New Faculty Funding Opportunity for Action-Based Research to Combat and Confront Racism

July 30, 2020

Poverty Solutions and the Center for Social Solutions announce the inaugural faculty grants competition to pursue action-based research aimed at ending systemic and institutional racism. The awards, which range from $10,000 to $50,000, are open to faculty at University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses.

Successful action-based research projects will cut across disciplines, and address challenges such as systemic oppression, organizational exclusion, institutional discrimination, neglectful policy, and violence against the minds, bodies, and cultures of people of color.

The Request for Proposals can be found here

The grant program is part of a university-wide commitment to fund scholarship, teaching, and service initiatives related to racial equity. The deadline to apply is August 21, 2020.

“Systemic and institutional racism have pernicious effects throughout our society in areas from employment to health care to the arts. As a public university, we have a responsibility to help identify and address these important concerns,” said U-M Provost Susan Collins.

“Since its creation two years ago, the Center for Social Solutions has worked with a range of researchers to examine how diversity, democracy, and slavery and its aftermath define and shape the promise of American democracy,” observes Earl Lewis, Thomas C. Holt Distinguished University Professor of history, Afroamerican and African Studies, and public policy as well as the director of the Center for Social Solutions. “This initiative invites colleagues from across U-M’s three campuses to join the effort of identifying and crafting tangible solutions to the lingering effects of systemic racism. We welcome the anticipated contributions to addressing this urgent need.” The Center for Social Solutions, led by Lewis, promotes academic research and social policy that serves the common good in four areas: the interplay between diversity and democracy, the connection of the history of slavery to our present, fair access to water, and the future of work.

“A goal for the Poverty Solutions team going forward is to more deeply connect the work of addressing poverty with the work of addressing racism in society,” said H. Luke Shaefer, Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy and Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and professor of social work at the University of Michigan. Through Poverty Solutions, Shaefer leads efforts to support action-based poverty prevention and alleviation research across campus and partners with communities and policymakers — such as the State of Michigan and City of Detroit — to provide real-time policy analysis that benefits families experiencing poverty.

In addition to Poverty Solutions and Center for Social Solutions, this request for proposals is also supported by the U-M Office of the Provost, the Ford School, Michigan Engineering, the National Center for Institutional Diversity, the School of Social Work, the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and the Law School.

Poverty Solutions leverages the assets of the university to provide insights on preventing and alleviating poverty. This work can affect the lives of millions of Americans through partnerships with community groups and policy makers to test the most promising solutions possible.

H. Luke Shaefer is the Ford School Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement. He is the inaugural Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He also serves as the inaugural director of Poverty Solutions, an interdisciplinary, presidential initiative at U–M that seeks to partner community stakeholders and scholars to find new ways to prevent and alleviate poverty. Shaefer's research on poverty and social welfare policy in the United States has been published in top peer–reviewed academic journals in the fields of public policy, social work, public health, health services research, and history, and his work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Census Bureau among other sources. He has presented his research at the White House and before numerous federal agencies, has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, and has advised a number of the nation's largest human service providers. His work has been cited in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, The Atlantic, and Los Angeles Times, among other media outlets, and he has been featured on such programs as Marketplace and CNBC's Nightly Business Report. His book with Kathryn Edin, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2015 by the New York Times Book Review, and won the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism among other awards. Shaefer serves on the Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity for the State of Michigan. He received his B.A. in politics from Oberlin College and A.M. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.

Earl Lewis is the Thomas C. Holt Distinguished University Professor of History, Afromerican and African Studies, and Public Policy. Lewis, an author and esteemed historian, is also the founding director of the U-M Center for Social Solutions. Lewis is president emeritus of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2013-18), one of the premier philanthropies supporting the arts, humanities, and higher education. At Michigan, Lewis and colleagues in the center are addressing four core areas of social concern: diversity and race, slavery and its aftermath, water and security, and the dignity of labor in an automated world. Prior to returning to Michigan and before leading the Mellon Foundation, he served as the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Emory University as well as the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African American Studies (2004-2012). Lewis was previously on the faculty at the University of Michigan (1989-2004) and the University of California at Berkeley (1984-1989). In addition to professorial roles and titles (Robin D.G. Kelley and Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor), he served Michigan as Vice Provost and Dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies (1998-2004).