The Provost and the College of Humanities & Fine Arts are pleased to support the Research Intensive Semester (RIS) Program for junior faculty, developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Society of Professors. Through this program, HFA departments are able to offer eligible junior faculty one "research-intensive semester" before their tenure decision to foster progress on those projects critical to the tenure review process. In this context, we use the word "research" to include a broad range of creative and scholarly work.
Research-Intensive Semesters are those in which junior faculty are released from teaching duties; they are not leaves or sabbaticals. During this time, faculty members will ordinarily remain in residence and be available for advising and limited service on hiring or other committees. There may be exceptional circumstances when the goals of the RIS can best be met if part or all of the time is spent off-campus, or when the research-intensive focus will be distributed across two semesters. Such arrangements would be agreed on by the dean, the department chair, and the faculty member. Also, the RIS Program aims to support HFA tenure track faculty who have carried a normal teaching load and have not otherwise received this kind of opportunity to focus on research. Faculty who have had research fellowships while at UMass Amherst will generally not be eligible.
While the main purpose of this program is to allow HFA junior faculty to concentrate more intently on their research and creative activity, a secondary purpose is to encourage development of their talents as a whole. Faculty RIS applications must therefore show that the applicant has taken some initiative to prepare and submit grant applications. A January 4, 2012 article published online by Inside Higher Ed covers several commonsense and practical measures that can help focus your efforts to identify potential funding sources and to prepare a well-crafted proposal. If you have not applied for grant funding you are encouraged to read Russ Olwell's essay, "Apply for Your First Grant." Additionally, RIS applicants must indicate that they have had or have scheduled a consultation with the Center for Teaching given the value placed on instructional quality by the College and the University.
For more information, access the Tenure-Track Faculty Application for Research Intensive Semester.