Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund


The Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund

The Summer Session Research Consortium, which consists of the North American Association of Summer Sessions (NAASS); the North Central Conference on Summer Schools (NCCSS); the Western Association of Summer Session Administrators (WASSA); and the Association of University Summer Sessions (AUSS), is pleased to announce a Call for Proposals for the Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund.

Amount of Award
The total for the year 2016 is $10,000. One or more proposals will be supported from this amount, at the discretion of the members of the Consortium committee. Generally, accepted proposals are funded for $2,000 to $5,000.

Research Topics
The Consortium invites proposals that address pedagogical or administrative issues that pertain to summer session at North American colleges and universities. For example:

  • Analysis of summer faculty pay structures and administration of summer faculty.
  • Assessment of student needs, preferences and expectations.
  • Effects of administrative reorganization (e.g. centralization/decentralization) and impacts of various organizational structures.
  • Analysis and reporting of various funding models and impacts of changes (e.g. change from state support to self-support).
  • Factors related to student choice to attend summer (e.g. availability of loans, grants, and other forms of aid, including reduced tuition and fees).
  • The impact of technology used in summer sessions.
  • Learning outcomes of compressed or time-intensive courses vs. full semester-length counterparts.
  • Relationship of economic factors (e.g. unemployment, recession, wage rate changes, etc.) and other factors external to the university environment to summer enrollment.
  • The effectiveness of particular marketing strategies.

The research must be on a topic of ongoing concern to summer session deans/directors generally. A project that is highly parochial in scope, or that addresses a topic of unlikely interest beyond a specific campus, will probably not be selected for funding with this program.

Supportable Expenses
Grant funds may be used for supplies, mailing and telephone costs, the cost of data entry and statistical processing, salaries and fringe benefits for graduate students, and general direct expenses necessary for the research such as travel. The funds may also be used for purchase of the load of a researcher, for release time for a faculty/staff member, or as an added stipend for someone already employed. Given the small scale of this grant program, overhead charges are not considered a supportable expense.

Format for Proposals
The proposal must be written in clear and concise language.  The narrative should not exceed four double-spaced pages.  Please include the following elements in the order listed below:

  1. Title page
    Include name of project; name/address of researcher; name of institution and the Summer Session organizations(s) to which it belongs; and a paragraph-length abstract of the proposal (single-spaced, 150 words or less).
  2. Statement of the specific problem or research question(s) to be studied.
  3. Explanation of why this is an important issue with a clear indication of how the study can provide insight for summer session deans/directors and other university leaders on matters vital to the continued growth and development of summer sessions.
  4. Brief review of literature (if applicable) relevant to the study.
  5. Description of the research methodology, including any proposed data gathering instruments and statistical techniques.
  6. An itemized budget

Required Attachments

  1. Signed statement acknowledging that the researcher will protect human subjects’ rights and confidentiality.
  2. Vita of the principal investigator(s).

Conditions for Funding.
It is not necessary for the researchers to be involved directly in summer session work, but it is required that their institution is a current member of one of the Consortium organizations. In addition, award recipients must agree to:

  • Complete the research by November 2017.
  • Present the research findings/results at an annual meeting of NAASS, NCCSS, or WASSA. (The sponsoring associations reserve the right to include a shortened version of the findings/results on their Web pages.)
  • Submit a précis or abstract of the results for publication in Summer Academe.
  • Submit a full paper on the findings/results for publication in Summer Academe or to some other journal in the field of education.
  • Submission of two copies of the results for the NAASS archives.

It should be understood the Consortium expects the above presentation and publishing of the findings to be the minimum. The researcher should seek out additional opportunities to present the findings on behalf of the Consortium to be a broad and influential audience to bring additional awareness and understanding to matters related to summer sessions held by college and universities in North America.

Selection of Awards
The review committee consists of the Research Committee Chairs of NAASS, NCCSS, WASSA, and AUSS. Crucial selection criteria include clarity and completeness of the proposal, significance of the topic(s), and suitability of the proposed methodology for the research question(s) posed. Decisions will be announced in June 2016.

Multi-year, phased proposals may be submitted and will be considered, but the Committee is not able to guarantee funding for subsequent years/phases.

Proposals must be submitted electronically to the Research Consortium Co-Chair, Patricia Suske ( by Friday, April 29, 2016. Prospective applicants should feel free to contact Patricia Suske by e-mail or telephone at (702) 895-4351 with questions or to discuss their ideas.

2014 Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund Recipient

Bethany Simunich, Kent State University, Comparison of Motivation of Learning Outcome Achievements in Shortened, Online, and Summer Courses vs Their Full-time Counterparts. $6,300

2013 Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund Recipient

Elizabeth Beasley, Rutgers New Brunswick, An analysis of the individual and institutional causes, correlations, and consequences of transient summer session credit. $6,000

2012 Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund Recipient

Tracy Noyes, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, Effectiveness of Centralized Administrative Reorganization of Summer Session, $4000

2011 Theresa Neil Memorial Research Fund Recipients

Rachel Miller, University of Virginia, Supporting Community College Transfer Students through a Summer Transfer Transition Program, $4000
Bill Kops, University of Manitoba and Loy Lytle, Emeritus University of California Santa Barbara,Organizational/Administrative Structures of Summer Term at NAASS, NCCSS, WASSA, and AUSS Member Institutions and Their Effects on Outcomes and Success, $5000

For a complete list of past award recipients, click here. (PDF)