The newly-expanded Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Administration hosted an inaugural awards reception Thursday, April 26, to honor faculty members awarded the highest levels of sponsored research grants.

Held in the new Faculty Athenaeum in Argyros Forum, the reception was a kickoff event for the sponsored programs office, formerly called the Office of Sponsored Research, and an opportunity to acquaint faculty with the enhanced resources available to them, said Yolanda Uzzell, the office’s new director. While only a few faculty members received special honors, those who had applied for grants or sponsored research were included in the reception to acknowledge their efforts in seeking external support or grants. Staff and administrators involved in supporting that work were also included.

“We really want to make it easier for faculty to apply for funding. We want to encourage them to apply for grants,” said Uzzell, who came to Chapman in August from Loyola Marymount University, where she was director of its office of research. “Our office will help find grants, craft proposals, edit and work with legal. We’re essentially here as a resource.”

In addition to streamlining the process of pursuing grants, Uzzell said she and her staff are pursuing opportunities for more grants in the arts and other creative or programmatic awards.

Chancellor Daniele Struppa described the reorganized office as a vital link in the expansion of the university’s research tradition and an “important part of our evolution.”

To highlight successful research awards, the research office recognized this year’s “Million Dollar Club” faculty, scholars who have reached a cumulative $1 million level of sponsored funding in the previous year. Traditionally, those honors have been presented at the Faculty Honors Convocation.

The inductees honored at the reception were Marisa S. Cianciarulo, professor, School of Law; Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., dean of the Schmid College of Science and Technology; Kyndra Rotunda, associate professor and executive director of the Institute for Military Personnel, Veterans, Human Rights & International Law & AMVETS Legal Clinic; and Jeff Tollaksen, Ph.D., director of the Center of Excellence in Quantum Studies at Schmid.

In addition, to underscore the university’s mission to promote research, scholarship, the teacher-scholar model and global citizenship, four new awards were introduced and presented. The recipients: Jason Keller, Ph.D., Schmid College, Young Investigator Award; Chris Kim, Ph.D., Schmid College, Faculty-Student Research Award; Pilar Valenzuela, Ph.D., Global Engagement Award; and Bart Wilson, Ph.D., Innovative Research Award.