Central State University faculty and staff set a new school record in sponsored research and external funding by garnering $26.7 million during the 2020-21 fiscal year. 

CSU beat the previous record of $21 million achieved in fiscal year 2019-20 and continues the university’s rapid growth in annual sponsored research funding. Central State’s external funding has increased by over 114% over the last four years from $12. 5 million in 17/18 to $26.7 million in 20/21. The record-breaking total does not include any CARES Act funding awarded to universities in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The sustained growth demonstrates the persistence and excellence of CSU faculty and staff as we strive to achieve our manifesto that Innovation is in our DNA,” said CSU President Jack Thomas. The record-breaking achievement complements the presidential priority to continue to meet and enhance CSU’s 1890 Land-Grant mission of generating knowledge through research and sharing it with the community through extension services according to Dr. Thomas. 

“Research and other externally funded activities greatly impact CSU’s ability to meet other presidential priorities,” says Dr. F. Erik Brooks, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  “Projects funded will help increase enrollment, improve retention and graduation rates, develop an Honors College to recruit high-achieving students, increase degree offerings, offer graduate studies, and provide flexibility in course delivery.”

“A robust research environment facilitates scholarly inquiries by faculty, staff and students,” says Dr. Morakinyo A.O. Kuti, Associate Provost for Research.  “The pursuit of knowledge is critical to the university’s core value of Academic Excellence.” CSU is especially proud of the faculty efforts to seek additional resources to promote student learning outside of the classroom. The experiential learning opportunities are vital  for our students’ development and future careers says Dr. Kuti. 

Major projects funded this year include the following:

$1.3 million contract from the Food and Drug Administration for the project, “Characterization of Chemical Constituents from Smokable Hemp Flower and E-cigarettes,” led by Craig Schluttenhofer Ph.D., and Brandy Phipps Ph.D. in the College of Engineering, Science, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA). The purpose of the contract is to evaluate the chemistry of hemp cigarettes and vape products.

Approximately, $1 million from U.S. Department of Agriculture, for the “1890 Scholarship Program at CSU under the direction of Michelle Corley, Ph.D., Dean of CESTA and Director of 1890 Land-Grant Programs with Dr. Ibrahim Katampe as the Co-PD. The overall goal is to recruit and matriculate underrepresented minority students (URM) in the Food Agricultural, Natural Resources and other AGRI-STEM fields to CESTA at CSU, to ultimately pipeline an increased number of URM graduates to fuel the AGRI-STEM Workforce.

$600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the “Marauder Agricultural Scholarship Program” (MASP)-Workforce Development for the US Agriculture Industry. According to Dr. Saima Bashir, the project director, the project aims to enhance the labor force participation in the U.S. agricultural industry through education, regardless of students’ fields of specializations, and through research that allow to grasp causes of misconception about agricultural jobs, and then provide narratives that will increase the awareness of students and families on the nobleness of agriculture. 

$600,000 “Integrated Instrumental System for Research and Education in Analytical Chemistry”' award funded by U.S. Department of Defense. The project is led by Leanne Petry Ph.D., and Suzanne Seleem Ph.D. (CESTA), with the aim to better prepare students and cadets to address a variety of discipline specific problems in a technologically oriented world.

$500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Interior to implement the conversion of the Historical Power Plant to the “Frank Murphy Student Success Center”. The objective of the national program is to repair historic structures on campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places,” says Mr. Milt Thompson. CSU intends to use the building to enhance student success.

$443,483 U.S. Department of Education “TRIO Student Support Services” for year one of a five-year grant. CSU was the only HBCU awarded in Ohio. The project is designed to increase retention and graduation rates of participating students.  According to the project director, Mr. Mortenous A. Johnson, “we [TRIO Student Support Services] have a success formula: provide intentional co-curricular services, support instructional methods, and encourage participants to explore, welcome research, and execute their growth plans.” 

The Upward Bound Program is a $312,480 program award from the U.S. Department of Education. Mr. John Anene, the project director says the Upward Bound program aims to generate academic skills that will facilitate participants completion of high school, gain admission to and success in a program of postsecondary education.

$306,343 award funded by National Science Foundation, “Excellence in Research:  Yakubovsky Calculations for Six-Nuclear Bound,” under the direction of Mohammadreza Hadizadeh Ph.D. (CESTA). The project aims to study the properties of six-nucleon bound states (atomic number A = 6 in Yakubovsky scheme).

$250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to “Investigate the Biotic and Abiotic Stresses in Honeybees and Pollinators”. Hongmei Li-Byarlay Ph.D. (CESTA), the principal investigator says “the project will facilitate training of CSU and Ohio State University students by the best researchers on pollinator biology, opportunities for cutting-edge researcher tools and topics so they can enter sustainable agriculture careers and gain growth opportunities for a future in the sustainable agriculture and agricultural economy.”

$250,000 “Creating Excellence in Agriculture Workforce” scholarship program under the direction of Dr. Morakinyo Kuti. The goal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded project is to increase underrepresented individuals to meet the future workforce needs for Natural Resources Conservation Services and throughout USDA. 

$249,875 project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, “Improving Mathematics Instruction for STEAM Students.” Bhupendra Paudyal, Ph.D. (CESTA) says “the project will use innovative strategies that have the potential to lead to significant and wide-reaching improvements in the delivery of educational services and tangible educational benefits to students.”

About Central State University:
Central State University, located in Wilberforce, Ohio, is a regionally accredited 1890 Land-Grant University with a 134-year tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research, and service. The University, which has been named HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest, fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a strong liberal arts foundation and STEM-Ag curriculum leading to professional careers and advanced studies globally.

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