4.12 Grants Committee: Purpose and Procedures

(amended August 1997, amended February 2009)

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Kenyon College encourages faculty and members of the administration to seek external funding for creative, scholarly, or programmatic activities. The College acknowledges that such activities and receipt of funding for the same serves the interest of the College. Winning external grants to support one's scholarship is among the most meritorious of faculty accomplishments. Grants on behalf of the College or one or more of its programs, and grants to individuals requiring an institutional commitment of resources may be written by faculty members, groups representing academic programs, student services, Library and Information Services, or persons in any other sector of the College.

There are three types of grant opportunities generally encountered by Kenyon applicants:

  1. Independent Grants, which fund a project that requires no financial support, fiscal management or administrative overhead by the College;
  2. Fiscal Agent Grants, which also require no institutional commitment of funds but for which the College is obligated to provide financial oversight or administer faculty wages, leave replacements, or facilities use;
  3. Institutional Grants, which require a commitment of matching funds, personnel costs, equipment, and/or other resources by the College.

The intent of these guidelines is to provide a well-defined and streamlined protocol for faculty who wish to submit Independent and Fiscal Agent Grants. These grants are administered with the assistance of the Faculty Grants and Fellowship Coordinator, in association with the Provost's Office and the College's Business Office. No institutional approval is required for Independent Grants; the College only requests that the Provost be informed of successful proposals. For Fiscal Agent grants, approval of the Provost is required.

The guidelines also stipulate required procedures for the development, submission, and administration of Institutional Grants, all of which must be approved by the Grants Committee (See Section 4.11.2) of the College, in association with the Provosts' Office and Business Office.

The Faculty Grants and Fellowships Coordinator and the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations can help Faculty and members of the administration find sources of funding appropriate to their needs and assist them in applying for such funds. Kenyon Faculty and Administrators should take advantage of early and sustained contact with these staff members throughout the process - from the initial inquiry to the final report.

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The Grants Committee was first established in 1991 to provide institutional support for seeking external funding for activities that serve the interests of the College. It is comprised of persons in the following positions: Provost, Vice President of Advancement, Assistant Vice President of Finance, Assistant Controller, Faculty Grants and Fellowships Coordinator, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, and, at the Provost's discretion, one or more designated faculty representatives. The Provost convenes the Grants Committee regularly to discuss institutional priorities, to assess recent opportunities that have come forward, and to discuss specific proposals that have been developed after having received initial approval. The Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations serves as the staff coordinator of this committee and should be consulted regarding procedural questions. The President and/or Provost have final authority in all grant matters.

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All research carried on at Kenyon College by Kenyon faculty, students, staff or visiting scholars and researchers that involves humans as subjects must apply for IRB review. No human subjects research may begin without the approval of the IRB. Kenyon College IRB policies, procedures, and forms may be found on the Kenyon IRB web pages. All research done at Kenyon College that involves live animals must apply for IACUC review. No research using animals may begin without IACUC approval. Contact the IACUC Committee for details. Many government agencies require approval by the Institutional Biosafety Committee when appropriate.

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Faculty members regularly seek grants to support their academic or professional endeavors such as research or writing, or to pay for equipment and travel. Such grants are generally paid directly to the faculty member and do not require College resources. Fulbright and Getty Scholars, Guggenheim and NEH Fellowships, and Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards are examples.

Faculty members are free to pursue independent grants without approval. The Faculty Handbook formerly referred to these grants as "individual" grants. The term "independent" separates this type of grant from grants or awards that are tied to the College's current and future expenditures and/or curriculum. Notify the Provost's office if any of the following College resources are required by the grant:

  • Endorsement or nomination by the Provost or other College Official
  • Non-Kenyon salary and benefits to be channeled through the College's Accounting department
  • Use of College facilities and/or equipment

When a faculty member is awarded or denied an independent grant or fellowship, they need to contact the Faculty Grants and Fellowship Coordinator. Your efforts to seek grant funding are commendable, and, regardless of the outcome, it is important for you to inform the Coordinator so that other College staff can consistently and knowledgeably communicate with funding sources. When awarded a grant, faculty members should notify the Provost and the Faculty Grants and Fellowship Coordinator.

