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Faculty Grants

MRISJ Faculty Mini-Grants

The Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice annually awards MRISJ Faculty Mini-Grants to Bridgewater State University faculty members, both full and part-time, who are selected through an application process.

Priority is given to projects focused on social justice, racial justice, community engagement projects that strengthen the University’s involvement with local communities, and interdisciplinary projects among faculty, staff and students.

Previous MRISJ Faculty Mini-Grants have supported:


Research grants help faculty to develop, initiate, or complete a scholarly project that advances social justice or social innovation, or builds knowledge and skills needed to advance social justice or social innovation.


Re-developing a course or workshop, developing a new course, incorporation or development of social justice pedagogies or tools in existing courses.

Community-Engaged Projects

Advocacy/activism campaigns, organizing work, community development projects, capacity building projects, and other social justice and/or racial justice projects.

Departmental Learning

A book club, internal departmental institute, or combination thereof, with learning outcomes related to social justice. Funds can be used to purchase books or other related learning materials and Additional Compensation for participating faculty members.

Resource Acquisition

Subscriptions, conference registrations, memberships, trainings, licenses, speaker or screening fees, books, supplies, equipment, and/or transportation for social justice or social innovation activity. 

For more information about the Mini-Grants, contact us at

Summer 2023 Grant Projects

Develop Special Topics in Psychology Course 'The Atlanta Shooting'

Dr. Alice Cheng (Psychology) will develop a new course, Special Topics in Psychology: The Atlanta Shooting (PSYC 350) which will provide an intersectional approach to understanding of how race functions in the United States. 

Lead Departmental Summer Institute on Inclusive Classroom Dynamics

Dr. Ashley Hansen-Brown (Psychology) will lead 12 faculty members in the Psychology department in reading and participating in a single-day book club institute in August 2023 for the book Promoting Inclusive Classroom Dynamics in Higher Education: A Research-Based Pedagogical Guide for Faculty.

Develop Honors Seminar on Lived Experiences of Immigrants 

Dr. Anne Hird and Dr. Sarah Thomas (Secondary Education and Educational Leadership) will co-develop a new Honors Second Year Seminar focused on the lived experiences of immigrants in the Southeastern Massachusetts region.

Redesign Performance Studies Courses to Include Community Engagement

Dr. Deborah Nemko (Music) will purchase scores and modify MUSC 141, 241, 341, and 441 performance studies courses to include a community engagement component in which students perform solo and ensemble works by women of color for local organizations.

Review and Prepare Social Justice Resources for Photonics and Optical Engineering

Dr. Samuel Felipe Serna-Otalvaro (Physics, Photonics, and Optical Engineering) will review, collate, and prepare resources about racial justice, social justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that will be directly applicable to photonics and optical engineering courses. 

Develop First-Year 'Music of Black Americans' Course

Dr. John "Bebo" Shiu (Music) will create a new first-year course, Music of Black Americans, that will explore the intersections of systemic racism and social, economic, religious, political, and technological variables on the direction of American Popular Music.

Develop 'Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Multilingual Learners' Course 

Dr. Julia Stakhnevich (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) will develop a new course in Special Topics, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Multilingual Learners (TESL 560).

Develop Case Study for Youth Homelessness Course

Dr. Michelle Wakin (Sociology) will review policy, programs, and data related to LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth, and create a case study and assignment for the Youth Homelessness course.


Research and Design Module for 'Health Communication' Course

Dr. Hui Zhang (Communications Studies) will research and design a module for Health Communication (COMM 317) in which students will communicate and advocate to local government officials for a health issue concerning racial health disparities among Massachusetts residents.


Research on Impact of White Supremacy

Dr. Alice Cheng (Psychology) will conduct a research project on the impact of White supremacy on those who have internalized that ideology.

Research on Lighting and Camera Practices in Skin Tone Representation

Dr. Christina Hodel (Communication Studies) will conduct research to study different lighting and camera practices to better represent the unique characteristics and qualities of a range of skin tones and film color charts illustrating 110 human skin tones for three different types of cameras.


Research on Study Tour Participants Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Pedagogy

Dr. Emily Spitzman (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Dr. Sarah Thomas (Secondary Education and Educational Leadership) will conduct a research project to analyze data from their week-long study tour to the Dominican Republic, prepare a paper about the results on participants' culturally sustaining and anti-bias/anti-racist pedagogy, and submit to peer-reviewed journals.


Complete Literature Review to the Effectiveness of DEI Trainings

Dr. Melissa Winchell will complete a literature review related to the effectiveness of diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings, and draft it for submission to peer-reviewed journals.

Community Recital of Works by Underrepresented Composers

Dr. Spencer Aston (Music) will hold a community recital of works by underrepresented composers to be held in either Brockton or Attleboro. It may include composers of color, female composers or composers representing the LGBTQ communities. A piece by Pakistani/American composer Omar Naimi for trumpet, voice, and piano will receive its world premiere at this program.

