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1.  Purpose

The UNITAS Faculty Research Program supports scholarly research that focuses on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In particular, this program supports research that responds to the goals of diversity outlined in the Villanova University Diversity Statement. The program is administered jointly by the Vice Provost for Research and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The purpose of the program is to encourage faculty to use their research skills and insight to support the stated goal of exploring different perspectives, intercultural connections, and in general understanding the variety of human experiences marked by domestic and global differences.

Among the examples of research projects that might find support would be exploring immigrant student experiences in higher education, the history of racism in the field of genetics, the impact of underrepresentation of minoritized people and women in STEM professions, disparities in healthcare quality among racial and ethnic minoritized communities, implications of marketing to LGBTQIA consumers, exploring disparities in the wage gaps across the lines of gender, race, and/or ethnicity, and the influence of race in juvenile justice sentencing. These examples are meant only to be suggestive of the types of inquiries that can be pursued; others surely may be possible.

2.  Eligibility

All tenured, tenure-track, and continuing non-tenure-track faculty, and post-doctoral teaching fellows are eligible to apply, from all Villanova Colleges/Schools. Individuals may receive UNITAS Awards no more frequently than every three years.

3.  Award Amounts and Restrictions

The maximum award amount will be one month of summer salary (1/9 of the faculty member’s academic year salary, capped at $10,000). Summer salary is to be paid over the summer award period and is subject to any limitations that may pertain as outlined in the University’s Compensation Policy. It is expected that recipients of a UNITAS award will spend the equivalent of one full summer month working on the proposed research.

In addition to faculty salary, funds may be used for equipment, supplies and books, travel, publication costs, data sets, transcription services and any other reasonable needs. While not a requirement, proposals that include students, especially undergraduates, helping to do the research are encouraged. As such, funds may be used to pay students on an hourly wage basis to assist the faculty member in the execution of the project. However, funds may not be used to provide summer stipends for graduate or undergraduate students to work on their own thesis/dissertation research. Other expenses may be allowable and should be discussed with either Amanda M. Grannas, Ph.D. (Vice Provost for Research and Cheif Research Officer) or Terry Nance, Ph.D. (Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) for interpretation. Non-salary funds may be spent over the entire fiscal year.

Collaborative proposals between two faculty members are permitted. For such proposals, each faculty member may request summer salary (subject to the caps indicated above).  Interdisciplinary projects are encouraged.

4.  Proposal Preparation

There is no specified format for proposals. Faculty should structure their proposals in a way that clearly articulates the nature of the activities to be undertaken, with the understanding that proposals will be evaluated based on the five criteria given below in section 6. Proposals should state the anticipated significant outcome that will result from the UNITAS Award, such as: scholarly publication in a high impact peer-reviewed professional journal, presentation of a paper at a major national or international professional conference or symposium, preparation and submission of a proposal for an external grant directly related to the research supported by the UNITAS grant, or other significant and unique scholarly outcomes that enhance the stature and visibility of the faculty member. Proposers should be cognizant that review committee members may not have expertise in the specific topic of every proposal. Proposals would benefit from minimizing discipline-specific terminology or jargon, and/or defining discipline-specific terminology when it cannot be avoided.

Proposal narratives should not exceed 12 double-spaced pages with 1-inch margins, using no smaller than 12 pt. font. In addition to the narrative, proposals must include a cover sheet, a bibliography (6 pages maximum), and a vita (maximum 2 pages). If non-salary monies are requested, a budget for these monies should be included, with succinct justification. Do not specify faculty summer salary dollar amounts anywhere in the proposal.

5.  Proposal Submission

Submit a SINGLE PDF file containing all combined documents to The subject heading should include the faculty member’s last name and the word UNITAS, e.g., Smith UNITAS. Proposers will receive confirmation of receipt. Hard copies will not be accepted.

6.  Proposal Evaluation and Review Criteria

Each proposal will be peer reviewed by an Evaluation Committee based on the following criteria (the last four of which have been adopted from the American Council of Learned Societies):

  • Consistency of the proposed project with the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • The potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and make an original and significant contribution to knowledge.
  • The quality of the proposal with regard to its clarity, methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature.
  • The feasibility of the project and the likelihood that the applicant will execute the work within the proposed timeframe.
  • The scholarly record and career trajectory of the applicant.

7. Critical Date

  • Proposal submission deadline: FIRST FRIDAY IN MARCH, 5:00 pm EST

8. Post-Award Requirements

Recipients of UNITAS Awards will be asked to share their research at a research symposium organized by Villanova’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

After receiving an award, and in order to be eligible for future awards, the recipient will be required to submit a brief report (no more than one page) that includes the significant outcome resulting from the UNITAS Award in relation to the anticipated significant outcome as stated in the initial proposal.  Reports should be submitted to the Vice Provost for Research ( by the last day of April following the summer for which the UNITAS Award was made.

9.  Questions?

Questions about proposal preparation or review can be addressed to either Terry Nance, Ph.D., Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion or Amanda Grannas, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Research and Chief Research Officer. You also may contact any member of the Evaluation Committee for advice about proposal preparation.

Please DO NOT send inquiries to This address is to be used only for submission of proposals.

10.  Members of the Evaluation Committee for 2022-23 will be updated when available.