In joining with Northeastern University, Mills College became part of an R1 institution, which is defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as doctoral universities with “very high” research activity. And with that change comes more funding and support for faculty members pursuing projects beyond the classes they teach.
In the 2022–23 academic year, those included seed grants for Associate Adjunct Professor of Ethnic Studies Natalee Kēhaulani Bauer ’97, MA ’07, to participate in a reproductive justice research collaborative; Professor of Education Clifford Lee to research the use of game design and ecological justice in reforming education for BIPOC youth; and Professor of Psychology Christie Chung for the development of an exercise bike that will incorporate physical exercise and language learning to boost brain health. (All projects are happening in collaboration with other faculty members from throughout the Northeastern network.)
Chung is also the associate dean for research, scholarship, and partnerships for Mills at Northeastern, and she reports that Mills faculty members received from Northeastern three Tier 1 awards worth $50,000 each; submitted six proposals for Impact Engines, with one gaining funding (see “New partnerships director a familiar face”) and four others still under consideration; and were awarded one grant from the Inclusive Impact Innovation Fund (see “Legacy Mills program receives Northeastern award”). Departments such as the Northeastern Research Enterprise Services (NU-RES) provide infrastructure to help with the full life cycle of a research project, from locating funding to closing out the project.
That’s a shift from the past, when professors were teaching full course loads while also setting up and contributing to research projects in their fields with limited time and resources. “There’s an entire team of people working with us and research development to help people look for opportunities,” Chung says.