Develop Restorative Writing and Healing Circle

Sasha Link (English) will develop a Restorative Writing and Healing Circle for participants in the Adult & Teen Challenge in Brockton. Ms. Link will serve as a writing coach for an emotional wellness group program in which attendees will practice the art of restorative writing using writing prompts, activities, walks in nature and the art of retrospection.

Develop and Direct Performances of You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey

Dr. Lisa Troy (Theater) will develop and direct performances of the Bridgewater One Book One Community's selected book, You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey - Crazy Stories About Racism, including at the Town of Bridgewater's Juneteenth celebration.

Purchase Professional Resources Outlining Updates Professional Standards

Dr. Karen Aicher (Communications Studies and Disorders) will purchase two professional resources outlining updated professional standards for cultural competence, cultural humility, culturally responsive practice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion for use in Clinical Procedures in Communications Sciences and Disorders.

Purchase Children's Books on Social Emotional Learning in Elementary School

Dr. Gia Renaud (Elementary and Early Childhood Education) will purchase children's books for use in courses on Social Emotional Learning in Elementary School (ELED 360 & ELED 560)

Previous Grant Projects

Teaching Projects

Redesign 'Visual Strategies for Digital Media' Course

Dr. Jessica Birthisel (Communication Studies) will redesign “Visual Strategies for Digital Media (COMM 137),” part of the new Digital Media Minor, to include a unit on “art, digital media, and activism” and other skills that can be used to advance social justice causes.

Develop Core Curriculum Course on Human Rights

Dr. Emily Brissette (Criminal Justice) will finalize the development of a course (tentatively entitled “Violence, Inequality, and Human Rights’) on human rights to be added to the Core Curriculum and offered as an elective within the Criminal Justice major, which would introduce students to the concept of human rights, the forms of violence, oppression, or deprivation they are meant to protect against, and explore how social movements and civil society groups have used the framework and language of human rights to agitate for social change.  

Develop Semester-Long Travel Course 'The Civil Rights Movement: A Historic Tour'

Dr. Maggie Lowe (History) will develop a new semester-long domestic travel study course, “The Civil Rights Movement: A Historic Tour,” in which students will consider their civic responsibility regarding ongoing debates about how best to represent the history of systemic racism as well as campaigns for social justice in the public square. 

Redesign 'American Popular Music' to Include Racial Justice Project

Dr. Deborah Nemko (Music) will redesign “American Popular Music (MUSC 168)” to include a national virtual exchange and team-teaching of a project on racial justice in American popular music with music faculty from Eastern Los Angeles Community College. 

Redesign 'Introduction to Cultural Anthropology' Course

Dr. Lara Watkins (Anthropology) will redesign “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 100)” with a goal of strengthening civic engagement and global citizenship for students, while implementing methods fundamentally based upon racial justice, including open educational resources and virtual exchange. 

Develop Sociology Elective Course on Youth Homelessness

Dr. Michele Wakin (Sociology) will develop a new elective course on youth homelessness, to be offered as an elective in Sociology and to support the Urban and Education concentrations. 

Participate in Departmental Summer Institute on Course Design and Development

The MRISJ will support additional compensation for six faculty in the Psychology Department to participate in a three-day departmental summer institute in which participants will discuss how participants already build cultural psychology and social justice into their courses, brainstorm new ideas, and revise their courses.  This grant was awarded to Dr. Nesa Wasarhaley and Dr. Ashley Hansen-Brown (Psychology).

Redesign 'Assessment & Planning' Course to Align with Social Justice Learning Outcome

Dr. Melissa Winchell (Secondary Education and Educational Leadership) will redesign “Assessment & Planning (EDHM 335),” an upper-level course in the undergraduate secondary education major, to align it with the Department’s major’s new student learning outcome on social justice. 


Research Projects

Research on Challenges of First-Generation College Students
Dr. Ashley Hansen-Brown (Psychology) will conduct research on the challenges faced by first-generation college students.  
Research on Korean Migrant Women and Their Struggles for Survival
Dr. Jonghyun Lee (Social Work) will conduct research on historical and feminist analyses of the life circumstances that forced Korean migrant women in Manchukuo into sex work and their struggles for survival using theories of migration and intersectionality.


Research Public Opinion of Criminal Records in Hiring

Dr. Luzi Shi (Criminal Justice) received funding for participant incentives for online public opinion research about hiring people with criminal records. 


Community-Engaged Projects


Survey Identifying Education Opportunities Sought by Seniors 

Dr. Margaret Johnsson (Management and Marketing) will work with the Attleboro Senior Center to conduct a survey of the population of persons ages 60+ to determine specific education opportunities sought by this population. 

Increase Participation by Brockton Youth in 'The Kids Road Races'

Dr. Chrissy Semler (Counselor Education) will lead a community-engaged project to increase participation by Brockton youth in “The Kids Road Races" series by raising awareness of the races, teaching mental skills for running to youth, and holding a sport parent workshop. 

