The OURCA and The ODEI Offer New Grant Opportunity for Students


CNU’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (OURCA) and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) have partnered to create a new grant opportunity for students who want to conduct a research or creative project that focuses on the values of diversity, equity and inclusion. 


Vidal Dickerson, Special Assistant to the President and Chief DEI Officer, explained that, “The initiative will aid in making our DEI strategy an active, collaborative project that connects to one of our pillars – undergraduate research. Our strategy should have a life beyond a document. There are opportunities for institution-wide partnerships, and this will serve as one example – bringing together students, faculty mentors, staff, and members of the President’s Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to support our goals through research.”


The project must address one of the five goals of CNU’s Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion. 


The five goals in the Strategic Plan:

  • Goal One: Create and maintain a culture that is inclusive, welcoming and respectful of the

various backgrounds and perspectives of the Christopher Newport community.

  • Goal Two: Recruit, retain and engage students, faculty and staff whose diverse backgrounds

and perspectives demonstrate the University’s commitment to inclusive excellence.

  • Goal Three: Provide comprehensive education, training, and professional development

programs for faculty and staff, inclusive of curricular and co-curricular

activities/programs/courses, in an effort to enrich skill sets, better educate our students,

and work more effectively with one another.

  • Goal Four: Expand community engagement and local community connections.
  • Goal Five: Effectively communicate the University’s efforts to increase diversity and

inclusion on our campus.


The OURCA and the ODEI will offer two $1000 grants to a student or group of students whose research reflects the above goals. The project can be done in one semester or over the course of an entire year and there are no grade level requirements.


This collaborative grant opportunity has never been offered to CNU students before. Both Dickerson and Salomon emphasized the broad and unrestrictive parameters for the project and they encouraged students to share any research proposals that connect to the goals of diversity, equity and inclusion. 


“As long as the project addresses one of [the five] goals in a substantive way. The applications will be read by a committee, a group of faculty and administrators from both DEI and OURCA. It can be just about anything,” said Dr. David Salomon, Director of the OURCA.


He continued, “We’ve intentionally left it broad and open. What are your ideas? That’s one of the mottos at our office here for the OURCA: “The possibilities are endless, bring us your new idea.” 


The application deadline is December 1. Students should submit applications as a PDF emailed to [email protected] with “DEI Grant” in the Subject Line.


For more information, email [email protected] or [email protected]. If you are unsure about a potential project idea and would like to discuss further, you can visit the OURCA office on the second floor of the library.