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Fiscal Agent Grants are grants awarded to an individual that require no institutional commitment of funds but for which the college is obligated to provide oversight and/or administer faculty salaries and wages, and must be approved by the Provost prior to submission. Such grants may involve issues related to the following:

  • Leave replacement
  • Sabbatical Supplements
  • Endorsement or nomination by the Provost or other College Official
  • Use of College facilities and/or equipment
  • Sub contracts
  • Research involving Human Subjects - IRB Review
  • Research involving Animals - IACUC Review
  • Research involving biosafety - BioSafety Review
  • Final application filed by Provost Office

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Contact Faculty Grants and Fellowships Coordinator The FGFC will help a faculty member identify possible funding sources, ensure that the Assistant Controller, Development Office, Department Chair, and the Provost are aware of the proposal, and assist the faculty member in the editing, compilation, and submission of proposals. In most cases, proposals for government funding (i.e., NSF, NIH, NEH) requiring grants.gov submission must be submitted by the Provost's office.

1. The proposed budget should first be submitted to the Assistant Controller at least 10 business days prior to the deadline, who will review it for compliance with College and funding agency guidelines. In some cases, the College will require that the budget include an indirect cost budget item to defray costs of grant administration.

2. Read "The Policy on Conflict of Interest and Ethical Conduct" and sign two forms: Conflict of Interest and Ethical Conduct Statement, and Cost Certification for Grant Proposals. The forms are also available from the Assistant Controller.

3. Provost Approval - Before requesting final approval by the Provost, faculty must complete the following documents: written summary of the proposal, a copy of the reviewed and approved budget, and other completed required forms.

If the Provost approves the proposal, they will sign the appropriate document, write a letter of endorsement or nomination, or other necessary action. The Special Assistant to the Provost will handle online submission of proposals through grants.gov or FastLane. Online submissions, especially through grants.gov can be a long involved process. Please seek assistance early to avoid last minute submission problems.

The Faculty Grants and Fellowships Coordinator can advise faculty about the process for independent or fiscal agent grants, and assist with editing and submission procedures; however, in all cases it is the faculty member's responsibility to author the proposal.

4. If a government grant is awarded, the Assistant Controller will collect an Effort Report form from the faculty project director each June or as required by the granting agency.

Accurate tracking and timely reporting of budget expenditures and achievement of program goals is essential to maintain good funding relationships. Maintaining these records and reporting them to the Provost and the Assistant Controller and to the granting agency is a responsibility of the grant's faculty project director.

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The Grants Committee will review proposals in stages to ensure a careful and timely decision about the merits of the proposal. What follows is an outline of the process for grant applications.

  1. Idea Stage
    1. Gaining Support for the Idea. 
      Faculty members should discuss a grant idea with members of their department, and with their department chair. Administrative proposals should be reviewed with the appropriate administrative division heads. Consider the interest other divisions may have in your idea. Much time and energy is expended in writing a proposal; therefore initial enthusiasm and approval are crucial to obtain before you go forward. Even then, initial approval does not foreclose the possibility that the Grants Committee may still need to terminate the application in the collegiate interest. Throughout the process, those who initiate a proposal are encouraged to call upon the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations regarding grant questions.

      After discussion of the proposal at the departmental level, each idea for an institutional proposal must be vetted first by the head of the relevant division of the College, i.e., a member of senior staff, who will ascertain (1) whether the proposal competes with another current or intended request to the same foundation or donor, (2) whether the proposal is generally consonant with institutional goals and priorities, and (3) whether financial requirements such as matching support of the project in the future are feasible.

    2. Proposal Inquiry.
      Send a copy of the call for proposals to the Provost (if an academic proposal) or other appropriate member of senior staff, along with a brief cover letter (or email) explaining how the grant would serve the interests of the College and suggesting who might assume the primary responsibility for drafting the proposal. The Development Office requires a lead time of two months or more (depending on the complexity of the project and application procedures) to take on a major new proposal.
  2. Initial Review by the Grants Committee

    1. Notify the Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations (DCFR) if your proposal has received initial approval from the Provost or Senior Staff member, or is an invitation to renew prior funding commitments. Send a copy of the Proposal Inquiry form and cover letter/email to the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations. The Provost and DCFR will determine the agenda for consideration of your proposal. While the Committee typically reviews written proposal inquiries, you may request the opportunity to appear before the committee to discuss your proposal.

