Southern Utah University’s Dr. Jacqualine Grant received a first-of-its-kind release time award from iUTAH (innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-sustainability). Much like a sabbatical, Grant will use this break from campus duties to develop proposals with colleagues in the Intermountain West.
Grant is an assistant professor of biology, director of the Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History, and a conservation biologist. Her work focuses on green infrastructure and organismal biology related to insects, mammals, and amphibians.
Professors in higher education involve themselves and their students in current science research, but time, resources and funding constraints limit how much and how often research can occur. To foster research opportunities at primarily undergraduate institutions like Southern Utah University, iUTAH developed a new program for faculty, designed to facilitate research programs throughout the state.
“I am very grateful to have received this award from iUTAH,” said Grant. The course release time has facilitated proposal development with SUU colleague Dr. Matt Ogburn, collaborators at the Society for Conservation Biology, and researchers at the University of Utah and Northern Arizona University. “Our goal is to advance science related to water conservation and green infrastructure; and to increase undergraduate participation in authentic research experiences.”
Because of the release time award from iUTAH, one of Grant's proposals has already received funding from the Bureau of Land Management’s Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program. This grant will fund the hiring of two SUU students to work on green infrastructure research and seed diversity projects alongside Grant and Ogburn.
In five years, Research Catalyst Grants (RCG) have received more than $300,000 in funding from iUTAH. Grant has previously received funding from iUTAH to work on green infrastructure as a water-saving practice. The green roof exhibit demonstration, which was developed to insulate buildings and promote stormwater conservation, and associated outreach has reached over 1,800 faculty, undergraduates, and students K-12 since its installation in 2015.
“As a former faculty member myself, I understand the unique pressures and limitations that come with undergraduate research,” said Andy Leidolf, assistant director of iUTAH. “It is tremendously rewarding to provide needed support to leverage the ample talent and enthusiasm for research that exists at these institutions on behalf of our statewide research enterprise.”
As Director of the Frehner Museum, Grant is involved in collections management. She also collaborates with the Southern Utah Museum of Art to bring STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) educational programming to thousands of K-12 students throughout southern Utah.
As an educator, museum professional and conservation biologist, Grant aims to educate students at SUU and in the Iron County K-12 system, and members of the general public. She also performs natural history research and enjoys helping undergraduate students develop their research skills.