Multicultural Research Awards

Application & Submission Materials   |  Terms and Conditions   |   2017 MRA Award Recipients |  Prior year Recipients 

IDEA Multicultural Research Awards

About the Award

The Institute on Diversity, Equity and Advocacy, IDEA, invites proposals for research that addresses issues related to its mission “to transform the University by enhancing the visibility and advancing the productivity of an interdisciplinary group of faculty and community scholars whose expertise in equity, diversity, and underrepresented populations will lead to innovative scholarship and teaching that addresses urgent social issues.” 

Since it's inception in 1996, the MRA has awarded over 1.5 million dollars to more than 165 UMN faculty from at least 45 different disciplines working in equity and diversity research.

Award recipients are required to present their work as part of Diversity through the Disciplines Symposia sponsored throughout the academic year. Awardees are also encouraged to showcase their research at the Gallery of Excellence, a showcase of equity and diversity research preceding the annual equity and diversity breakfast.

Award Criteria

The following criteria is considered in evaluating proposals:

  • Proposals with a single Principal Investigator 
  • Collaborative proposals between senior and junior faculty or between faculty and graduate students
  • Proposed research project that is:
    • Interdisciplinary, inter-collegiate, cross-cultural, and groundbreaking across disciplines, departments, colleges, or bridges the campus with local communities.
    • Innovative, transformational and engaged with or focused on diverse communities in the United States or the Global South. 

Special consideration is given to:  Junior faculty of color and faculty who teach in units where the proposed research will advance curricular diversity or are working on topics where research support traditionally has been difficult to obtain. Now more than ever, we especially welcome research that promotes our understanding of race, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, immigration, health and mental health disparities, and projects that address educational and opportunity gaps in schools.

Award Eligibility: Applications are invited from all University faculty members who hold tenured or tenure-track appointments and whose scholarly research will focus on issues related to diversity, equity, and advocacy.

Application and Submission Details

The submission of an incomplete application or of supporting materials other than those specifically requested is not permitted. Be sure to keep a copy of all submitted materials for your own records.

A call for Proposals for 2018 will be forwarded in early December 2017. Watch your email for that message from: OED-IDEA. 

Deadline for 2018 applications is: January 16, 2018.

A complete application must include these materials:

  1. the application form
  2. the research proposal
  3. the budget form with a budget justification - importance of each item in the budget
  4. your brief CV

•  After completing the on-line Application Form, all materials listed below are to be emailed by the deadline to: 
– Subject line should read “MRA submission”.

•  Proposal: This must:

• Be limited to four pages, using 12-point font or larger, and 1-inch or greater margins.
• Be written in a style that is accessible to a non-specialist audience.
• Include all of the following information:

•  Abstract: Provide a non-technical abstract of the research proposed (200 words or less).
•  Present status of knowledge: Provide a brief description of the nature, importance, and specific objective(s) of the research.
•  Plan of work: Provide a brief description of the research you plan to conduct and the time line for completion of the project. Specify the material and method to be used and the specific hypotheses to be tested.

•  Budget: A complete Budget form must be submitted as part of the the application. This is a word doc. You must make a copy of this template to complete and submit via email:
You may add lines to the budget section as needed.
•  Budget justification: - As part of the Budget Form - you must state how each item in the budget is important to the successful completion of the research. The length of the Budget Justification section may not exceed one page.

•  If you choose to include summer salary, be sure to include fringe benefit costs. Your department’s Human Resource’s Coordinator should be able to help you calculate the fringe.
•  If you choose to include funds for a graduate student researcher be sure to include fringe and that the rate includes tuition fees if during the academic year.
•  You must include a list of all current, pending and potential sources (i.e., grants being prepared and/or already submitted) of support over the past five years (including the Graduate School and other University of Minnesota sources). Specify the granting period, the title of the proposal, the name of the granting agency, and the amount of the award.

•  Brief vitae with pertinent publications: 

•  Limited to one page, using 12-point font or larger, and 1-inch or greater margins.
•  List educational background specifying the degrees obtained dates, and institutions.
•  Also list all academic appointments in the last five years (including post-doctoral if applicable). 

Download a copy of these MRA Application Instructions.


Award Terms and Conditions

Award Period: The award period will be no longer than one calendar beginning June 1, 2018 and ending no later than May 31, 2019. If it is necessary to launch your research sooner than June 1, please obtain an approval from IDEA.

Award Funds: The amount of each award will vary, depending upon the nature of the research proposed and the number of meritorious applications received. 
No single award will exceed $7,000.

