The Grants to Support Research and Scholarship for Change program provides an opportunity for members of the U-M community to collaborate on innovative ideas that will positively impact academia and society. Project topics may include, but are not limited to, diversifying staff, faculty, and students; transforming campus and departmental culture; leading through diverse cultural frames; addressing critical issues through intergenerational collaborations; and highlighting marginalized voices. For more information, please click here.

This year, the NCID funded seven projects, including:


Gender Revolution in the Trump Era: Transformations in Consciousness and Gender Relations.

Pamela Aronson (Professor, Sociology, University of Michigan-Dearborn); Matthew Fleming (Student Research Assistant)

The US is in the midst of a gender revolution. Changes in gender consciousness are rapidly altering gender relations, as women are challenging gender inequalities in new ways. This project focuses on three areas of social change: the 2018 election; women’s movement activism; and the emergence of new forms of public discourse on sexual assault (the #MeToo movement). Utilizing multiple data sources, including news media, social media and focus group interviews, I am systematically analyzing social and institutional change. This study fits with the mission of NCID, including the framework for diversity scholarship and the “transforming campus climate” priority area.

Charting Race and Gender in the Institutional History of the Modern Language Association.

Gaurav Desai (Professor, English Language and Literature)

This project examines the role of race and gender, both in terms of the professional identities of Modern Language Association (MLA) members and as subjects of study since the inception of the MLA in 1883. While it was not until the late sixties that the MLA actively set up two Commissions to study the status of women and of minorities in the profession, in actuality membership in the organization had been open to both women and minorities from the very beginning of the organization. Working in the MLA archives over two months this summer, I will try to excavate this long history.

Sounds about ‘White’?: Psychological Perceptions of Linguistic Codeswitching among Blacks

Myle Durkee (Assistant Professor, Psychology), Courtney McCluney (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Virigina), Kathrina Robotham (Doctoral Student), Richard Smith II (Doctoral Student)

Codeswitching, or temporarily changing one’s behavior to fit one’s environment, is a skill used by Black people to deter racial stigma in predominantly White contexts. We plan to investigate how mirroring the dialectical patterns of White peers/colleagues (codeswitching voice) influences perceptions of Black people in professional contexts. We will experimentally examine whether a Black target’s style of speech influences perceptions of their professionalism and authenticity among White and Black participants. Our findings, through several studies, will determine the perceived costs and benefits associated with Blacks codeswitching between African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and Standard American English (SAE) dialects.

Missing Migrants of the Mediterranean

Odessa Gonzalez Benson (Assistant Professor, School of Social Work), Vadim Besprozvany (Lecturer, School of Information); Imed Soltani (Founder and Director, Association La Terre Pour Tous, Tunisia)

With an on-campus student exhibit, an online platform and in partnership with a Tunisia-based migrant advocacy organization, this study seeks to facilitate space for the stories of families of missing migrants of the Mediterranean, whose voices are often absent in dominant narratives. This research explores how families navigate that space that toggles between loss and hope, and what it means to pursue advocacy, as they seek to be heard. Our interdisciplinary, transnational team, comprised of faculty, students, and practitioners, aims to bring social justice and advocacy together with design and technology into a powerful and meaningful synthesis in public scholarship.

Major Life Events and Social Media in Contemporary Society: Understanding Social Readjustment for Marginalized Populations

Oliver Haimson (Assistant Professor and Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Information), Nicole Ellison (Professor, School of Information), AJ Carter (Student Research Assistants), Shanley Corvite (Student Research Assistants), Alexxus Lige (Student Research Assistants), Brookelyn Wheeler (Student Research Assistant)

During life transitions, people often face difficulty presenting and discussing changing identities on social media sites, and finding communities of similar others. These difficulties can be amplified for those with marginalized or stigmatized identities (i.e. transgender and other LGBQ people, first generation and low-income college students). To address these concerns, we will conduct a large-scale survey and interview study to develop an empirical framework explaining how people fragment their identities and networks among separate social media sites during major life transitions, and the social inequities that exist for people with marginalized identities, particularly those with multiple intersecting marginalized identities.

Hungry For Change: Amplifying Student Voices to Change Campus Culture around Food Insecurity

Cindy Leung (Assistant Professor, Nutritional Science, School of Public Health), Jessica Thompson (Maize and Blue Cupboard Coordinator), Alex Bryan (UMSFPProgram Manager), Kim Fitzgerald (Student Research Assistant), Julie Colbath (Student Research Assistant), Sarah Daniels (Associate Dean of Students)

Food insecurity, the limited or uncertain access to nutritious food, is rooted in inequity. Recent reports have highlighted unprecedented levels of food insecurity on college campuses, including at the University of Michigan (U-M). This project, grounded in the inquiry of lived experiences, aims to understand the relationship between food insecurity, health, and academic achievement among U-M students. This project is also timed with the launch of the new Maize and Blue Cupboard, a permanent on-campus food pantry, which will provide a space to amplify student voices, build social capital, and reduce the stigma of food insecurity on campus.

Understanding Why Low-Income and Underrepresented Minority Students Leave Selective Institutions

Steve Lonn (Director of Enrollment Research & Data Management, Office of Enrollment Management), Krystina Engleman (Graduate Student, Higher Education), Mark Umbricht (Project Manager, U-M Institutional Learning Analytics), Holly Derry (Associate Director, Academic Innovation), Carson Phillips (Institutional Research Analyst, Office of Budget and Planning)

This project seeks to understand why low-income and underrepresented minority college students have significantly lower six-year graduation rates than their peers, particularly at selective institutions. A cross-disciplinary group of researchers will develop an exit survey informed by peer institutions’ instruments, research on culturally engaging campus environments, and behavioral science. After iterative refinement, the project team will use the results from the exit survey and administrative data to create a set of practical short- and long-term recommendations for university leadership, intended to lead to institutional changes to better retain and serve these students, ultimately improving the campus community for all students.