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Wishes ‘granted' here

Who needs a pair of ruby slippers or a magic wand when youve got Ed Davis?

As director of APSUs Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs, Davis is busy finding free money to meet the needs of individual faculty members and departments. At this writing, hes preparing to help faculty and staff apply for approximately 12 grants for the University, including one from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) for general education and global learning, as well as a very significant Title III development grant.
Who needs a pair of ruby slippers or a magic wand when you've got Ed Davis?

As director of APSU's Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs, Davis is busy finding “free money” to meet the needs of individual faculty members and departments. At this writing, he's preparing to help faculty and staff apply for approximately 12 grants for the University, including one from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) for general education and global learning, as well as a “very significant” Title III development grant.

“Grants are a good resource in a questionable economy,” says Davis. “They are a wonderful resource for the University.”

After a 30-year career in government and justice, as a former state commissioner and most recently as clerk and master for Montgomery County, Davis has had the opportunity to see the power of grants in action. In fact, early in his career, he wrote the grants that led to the creation of the Montgomery County Girls Home, as well as a 13-bed children's crisis center.

Since his arrival in January 2005, APSU's external funding dollars have increased significantly. In fact, the external dollars through grants and contracts reported to the Tennessee Board of Regents for this year will exceed the previous report by approximately $1 million.

OK, why would you contact Davis for help writing a grant when, theoretically, you could do the job yourself?

“The demand for grants is so high that some grant applications aren't even read if they're typed in the wrong font or the margins are spaced too far from the sides of the page,” says Davis. “We can guide you through the process, provide technical assistance and make sure you're in compliance with the grant requirements and University procedure.

“You focus your passion on what you need; we'll help you reach compliance.”

With Davis' help, Cynthia Marsh, professor of art, applied for a National Education Association (NEA) grant on behalf of the Goldsmith Press at the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts. The application garnered a $10,000 Arts in Education grant, which will support the Center's eight-month LISTEN-UP project.

“I really enjoyed working with both Ed and Beth (Hoilman),” says Marsh. “I was under a tight deadline, and Ed accommodated my schedule. He seems to have a sixth sense about how and when to help.

“Ed Davis was not only supportive and insightful, he took care of all the boring details. Now, if he does dishes and vacuums, I would nominate him for man of the year.”

Davis also helped Dr. Dewey Browder, chair of history and philosophy, apply for a $425,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support establishment of an endowed chair in military history.

The result of the grant application is pending, but Browder already has high praise for Davis. “It is a joy to work with Ed,” he says. “He spends time with each proposal and gets familiar with the material.

“He does not simply ‘process' a grant application. He contributes by making sure the proposal is tailored and that everything is complete.”

Ready to start pursuing a grant of your own?

To help make the process friendlier for first-time grant seekers, Davis is revising the University's policy to make it clearer, training people to use grant-seeking search engines, reorganizing the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs' Web site and updating the grant opportunities found at http://www.apsu.edu/grants.

He also is busy scheduling several grant-writing workshops on campus, and he has helped create a new financial-incentive program for faculty and staff. The program will reward people who pursue grants for themselves and/or their departments as primary investigators and writers.

“We want people to feel comfortable calling up with their questions and expressing their interests,” says Davis. “We're small in staff, but large in interest. We want to be the vehicle that can drive you to grant-seeking success.”

For more information on grant opportunities, telephone Davis at (931) 221-7881.
—Rebecca Mackey