Use of Funds: Award funds may be used to support partial summer salary, travel, research materials, research assistants, or other purposes directly related to the scholarly activity. Single semester or summer leaves, a sabbatical, or any other form of University-supported leave may not be held simultaneously with the Multicultural Research Award.

Request a Change: At any time the awardee may contact the Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy to request permission to deviate from originally submitted work plan, budget or similar concern.

Unused Funds: Any funds that are not utilized at the end of the award period and as specified in original application and supporting materials must be returned to the Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy. A failure to notify and return funds will disqualify awardee from receiving any future Multicultural Research Award.

Unused Funds must be returned to IDEA no later than:
2018 awardees - December 31, 2019
2017 awardees - December 31, 2018
2016 awardees - December 31, 2017

Renewing a Previous Award: Recipients may apply for an award renewal only once and it must be done for the year directly following the initial award (for example if you received an award in 2017 you may apply for a renewal only in 2018). To apply for a renewal, follow the same process as if it were a new application. All above terms and conditions apply.

Research Reporting and Sharing

Final Reporting: Principal investigators must submit a final report to the Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy no later than August 31, of the year following their award year.
Reports may be submitted electronically via email to

The following information must be provided as part of the final report.

• Summary of originally stated outcomes and goals,
• Research conducted
• Outcomes and goals met
• Final budget that includes both originally stated amounts and final expenditures.

Final reports due no later than:
2018 awards - August 2019
2017 awards - August 2018

Sharing Your Research: Principal investigators are required to present the results of their research at Diversity Through the Disciplines Symposium within two years receiving an award (see the time frame below). Diversity Through the Disciplines Symposia will be scheduled at least once each academic year. Failure to present at this symposium within 2 years of receiving award will disqualify awardee from receiving any future Multicultural Research Award.  Sabbatical and Leaves of Absence are not considered reasons for not presenting. Those who have extenuating circumstance or teach during presentation times will need to notify IDEA and make alternative arrangements to share their research such as participating in the Gallery of Excellence held as part of OED’s Annual Equity and Diversity Breakfast held in November.

Diversity Through the Disciplines participation time frame:
2018 awards - Spring 2019 or Spring 2020
2017 awards - Spring 2018 or Spring 2019
2016 awards - Spring 2017 or Spring 2018

Application Review Committee: Although it is not a requirement, recipients may be asked to support and “give back” to the Multicultural Research Awards by volunteering to be on the application review committee in the future.


2017 IDEA Multicultural Research Award Recipients

Assistant Professor Gabriel Chan,  Public Affairs, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Understanding Gender-Responsiveness of Multilateral Climate Finance

Assistant Professor Joshua Collins, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, College of Education and Human Development
Incorporating bystander intervention and ally development in the classroom and beyond: An integrative literature review

Associate Professor Molly Dingel, Center for Learning Innovation, University of Minnesota, Rochester
Underrepresented students' sense of belonging: The role of living learning communities

Assistant Professor Lake Dziengel, Social Work, College of Education and Human Sevices, University of Minnesota, Duluth 
Resilience and the Role of Pets in LGB & Trans* Communities

Assistant Professor Ona Egbue, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Swenson College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota, Duluth
Evaluating the Impact of Peer-Mentoring on Female and Minority Students’ Experiences in STEM Disciplines

Assistant Professor Insoon Han, Department of Education, College of Education & Human Services, University of Minnesota, Duluth
Fostering the Development of Social Justice Ally through Diversity Course Transformation: Pedagogical Approaches in the White-dominant Classroom  

Assistant Professor Rachel Hardeman, Division of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health

#TinyBlackLivesMatter: An Exploration of the Association between Structural Racism and Inequitable Birth Outcomes 

Assistant Professor Jacob Mans, School of Architecture, College Design
One House, Many Nations

Assistant Professor Lorena Munoz, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Poverty, Health and Race: Improving Healthy Food Practices Through Traditional Indigenous Growing Technologies

Assistant Professor Elliot Powell, American Studies, College of Liberal Arts
The Other Side of Things: Afro-South Asian Collaborative Sounds in Black Popular Music

Associate Professor Arun Saldanha, Geography, Environment, and Society, College of Liberal Arts

Prince from Minneapolis: The Geographies of Race and Genius

Associate Professor Catherine Solheim, Family Social Science,  College of Education and Human Development
Developing and Testing a Financial Coaching Program for Karen Refugees

Associate Professor Michael Stebleton, Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development, College of Education and Human Development
A Hunger Crisis: Examining Food Insecurity and its Impact on Undergraduate Students 

Assistant Professor Christopher Terry, School of Journalism,  College of Liberal Arts

Gender, Race and Eligible Entities: An Evaluation of the Empirical Evidence in the Federal Communications Commission's Minority Ownership Policy Proposal

Associate Professor Bhaskar Upadhay, Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education and Human Development
Case Studies of Teachers’ Experiences Teaching about Race and Beyond

Previous Recipients - will soon present their research at a Diversity Through the Disciplines Symposium.

