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Center Related Activities

1) Facilitate interdisciplinary communication and the sharing of ideas. The first task of the Center will be to facilitate interdisciplinary communication and the sharing of ideas between faculty members, local practitioners, and policy-makers on topics related to violence and violence prevention. This goal will be accomplished via general meetings, sub-committee meetings, email list-serves, and a website. First, a schedule of once-a-month Center meetings will be developed. (see Table 1)

2) Develop a mentoring/training program for UIC students, post-docs, and new faculty. The second aim of the Center will be to engage in capacity building in the Chicago violence research community. The Center will develop activities that focus on training the next generation of scholars in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to understanding violence and increasing the involvement of individuals from underrepresented groups in scholarship on violence.

In order to facilitate the development of a collaborative multidisciplinary training program, in the first year the Center members will focusing on accomplishing six tasks:

1) Developing the mission and core values of a multidisciplinary training program.
2) Designing specific components of the training program.
3) Developing a recruiting and retention plan.
4) Identifying an organizational and management structure.
5) Implementing a performance assessment plan.
6) Identifying and seeking out external sources of funds for a pre and post-doctoral training program.

An NIMH Research Education Grant (R25; PAR-05-153) is one funding mechanism that will be considered for a possible training grant. Training activities will be piloted with the Center’s research assistants, new faculty, and other interested UIC students, and their input will help shape the Center’s application for a federal training grant. The mentoring/training sub-committee will regularly report its progress during the business portion of the Center’s monthly meetings.

3) Develop interdisciplinary coursework. In the first year of funding, the Center will develop an Interdepartmental Graduate Concentration in Violence Studies to be implemented in Year 2. Across campus, UIC faculty are conducting research and teaching on a variety of topics related to violence. This concentration will provide graduate students with an opportunity to explore violence through different paradigms and disciplinary lenses. The concentration will require 16 credit hours (similar to other concentrations in the college of Liberal arts and Sciences) chosen from any courses related to dimensions of violence offered in any of the participating colleges and departments with permission of the instructor and the Violence Studies graduate student advisor. In addition, Center investigators will co-teach an interdisciplinary seminar on violence. This seminar will examine representations of violence in media, film, and literature; global and domestic dimensions of violence; the impact of violence on health and disability; formal and informal responses to violence; and the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and violence. A ‘coursework’ sub-committee will develop the Interdepartmental Graduate Concentration in Violence Studies and will organize and facilitate the graduate/undergraduate seminar on violence. This coursework sub-committee will report on progress during the business portion of Center monthly meetings.

4) Synthesize Existing UIC Data on Violence. As a group, the thirteen UIC investigators and affiliated faculty have made major contributions to understanding the etiology, effects, prevention, and treatment of violence. One aim of our Center will be to gather and synthesize existing datasets of UIC violence researchers. In order to facilitate the synthesis of existing data, each investigator will complete a description of each of their existing datasets that are relevant to violence.
The description will include the following items:
1. Research questions, hypotheses, or issues explored.
2. Time period of research.
3. Funding source.
4. Current status of research.
5. Publications and conference presentation of data (if any).
6. Overall sample description.
7. Sample size.
8. Subject demographics.
9. Data collection methods.
10. Measure(s) and descriptive statistics or narrative on the variables of interest.

5) Develop strategies to overcome obstacles to interdisciplinary collaboration on campus. This proposal has the endorsement of relevant Deans, Department Heads, and Center Directors, as indicated in the attached letters of support. These administrators are endorsing the concept and expressing their willingness to provide support “as needed” for this interdisciplinary violence center. Creating an infrastructure and set of policies that is suitable to all parties will take time. Indeed, an important task during the first year is to solidify and refine these agreements with each unit and college to ensure that we are prepared to submit multi-unit research proposals. During the first year, some units and colleges have agreed to provide specific types of support to ensure that the Center is on solid footing. For example, the Office of Social Science Research (in LAS) has agreed to provide all accounting and human resource services, as well as space for meetings in the Behavioral Sciences Building and computer support services. The Center for Research in Law and Justice (LAS) has agreed to provide technical assistance on IRB issues for adult and minor subjects involved with or under the supervision of, the criminal justice system. The Department of Occupational Therapy will provide technical assistance on conducting research with persons with disabilities.

6) Develop interdisciplinary proposals for external funding. The final, and ultimately most vital, aspect of the Center will be to submit at least 2-3 interdisciplinary research and/or training grant proposals to external private and government funding sources such as OJJDP, CDC, NIMH, NIDRR, etc. each year. The model for this plan will be based on the Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1999-2002). The CORE experience provided an international virtual community to 20 faculty members for the purpose of developing independent programs of outcomes research. The CORE project generated over $15 million in grant proposals yielding 30 funded grants for a total of over $10.7 million in funding received (Helfrich, Finalyson & Lysack, 2005). This Center will use a similar model to facilitate proposal development that bridges interdisciplinary perspectives to enrich what each faculty member has to offer on their own.


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