Mike Crowder in his lab.

Miami University professor Mike Crowder named interim VPRI

Mike Crowder, professor and chair of Miami University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has been named both Dean of the Graduate School and Interim Vice President of Research & Innovation (VPRI) by Provost Jason Osborne. Both appointments are effective July 1.

Although it had been previously announced that the positions of Dean of the Graduate School and VPRI would be separated, it became necessary to postpone the VPRI search that was underway when, on March 16, President Greg Crawford announced that most Miami personnel would begin working remotely as a measure to help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. As the search for a new Dean of the Graduate School had been completed by this time, Provost Osborne elected to simultaneously name the Dean and Interim VPRI. The provost intends to resume the search for a permanent VPRI as conditions allow.

Osborne said Crowder’s significant success with external funding, his mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students in his lab and his leadership of a large, research-active department — a role he has held since 2013 — made him a great choice to fill this role on an interim basis. With an active research program focused on metalloenzymes, antibiotic resistance, metal ion homeostasis, and inhibitor design, Crowder has been awarded more than $7 million in external grants.

Crowder will be working closely with current VPRI Jim Oris until Oris’ retirement on June 30.


Photo by Jeff Sabo, Miami University Photo Services.

A crowd of people

New NSF-approved formats for biosketch, current and pending support required beginning June 1

The newest National Science Foundation (NSF) Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) takes effect June 1, 2020. The most significant changes involve NSF-approved formats for the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support sections, both of which will now have to be in NSF-approved file formats: either SciENcv or NSF fillable-form PDF.

SciENcv integrates with ORCID so that biographical sketch information can be imported directly from ORCID, eliminating some manual entry of information in multiple places. The NSF fillable forms do not integrate with ORCID.

NSF requests that principal investigators start using the new formats now (even for proposals that will be submitted before June 1), so that they can identify potential issues. Feedback about the process should be emailed to policy@nsf.gov.

NSF’s Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support pages include links to the fillable forms as well as FAQs. Visit the SciENcv site for video tutorials and FAQs.


Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay, used under Creative Commons license.

Overview of conference space during one of the poster sessions at Miami University's 25th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum.

26th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum to be held online

In response to Governor DeWine’s stay-at-home order — and to protect the health of all members of our community — Miami University’s 26th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum will be held online via Webex on April 29.

As with the in-person event, the online event will feature both oral and poster sessions. The 10-minute oral presentations will be held at 9:00am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:00pm. Each poster session, at 9:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:15pm, respectively, will be divided into five concurrent clusters, with up to 20 posters per cluster. Students presenting posters will each have five minutes to explain their projects. Faculty members have volunteered to moderate all sessions.

In place of the traditional luncheon, there will be a plenary session from 12:15pm to 1:00pm, during which the president and provost are expected to make remarks. The LAURE Award will also be announced during this time.

The Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) is partnering with Career Services and University Libraries to provide workshops to prepare the 584 student contributors for presenting their research effectively in the new format. We are also working with presenters to ensure that the online Forum will be accessible to attendees who use assistive technology.

Visit the event website for more information.


Edited 04/27/2020 to provide a link to the event website.

Edited 04/15/2020 to update poster session times.

Photo by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

GRFP logo

One Miami University graduate student, two alumni receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Keaka Farleigh, a PhD student in ecology, evolution, and environmental biology, has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program “recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based Master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.”

Miami undergraduate alumnus Kevin Summer received a Graduate Research Fellowship in support of his work as a PhD student at the University of Denver. Graduate School alumna Rhiannon Schultz, who will begin PhD studies this fall at the University of Georgia, also received a fellowship.

In addition, several current and former students received GRFP honorable mentions. They are McKenna Freeman, currently a masters student in psychology; Benjamin David Harding, currently a senior majoring in biochemistry; Rosamiel Ries, currently a senior majoring in geology and physics; Isabelle Andersen, an undergraduate alumna now studying at Baylor University; Avnika Bali, an undergraduate alumna now studying at Yale University; and Haley Elizabeth Thoresen, an undergraduate alumna now studying at the University of Idaho.


Updated April 21, 2020 to include Rhiannon Schultz.

A line of trophies

Distinguished Scholar and Junior Faculty Scholar awards announced

Miami University Distinguished Scholar Awards for 2020 have been presented to Scott Hartley, Volwiler distinguished professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry; Terri Messman-Moore, professor in the department of psychology; and Elizabeth Wardle, Howe professor in the department of English and director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence.

The 2020 class of Miami University Distinguished Scholars are (from left to right) Scott Hartley, Terri Messman-Moore, and Elizabeth Wardle

Distinguished Scholar Awards honor faculty whose sustained excellence in research or other creative activity has brought them prominence in their fields.

Miami University Junior Faculty Scholar Awards have been presented to Andrew Paluch, associate professor in the department of chemical, paper, and biomedical engineering; Ryan Gunderson, assistant professor in the department of sociology and gerontology; Brittany Aronson, an assistant professor in the department of educational leadership; and Rosemary Pennington, assistant professor in the department of media, journalism, and film.

