Diversity and Inclusion Research and Scholarship (DIRS) Program

Announcement Date: February 25, 2022
Application Due Date: April 5, 2022 (by midnight)

DIRS Program Application

Award Period: July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023
Award Notification: April 27, 2022

Our institutional mission states that ECU “[p]repares students with the knowledge, skills and values to succeed in a global, multicultural society” and “[d]iscovers new knowledge and innovations to support a thriving future for eastern North Carolina and beyond”.  To that end, the Diversity and Inclusion Research and Scholarship Program was established to further the goal of incorporating diversity dimensions into scholarly works.

The Diversity and Inclusion Research and Scholarship Program (DIRS) is a faculty development and seed grant program that provides funds to departments with faculty who engage in research projects related to diversity, equity, inclusion and/or cultural competence.  Faculty members may apply for financial assistance for either diversity-related research expenses and/or reassignment from teaching assignments for up to one academic year.

Interested faculty must submit an application via Qualtrics survey, with an uploaded two-page vita and statement of support from the unit Chair. Applications must include a detailed description of the research project’s objective, outcomes, and timeline.  Research proposals should demonstrate strong potential for extramural funding.  All recipients of DIRS funds are expected to compile the results of their research into a paper and will be asked to present the final product.  Funding will be provided directly to the academic unit.

Screening Criteria

The following criteria, with respective weights, will be used to screen applications and select recipients for the Diversity and Inclusion Research and Scholarship award:

  • Objectives and Outcomes (35%): clarity and comprehensiveness of the research objective, methodology, timeline and desired outcomes
  • Broader Impact (30%): addresses an institutional priority and/or societal/regional problem with high potential to effect change
  • Potential for Future Development (20%): identification and demonstration of potential for extramural funding
  • Budget (15%): clarity of budget’s rationale and correlation with research project’s objectives and outcomes

DIRS Award Winners, 2020-2021

Health Equity Advanced Through Structural Competency (HEAT-SC)
  • Kristin Black, PhD
  • Courtney Caiola, PhD
  • Irma Corral, PhD

Cultural competency frameworks are the current standard for addressing health inequities in healthcare and are a requisite component of the curricula in hospitals and healthcare organizations for accreditation through the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Cultural competency frameworks emphasize minimizing provider bias and improving provider-patient communication through culturally appropriate tools and training; however, one critical gap is that these approaches fail to recognize how social and structural factors produce health inequities in the first place. The aim of this project is to address this gap, by adapting a validated structural competency training curriculum to address specific structural barriers to health in Eastern NC (ENC). The adapted curriculum will then be pilot tested on a cohort of interprofessional healthcare providers and health-focused faculty at ECU. Data on the acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility of the ENC-specific structural competency training will be collected, with the ultimate aim of creating a more robust educational program that can be deployed more broadly for use in training other health providers in ENC.

Mapping Accessibility with Dignity: An Inclusive, Equitable University for People with Disabilities
  • Yoo Min Park, PhD
  • JoonKoo Yun, PhD

This multidisciplinary project proposes to integrate research, teaching, and service to create an inclusive, accessible East Carolina University (ECU) campus. By bridging geography, disability studies, and health and human performance studies, this project will produce an interactive web map that supports the accessibility of individuals with disabilities. It will use a participatory approach to mapping as a strategy to engage students in creating an inclusive university environment. By participating in collaborative data collection and mapping, students will identify potential challenges for individuals with disabilities, critically assess the quality of accessibility, and learn about the value of campus inclusion. This learning activity and multidisciplinary research opportunities will contribute to maximizing student success and prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and values to appreciate diversity and inclusion and become active and socially responsible leaders in creating an inclusive and equitable society.