Prajna Dhar Awarded New Grant Aimed at Promoting Inclusive Teaching and Research Practices


Mindie Paget, Office of Research

Professor Prajna Dhar and her collaborator, Meagan Patterson, were one of 10 projects selected for the inaugural round of KU Racial Equity Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Awards. The winning project teams — representing 12 departments across the university — were chosen through a peer-reviewed competition co-sponsored by the Office of Research and the Hall Center for the Humanities. They will receive up to $20,000 to support their work.  

“As a major research university committed to diversity, inclusion and racial equity, KU must advance that commitment, in part, through its research mission,” said Richard Godbeer, director of the Hall Center. “We believe in the power of research, scholarship and creative activity to bring about change. Our objective is to foster progress toward racial equity through a combination of research, dialogue and action.” 

Recipients will come together in 2022 for a series of workshops hosted by the Hall Center to exchange ideas and provide feedback on each other’s projects as they progress. 

About the project, the title is Promoting Retention for Underrepresented Engineering Graduate Students Through Inclusive Teaching and Research Lab Practices  

Co-authors are Prajna Dhar, professor of chemical & petroleum engineering & Meagan Patterson, professor of educational psychology 

Dhar and Patterson will develop a pilot program to foster inclusive research and teaching practices within KU’s chemical and petroleum engineering graduate program. The researchers report that retention programs at the graduate level are limited and have focused primarily on supports outside of the classroom. In addition to incorporating inclusive teaching practices in select core graduate courses and offering workshops for graduate teaching assistants, instructors and lab investigators, the program will collect data from students about barriers and supports that will inform the development of a proposal to the National Science Foundation’s Innovations in Graduate Education program.  

To read the full article and more about all awarded projects for this initiative, visit the KU Today News writeup.