The 2020 class of Miami University Junior Faculty Scholars are (from left to right) Andrew Paluch, Ryan Gunderson, Brittany Aronson, and Rosemary Pennington

Junior Faculty Scholar Awards honor faculty who have demonstrated great potential in research or artistry and have achieved significant standing in their fields. Candidates for the Junior Faculty Scholar Award must have received their highest degree no more than eight years before the time of nomination.

The scholars, named by the committee on faculty research, each receive a $2,000 grant for the pursuit of further research.

They were to be honored at the University Awards Reception, which was scheduled for March 17, but canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Trophy photo by Brad.K via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license. Faculty photos by Miami University Photo Services.

A health care provider wears surgical gloves and holds a clipboard with a checklist.

Miami donates protective gear to area health care facilities

Area health care workers benefited from donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) collected across Miami University’s Oxford and Regionals campuses last week.

As Miami faculty and staff closed down campus laboratory facilities in preparation for Gov. Mike DeWine’s (Miami ‘69) stay-at-home order last week, unused protective gear was collected for donation to health care workers.

Most of the items were sent to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, UC Health, the Butler County Board of Health, Mercy Health-Fairfield and the Atrium Medical Center.

Rick Page, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, led a departmentwide collection of supplies from research labs and teaching labs. The department donated:

  • More than 125,000 gloves and 750 goggles to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and UC Health

The Miami University police department donated items including:

  • 10 boxes of gloves (250 per box)
  • 196 N95 respirators

Dennis Tobin, associate professor of art, said Miami’s ceramics studio commonly uses N95 respirators as they mix their own clay and glazes from raw materials. He donated:

  • 120 N95 respirators to Oxford’s McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital/TriHealth

Mercy Health and Atrium Medical Center contacted Miami University Regionals about the availability of PPE to spare, said Cathy Bishop-Clark, Regionals dean. Laboratory coordinators collected supplies, and Perry Richardson, senior director of media and community relations, delivered a car full of items to each facility.

The Regionals also collected cleaning and sanitizing supplies (wipes, paper towels, tissues) to donate to the Hamilton police department.

Jeff Johnson, director of environmental health and safety, collected items from the animal care facility and departments across the Oxford campus, including biology, kinesiology and health, psychology and chemical, paper and biomedical engineering.

“We had about four full pickup truck loads of materials,” Johnson said. He and University Fire Marshall Rick Dusha picked up the items which were then centrally stored by Robin Parker, general counsel for Miami, until they were donated.

Jim Oris, vice president for research and innovation, helped coordinate the campuswide collection of PPE. He extended his thanks to everyone involved with this effort.

“I am proud to work for a place like this. The campus is beautiful, but the people make it special,” he said.

A list provided by Oris’ office for additional items donated includes:

  • 790 boxes of gloves (80,000 pairs)
  • 3,130 surgical masks
  • 1,100 surgical caps
  • 782 goggles
  • 355 shoe covers
  • 216 N95 respirators
  • 200 surgical gowns

Written by Susan Meikle, Miami University News and Communications. Originally appeared as a “Top Story” on  Miami University’s News and Events website.

Photo via pxfuel.com, used under Creative Commons license.

Blackboard with the word "UPDATE" written on it. An outstretched hand holds an alarm clock in a space between the "P" and the "D" in the word update.

NSF updates research community on COVID-19 response

Jean Feldman, head of NSF’s policy office, gave a COVID-19 update as part of a panel discussion hosted by the National Council of Research Administrators (NCURA) on March 25. As described below, she addressed several of the questions most frequently being fielded by her office. For detailed responses on these and other FAQs, visit the NSF COVID-19 webpage. A new set of questions and answers was posted on March 26, with a specific section on Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grants.

Are NSF proposal deadlines being extended?

Many deadlines have been extended, but these are being decided and announced on a one-by-one basis. As of March 27, 15 deadlines are listed on NSF’s Impact on Deadline Dates webpage.

Can we continue to charge salary costs to our grants while non-essential research has been curtailed?

Grant recipients can continue charging salaries, stipends and benefits as long as these payments are consistent with their home institution’s policies. However, you should not assume that supplemental funding will be available to continue salaries when research activities can be restarted. In other words, you might end up with a budget shortfall down the road. If you anticipate this happening, you should contact your program officer.

Can universities donate personal protective equipment that was purchased with grant funding?

This is typically an unallowable expense, but funding agencies have discretion to approve such donations. Contact your program officer to see if it will be allowed. If you plan to donate now and then use university funds later to replenish your supply, work with your Grants & Contracts accountant to very carefully document the donation and replacement process.

How are award decision timelines being impacted?

The award process is currently continuing as normal; panels that were scheduled have gone ahead (virtually). Over time, delays may occur, but it’s too soon to predict those now.

Feldman encourages principal investigators and research administrators to contact their program officer or the Policy Office (policy@nsf.gov) with questions. Please also refer to Miami’s Research and Innovation COVID-19 and Your Research Program webpage, and in particular, the Agency and COGR Guidance webpage.


Photo by geralt via needpix.com, used under Creative Commons license.