2016  IDEA Multicultural Research Award Recipients

Assistant Professor Hector Fernando Burga, Master of Urban and Regional Planning, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Planning the Latino Immigrant City in Minnesota
Assistant Professor Jennifer Gomez Menjivar, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, College of Liberal Arts

Black in Print: Fictions, Discourses and the Politics of Seeing Blackness in Latin America  

Associate Professor Zenzele Isoke
, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Black Women and the Art of Political Resistance in the Twin Cities
Assistant Professor Derek Jennings, Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Gimaajii Mino-Bimaadizimin Children’s Program
Assistant Professor Christopher Johnstone, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, College of Education & Human Development

Accessibility, Inclusion, and Identity in Study Abroad
Associate Professor Muhammad Khalifa, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), College of Education & Human
Development Understanding Indigenous Culturally Responsive Leadership: Strategies for Improving Schools   
Assistant Professor Melissa Lewis, Biobehavioral Health & Population Sciences, School of Medicine

First-Year Medical Students Learning and Personal Growth following Indigenous Health Lectures

Associate Professor J.B. Mayo, Jr., Curriculum & Instruction, College of Education & Human Development

Uncovering Queer Spaces during the Harlem Renaissance
Assistant Professor Cristina Ortiz, Anthropology, Division of Social Science, Morris Campus

Rural Community Identities in a Context of Transnational Immigration   
Assistant Professor Lena Palacios, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and Chicano and Latino Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Transforming Justice: Formerly Incarcerated Women Engaging in Anti-violence Activism through Participatory Video   
Assistant Professor Punti, Civic Engagement Education,  Associate Professor Teresa Swartz, Sociology and Asian American Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Not Just Child’s Play: How Parents and Kids of Diverse and Under-Represented Backgrounds Understand, Access, and Experience Youth Activities  
Assistant Professor Shannon Walsh, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts

Engendering State Institutions: State Response to Violence against Women in Latin America  

2015 IDEA Multicultural Research Award Recipients

Assistant Professor Daheia Barr-Anderson, Kinesiology, CEHD, Twin Cities
A Mixed Methods Assessment of Family Influence on Weight-Related Behaviors among African-Americans

Professor Jigna Desai, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, CLA, Twin Cities
Rethinking Asian American Displacement and Erasure in the U.S. South

Assistant Professor Zan Gao, School of Kinesiology, CEHD, Twin Cities
Promoting Health and Quality of Life through Smartphone Apps in Asian Immigrant Breast Cancer Survivors

Associate Professor Tasoulla Hadjiyanni, Design, Housing, and Apparel / Interior Design, College of Design, Twin Cities
Toward appropriate transition environments for Native youth victims of trafficking

Assistant Professor Dan Knights, Computer Science and Engineering, CSE, Twin Cities
Immigrant Microbiome Project: Characterization of the obesogenic gut microbiome among Hmong immigrants

Associate Professor Hee Lee, School of Social Work, CEHD, Twin Cities
Asian American Immigrant Parents’ Health Literacy and its Link to Children’s Health and Mental Health Disparities

Associate Professor Keith Mayes, African American & African Studies, CLA, Twin Cities
For the Sake of Internal Security: Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown and the Silencing of Black Power

Assistant Professor Olihe Okoro, Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacy, Duluth
Patient-satisfaction with Health Care: Experiences and perceptions of low-income African American women

Assistant Professor Jimmy Patino, Chicano & Latino Studies, CLA, Twin Cities
“A Time for Resistance”: Transnational Chicano Identity, Immigrant Rights, and Abolition Democracy in the Chicano Movement

Assistant Professor Hyejoon Rim, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, CLA, Twin-Cities
A Cross-Cultural Investigation of Corporate Social Responsibility: Public Perception of CSR in the United States, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates

Assistant Professor Jeanine Schroer, Philosophy, CLA, Duluth
The Stereotype Project

Assoc. Professor Catherine Squires, Communication Studies, CLA, Twin Cities
Hallie Q. Brown: A Life of Eloquent Citizenship

Assistant Professor Sheri Stronach, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, CLA, Twin Cities
Exploring Early Social Communication in Toddlers from Diverse Populations