By Adam Breen
What started in 2014 as a one-year initiative to support the scholarly, creative and artistic work of professors, the San Jose State Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association’s (ERFA) Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Grants now annually provide up to $2,500 to support faculty endeavors.
This year’s recipients are Dr. Faustina DuCros, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, and Dr. Katherine Harris, an associate professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. The awards are intended to support research, fund travel to conferences and help professors acquire equipment related to “scholarly and creative endeavors.” The awards can also be used, as DuCros has, to hire student assistants for research help.
DuCros’ research assistants are helping with the second phase of her project that is systematically investigating the presence and depth of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) characters on prime time television and streaming shows — such as those on Netflix — during the 2015-2016 season. The project is analyzing whether the “quality, quantity and complexity of AAPI characters is comparable to that of whites and other groups,” according to the project’s abstract.
Having to analyze nearly 100 shows, DuCros said the research assistants’ work frees up the project’s primary investigators “to focus on more in-depth qualitative coding and analysis.”
ERFA Past President Dr. Joan Merdinger said her association sees the value in supporting faculty research because “We remember the efforts we made to keep current in our disciplines and active in our research and/or creative activities, and we wanted to help our next-generation faculty colleagues with financial awards to advance their scholarly and creative work. This is our way as an organization affiliated with the university, to both honor our organizational mission and to assist our very talented faculty.”
Harris used the grant for travel funds to conduct research this past summer on the far-reaching impacts of British literary annuals and their pirating by American publishers. She visited archives in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York for her book project addressing unanswered questions about the “global reach and subversion of boundaries” inspired by these annuals.
Through her award-funded research at Princeton University, the New York Public Library, and elsewhere, Harris in her proposal said, “I will be able to assess the commodification of British authorship in America during a century of immense colonial expansion and a struggle to control the cultural representations of the British empire.”
Ji-Mei Chang, Ph.D., professor emerita in the Department of Special Education and 2017 president-elect of ERFA, said the 39 applications received by the ERFA Faculty Award Committee reflects “that we have diverse and vibrant scholarship and creative activities conducted among faculty across colleges.”
“Given the large number of applications submitted this year, we hope we can bring the awareness to campus communities regarding the needs of fundraising in support of the scholarship and creative activities among active faculty.”