Grant writing class offered for students

This winter semester a two-credit grant writing course is being offered for students seeking a master’s or graduate degree at Northern Michigan University.

Grant Writing and Public Administration, PS 521, will meet every other week on Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 8:50 p.m. in Jamrich Hall. Though the class is being offered by the political science department, it is open to all students eligible for the course.

“For students who are going to be working for [the public sector], a lot of [their] funding will be reliant on external grants,” said Andrew Smentkowski, associate director of grants and research office.

Sally Davis-Campana, the adjunct professor who will be teaching the course, said that students look at a career within the public sector could use the skills of good proposal development.

“Good proposal writing is a skill that helps propel a person beyond the norm and into the innovative/achievement area,” Davis-Campana said. “This is noticed by upper administration and contributes positively to the role they play in an organization.”

Davis-Campana wrote grants for the Marquette General Health System for 27 years before retirement. Currently she has undertaken various contractual opportunities under the banner Sally Davis Consulting. She has brought over $14 million in grants to the health care system in the U.P.

Some of the fundamentals that a grant writer will need to know are a strong goal, objectives, activities, outcomes, an evaluation a budget, documentation of a need and the development of a solution to fit that need that matches funding agencies priorities, Davis-Campana said.

“The language [of a grant] has to be very precise and it has to make sense,” said Mackenzie Myers, a sophomore writing major.

Myers volunteered for an organization called Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, where she had the opportunity to review grants and decide which group would be funded.

“It takes skill and I hope that the NMU class can introduce that to those who want it,” Myers said.

The course will focus on practicality in a workshop environment. The students will be working on various components of a grant and the creativity that sets a proposal apart, Davis-Campana said.

“[Students will be] learning what a grant is [and] knowing the difference between a grant and a gift,” Smentkowski said.

A gift has fewer requirements; those giving the money do not have a lot of input with how the money is spent. Grants require specifics regarding how the money is spent.

“Students [will] develop a quick, low-budget grant for community foundations and a more complex foundation grant,” Davis-Campana said. “Both grants emphasize the skills that will be used in the development of a large federal grant.”

Students will also have the opportunity to write a grant for an organization, as a class project. But the emphasis will remain on the essential process that is indispensable for a variety of grants. A number of these projects have been submitted and funded to community foundations in the past, Davis-Campana said.

“I think that NMU should offer the course for all students,” said Carrie DeWolfe, a freshman biology major. “Students apply for grants and scholarships at all levels of their education.

“I think a (grant writing course) would expand my writing skills, and allow me to write a professional and heartfelt letter.”

There is still room available for students in the course for those who are qualified. To add the class contact Student Services at (906) 227-1221 or email Sally Davis-Campana at [email protected].