    2. Within two weeks of submitting the proposal inquiry information, you will be informed as to whether you may proceed further.

      At this stage, the Grants Committee will determine whether institutional endorsement is feasible and who else in the College should be involved in the preparation of the proposal. The Grants Committee will invite a member of the administration or faculty to accept responsibility for developing a competitive proposal or accept an offer to write such a proposal that has already come forward.

      If the proposal is brought forward by a faculty member, the project director will be asked not only to assess the importance of the project but also to weigh it in comparison with other known and ranked departmental needs for which external funding might be sought.

      When a proposal is brought forward by a group of faculty members from separate departments, the assessments of the project held by the departments involved must be known by the committee before it will act on the proposal.

      If the Grants Committee declines the request to submit a grant, it will provide this decision in writing along with a discussion of the issues that led to the proposal's denial. The individual(s) submitting the proposal may then be provided with options for revision of the proposal or for submission at a later date.

  3. Drafting the full proposal.
    The grants-writing team will ideally include the person(s) who conceived the idea, representation from the department(s) involved, and either the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations or the Faculty Grants and Fellowships Coordinator. The division head should be kept informed about the proposal's development.

    The team will mutually agree on internal deadlines to meet in order to present a professionally written and well developed application to the funding source. At any time, failure to proceed in a timely fashion could jeopardize submission of a final grant.

    Tips on financial questions: A successful grant proposal frequently carries costs with it, sometimes in the form of matching funds and regularly in the form of the costs associated with the installation of equipment, the refurbishment of facilities or the provision of space, and perhaps the provision of maintenance. Therefore, the College will need to understand the full extent of its financial commitments and to have determined how those commitments will be met before it will endorse a grant application.

    Readers: The College is rich with talented and experienced grant writers and grant recipients. Choose one or two experienced colleagues to read and provide comments on the near-final draft at least three weeks before the deadline.

  4. Senior Staff Approval of College Financial Commitments.
    If the proposal calls for a financial commitment by the College, Senior Staff must approve it in advance during the proposal-writing stage, and at least a month before the final proposal is submitted. Financial commitments include but are not limited to:

    • Raising of matching funds from private and government sources
    • Hiring full-time or part-time employees
    • Reassignment of current employees to perform responsibilities related to the grant instead of their previous job descriptions
    • Conferences and special events, including maintenance fees, catering, printed materials, and other costs associated with hosting such events
    • Website design, software and maintenance
    • Independent evaluation and surveys
    • Purchase of equipment
    • Construction or renovation of facilities
    • Providing College services, such as room and board
    • Certification that positions or programs funded by the grant be continued by the College after the grant period
    • Guarantees that the College will endow the program to ensure its continuation after the grant period.

      Working with the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and the Vice President for Advancement, the project director should prepare a request for budgetary consideration by Senior Staff. The request should include a brief rationale for the grant and a complete budget showing financial obligations to be assumed by the College and any supporting sources of revenue. Appropriate provision for indirect costs, such as office supplies, must also be made. Such costs represent payment for real expenses; therefore, the College will not forego them.

  5. Grants Committee final approval and submission. 
    At least two weeks before the submission date, a final draft of the proposal, including a complete budget, should be made available to the Provost and the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, who may also share it with other members of the Grants Committee. The Provost will schedule a meeting to discuss the proposal if warranted.
    Proposals in the final draft stage will be reviewed for:

    • College priority
    • Feasibility / Likelihood of successful implementation
    • Relative merit of the proposal as written

    Build in extra time for grant proposals to be revised, as well as adequate submission time for proposals to the National Science Foundation or other federal sources that use the Grants.gov system. Please note that the number of College staff authorized to submit proposals through Grants.gov is limited.

  6. Reporting. 
    A successful grant is not the end of the grant-making process. Reports are required by the funding source, and letters of acceptance and gratitude are necessary steps in good stewardship. Project administrators are required to work with the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations to submit timely and meaningful reports. Keep accurate documentation of your progress and keep track of deadlines for reports. Reports should be submitted to the DCFR at least two weeks prior to the foundation's report deadline to allow for editing and compilation of support materials, including financial statements. If your initial proposal changes for any reason, promptly contact the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations or the Faculty Grants and Fellowships Coordinator to discuss the appropriate response.

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