Campus tracks use of grants

Each department on campus receives grants through the University’s Division of Research to use for activities within a department, and students are wondering how these funds are being utilized.

Currently, the College of Engineering Sciences Technology and Agriculture receives the most grant funds, earning a total of $8,031,347.17 for basic research programs in the fiscal year from July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006. Second is the College of Arts and Sciences.

Sunil Pancholoy, CESTA associate dean of research, said the college is doing a lot with the grant money it has been awarded.

He said they have research programs and a center for biology control.

While Pancholoy believes CESTA is making good use of its grant funding, Kristopher Steward, a graduate electronic engineering technology student, does not entirely agree.

“The electronic technology program lacks the resources for higher education on a University level,” said Steward, 22, from Chicago. “Our lab equipment is outdated to what’s going on in corporate America.”

Steward said, “I was unaware of the funds we have, and I’m disappointed.”

But Pancholoy said most grant money received in CESTA goes toward research.

Ralph Turner is dean of arts and sciences and the program director of one of the largest grants received in the department of arts and sciences, called the Florida-Georgia Alliance for Minority Participation Project.

He said FGAMP is providing help for students.

“Most grants go to students to provide activities for them such as conferences, presentations, and internships,” Turner said. “We are doing successful here and nationally.”

Unlike Turner, Mario Henderson, a sophomore political science, pre-law student, said the department of arts and sciences’ usage of grant money for educational programs is far from being adequate.

“I think our political science department is outdated,” said Henderson, 19, from Daytona Beach. “It does not prepare us outside of college.

I had an internship with the U.S Congress, and I had to find it on my own.”

Henderson said the political science department and the city of Tallahassee need to give students practical experience.

“There is no reason for Tallahassee to not have an institute to give students a niche to get experience,” he said.

Latia Richardson, 21, a junior psychology student from Jacksonville, agreed with both Henderson and Turner about the College of Arts and Sciences.

Richardson, who is the vice president of the Psychology Club, said the club usually receives money every year, but has not received any funds for this year.

Additionally, she said, “There could be more money, especially for graduate students. We need more students in the graduate program. You can’t do much when money is not out there.”

But she does not hold the school solely responsible. “I’m not going to put it all on the department,” she said.

Makola M. Abdullah, associate vice president of the division of research, said most students do not know about the Division of Research in Foote-Hilyer.

“This year there were about 52 million grants that have been given out through the different departments,” Abdullah said.

Abdullah explained the grant process. “Most students are influenced by faculty, but requests come here,” he said. “Grants are more faculty driven. When faculties write a grant, they write through the office to the agency (sponsoring the grant)…and it’s awarded through us.”

Megan Rollerson is a student who said she did not know much about the Division of Research.

“I didn’t know about the Division of Research,” said Rollerson, 19, a freshman history student from Fort Lauderdale. “I wish it was a more fluent line between the history department regarding grants and research opportunities.”

Abdullah said the agencies that have awarded the $13,437,507.85 of federal grants that went to the administration during the last fiscal year ensure the money is being used efficiently.

“All of the agencies want to know if money is getting spent wisely, (there are) a lot of rules and regulations set by the agency,” Abdullah said.