The ACUI Research and Education Grant awards up to $1,500 towards research-based projects that increase the knowledge-base of the college union and student activities profession. In addition to the financial support for conducting research, recipients will have the opportunity to be featured in The Bulletin as well as gain recognition of peers by presenting the research at the Annual Conference.

2023 Recipient: Adriane Reilly, West Chester University  

Adriane Reilly’s study is related to the role that college unions play in influencing a sense of belonging for students who are part of a particular campus community. Issues addressed include how undergraduate students enrolled in a public university feel belongingness and which elements of space and structure enhance or diminish that sense of belonging. 

2023 Recipient: Brittany Wildman, University of Louisville 

Brittany Wildman’s research, “An Inquiry into the Experiences of Supervisors of On-Campus Student Employees,” explores how supervisors of student employees act as managers while also providing development opportunities to student employees through both implicit and explicit curricula. 

ACUI is now accepting nominations for writing and research awards! Nominate by December 8!

Submission materials must include the following:

  1. Name, institution, and contact information for all contributors.
  2. One compiled packet—that is no more than 10 double-spaced typed pages (not including references), and that contains no identifying information to ensure an anonymous review—which addresses:
    • Research rationale and brief literature review.
    • Description of the methodology.
    • Justification as to how the project supports the published ACUI research agenda and makes a significant contribution to the profession.
    • Detailed budget showing how the awarded funds will be utilized.
    • Anticipated project timeline.
  3. An acknowledgement by the applicant that, if selected:
    • They would be willing to sign and agree to the grant terms of agreement.
    • All funds must be utilized within 18 months.

All materials submitted become the property of ACUI and will not be returned to the applicant.

The submission deadline is December 8.

Note: The submission process is updated this year through our new membership platform—which means applications can autofill with your profile information, be saved as pending for edits until you officially submit, and be stored for your future access. In order to submit an application, you will need to create an account login, if you don’t already have one.

The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of the criteria listed below. The submission must:

  • Be the original work of the investigators and not have been reported elsewhere.
  • Demonstrate a quality of writing sufficient that ACUI could publish an article based on the research.
  • Have significance and relevance to college unions, student activities, and/or the ACUI research agenda.
  • Include quality and significant literature cited in support of the research.
  • Have a clearly articulated research design.
  • Identify suitable expected implications of the research.
  • Be feasible to complete according to the details and scope of the proposed budget and timeline.
  • Result in at least one research-focused article, educational session, or other ACUI resource within 18 months of receiving the award.

Researchers may submit more than one project for grant consideration; however, a complete application packet must be submitted for each.

Individuals with ACUI membership are eligible for this award.

Submissions will receive electronic notification confirming receipt of materials. A confidential panel of judges will conduct an anonymous review of the materials to make the selection based on the criteria identified for this specific award. It is the goal that at least one recipient will be chosen per year, but multiple awards may be given depending on quality of submissions at each deadline and funds available. The panel has the option to distribute funds up to the full amount, partial funds, or to choose not to distribute the award at all. The decision of the judges will be final. One physical award will be given to each recipient project, which will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference and in subsequent publications.

  • 2022: Clayton Kolb, Sendy Alcidonis, Steven Feldman, and Denice Velez, all of West Chester University – Learning Towards Liberation and Social Justice: A New Model for Social Justice Education.”
  • 2020: Heidi Lang, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • 2019: Tara Benson & Victoria Rice, Missouri State University – Perceptions of Transfer Students and the Role of the College Union in Building a Sense of Belonging 
  • 2018: Joe Lattal, Northwestern University – Culture of Equity in Student-Authored Campus Events  
  • 2017: Wendy Denman, Texas A&M University–Commerce – Experiences of Highly Involved Students in Extracurricular Activities 
  • 2016: Anh Le, University of Nebraska–Lincoln – Beyond Adjustment: A Phenomenological Study of High-Achieving International Students 
  • 2015: Matthew Ducatt, Texas Tech University – A Case Study on the Role of Employment in the College Union on Student Self-Efficacy Development 
  • 2014: Zane Reif, University of North Texas – Building Community through Physical Space: A Visual Ethnography of College Union Utilization by Community College Transfer Students 
  • 2012: Kerry Hodak, The Ohio State University – Campus Engagement for Graduate and Professional Students