The Wallace Scholarly Activities (WSA) program exists to support a community of active, engaged scholars at Macalester College. The program awards funds through a proposal competition that takes place each semester. The Wallace endowment covers expenses related to the following activities:
- Domestic and international travel to (a) conduct research, (b) collaborate with colleagues on scholarly work, and (c) disseminate research at conferences.
- Purchase materials or services related to scholarly activities. This includes equipment for the laboratory or field, software, data sets, professional editing or indexing, etc.
- The WSA program does not support collaborative student-faculty projects in which the student’s intellectual insights or contributions are a primary consideration. Instead, the WSA program can pay students to complete specific tasks that further a faculty member’s research agenda (e.g. transcription of interviews, routine preparation of samples, digitization of documents, etc.) The nature of this work means that students are paid hourly and must complete a time card that is approved by a faculty supervisor. Payments occur bi-weekly; pay rate is $12.50 per hour +10% fringe benefits (FB) up to a total of $5500 ($5000 hourly + $500 FB).
The WSA program does not support:
- Pedagogical development,
- Faculty salaries,
- Expenses associated with the residential aspects of sabbaticals (e.g., lodging, meals). However, a faculty member on sabbatical may apply for Wallace Scholarly Activities funds associated for short-term trips from the sabbatical base location.
Wallace Scholarly Activities grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Strong applications are those that make a case for the impact of proposed work on scholarly development (e.g., How vital is the proposed work for furthering research goals?). Since Faculty Travel and Research (FTR), start-up, and external grant funds can also fund scholarly activities, a convincing case must be made for the need of additional College funds (e.g., Why have you prioritized FTR and start-up funds for other expenses and not the work proposed? Why are you not using external grant funds to cover expenses?) There is admittedly a tension between supporting proposals from faculty who have secured external funding and proposals from those who work in areas where there are fewer external funding sources.
Additional criteria used to evaluate applications include:
- Does the applicant propose to make frugal and prudent use of the funds?
- How many awards has the applicant received in the past and did they make productive use of them?
- What is the stature of the conference where research will be disseminated? What role will the applicant play in the conference?
- What impact will the outcome of the proposed work have? Is it clear where the activities fit in a long-term project or process; or what products might reflect the success of the work?
- How essential is proposed travel for research that advances your scholarly agenda?
- Are the Wallace funds being used as “seed money” that could lead to external grants down the road or are external funds not available for these types of projects?
- All faculty members (tenure-track, tenured, MSFEO participants, and non-tenure track) with at least one contracted year remaining of Macalester service may submit applications, but those from tenured and tenure-track faculty receive higher priority.
Faculty members on the Strategic Planning and Analysis (SPA) make award decisions with input from the Provost and a representative of the Serie Center. Faculty may submit one application per semester. The Wallace Scholarly Activities program is administered through the Jan Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching.
Effective spring 2011, the Resources and Planning Committee (RPC, the precursor to SPA) established a WSA award maximum of $5,500. An increased number of proposals and along with the growing size of the average amount requested prompted this change.
In cases where costs are expected to exceed $5,500, faculty are urged to describe such expenses within their proposal narrative, as well as how these costs will be met. These expenses should not be included in the proposed award budget. Applicants are encouraged to obtain the best possible estimates for expenses. “Other” expenses must be specified as completely as possible; the more detail the better. SPA reserves the right to partially fund proposals.
Timing of Awards
If your proposed activities take place between June 1 and December 31, you should apply during the spring round (applications are due the third Monday of February). If the activities take place between January 1 and May 31, you should apply during the fall round (applications are due the first Monday of November).
Travel opportunities sometimes arise between the two times that SPA makes funding decisions. For these situations, faculty may decide to pay for travel expenses out of their own pocket, and then apply during the next round for a retroactive request up to $5500. These requests are evaluated using the same criteria listed above and there is no guarantee that a retroactive request will be funded. The Wallace Scholarly Activities program does not reimburse FTR allocations, external grants, start-up funds, departmental funds or other institutional discretionary funds; if a retroactive request is approved, it can only be used to offset out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the faculty member.