with students at the high school level, who may not be the best fit for Upward Bound but we can still…make sure they’re successful in high school.”

They will be inviting all Upward Bound alumni to their 50th anniversary celebration dinner at USF in early December. “Let’s celebrate the old, let’s celebrate the new grant, and let’s bring everyone together with a call to action to make sure we can continue the work,” says Saleem Shakir-Gilmore, USF’s Upward Bound director.

Professor Judy Pace, Chair of the Teacher Education department at USF, received a grant for her research on teaching controversial issues. She will be using the $49,333 she received from the Spencer Foundation to travel between four universities, where she will conduct her research. These universities are located in South Africa, England and Northern Ireland, where she will be interviewing professors and student teachers, who teach high school students. In 2015, Pace published a book titled “The Charged Classroom: Predicaments and Possibilities for Democratic Education.” She said, “[The book] explains what democratic teaching looks like, why it’s so challenging, and recommendations for strengthening democratic teaching.”

Her current research project focuses on the teaching of sensitive issues throughout international universities. While there is a significant amount of literature detailing the teaching of controversial issues in international schools, there is a lack of research regarding how to teach these issues effectively. “I am studying how teacher educators, professors of teacher education, prepare new history and social studies teachers to teach sensitive and controversial issues with their own high school students,” Pace says. She will be collecting the data this fall, beginning on Sept. 12, and will follow up in the winter to track the student teachers’ use of practices they learn in class.

The grants obtained by Upward Bound and Professor Pace are just a few of the grants that have been awarded to USF organizations and faculty this year. The programs and research made possible by these grants will continue to foster USF’s reach toward innovation and social justice.

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