Develop Sustainable Community Development Tool

Dr. Yongjun Shin (Communication Studies), Dr. Boah Kim (Geography), and Dr. Melinda Tarsi (Political Science) will collaborate on an interdisciplinary, community-engaged project to develop a sustainable community development tool for the Town of Bridgewater. 

Teaching Projects

Developed ‘Intermediate Spanish for Elementary Education’ Course 

Alba Aragon (Global Languages and Literatures) reviewed, acquired, and adapted materials to finalize the syllabus for a new course LASP 171, Intermediate Spanish for Elementary Education. 

Expanded Inclusivity in Performance Studies Curriculum 

Spencer Aston (Music) updated four Performance Studies Courses to include works by under-represented composers of color and female composers. 

Created New Course on Income Equality 

Brian Frederick (Political Science) created a new course on class and income inequality in American politics.

Converted Special Topics Course to Second Year Seminar 

Bjorn Ingvoldstad (Communication Studies) converted a new 400-level Special Topics Course on Spike Lee to a Second Year Seminar that will be offered regularly.

Redesigned Student Affairs Counseling Course to Include Racial and Social Justice Pedagogy 

Peggy Jablonski (Student Affairs Counseling) redesigned the syllabus and content for the graduate-level Introduction to Student Affairs Counseling course to include a racial/social justice pedagogy. 

Developed new Introduction to African American History Course 

Maggie Lowe (History) developed a new course, HIST 251, Introduction to African American History, which will be offered for the first time in Fall 2021. 

Decentered Whiteness in Cultural Psychology Course 

Meghan McCoy (Psychology) updated PSYC 230 (Cultural Psychology) to decenter whiteness in the course content by including resources written by people of color.

Highlighted Racial Justice Through Dance 

Tina Mullone (Dance) created an original filmed performance about racial justice called “The Original Sin,” one act of which features the statue of Martin. The performance was highlighted in the BSU Dance Department’s Dance Kaleidoscope 2021 and was the focus of a BSU Juneteenth event. 


Community-Engaged Projects

Aging, Action, and Social & Racial Justice Issues Series 

Karen Aicher (Communication Disorders) assisted with a three-part Zoom series on aging, action, and social/racial justice issues in Bridgewater, in conjunction with the Bridgewater Council on Aging/Senior Center and Bridgewater Communities for Civil Rights. The sessions were held on March 16 (43 attendees), March 30 (34 attendees) and April 14, 2021 (36 attendees). The talks were recorded and BSU’s Maxwell Library is making them available via the local archives.  

Spanish-Language Resources for People Experiencing Homelessness 

Francisco Alatorre (Criminal Justice) assisted with creating Spanish-language materials for a community organization to use to educate people experiencing homelessness about their services. 

New Community-Based Learning Psychology Course with Brockton Community Members 

Lizbeth Hoke (Psychology) developed a new ‘Special Topics in Psychology Course’ in collaboration with the Brockton Interfaith Community (BIC). The community-based learning course had a racial justice focus in Brockton and involved Brockton community members. 

New Community-Engaged Teaching and Scholarship Opportunity with Girls’ Inc in Taunton 

Maura Rosenthal and Angie Bailey (Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies) co-created a community-engaged teaching and scholarship (CETS) opportunity for MAHPLS students and faculty to be completed at Girls’ Inc. in Taunton, starting in Fall 2021. 

Redeveloping String Ensemble to Incorporate Works of Black Composer 

John Shiu (Music) redeveloped MUSC 183, String Ensemble, to incorporate, rehearse, research, and ultimately perform work(s) of a Black composer. Dr. Shiu posted a 17-minute description of the project here, which includes a performance and comments from ensemble members. 

New Honors Colloquium on Racial & Social Justice 

Jibril Solomon (Social Work) developed an honors colloquium seminar open to all students that will explore racial and social justice in local, national, and individual consciousness about racism and social injustice in current times. It will be offered in Fall 2021 and has full registration of 12 students. 

Redeveloped Course to Focus on Connections Between 19th and 21st Century Activism 

Renee Somers (English) redeveloped the course content for SYS ENG 299 “Fight the Power!” by adding and enriching focus on connections between 19th century and 21st century activism. 

Redeveloped Human Behavior in the Social Environment Course 

Pamela Szczygiel (Social Work) redeveloped SCWK 511, Human Behavior in the Social Environment II, for Spring 2022 to better reflect developmental processes and needs of those experiencing structural oppression.

Incorporated Racial Justice into ‘Philosophy of Food’ Course 

Catherine Womack (Philosophy) revised the existing Second Year Seminar, Philosophy of Food, to incorporate racial justice issues in every module of the course. 


Research Projects

Investigating Political Polarization as it Pertains to Criminal Justice and Policing 

Luzi Shi (Criminal Justice) conducted research is to investigate the extent of political polarization and the impact of such polarization in the context of criminal justice and policing based on theoretical frameworks on political/social identity and moral foundations theory. 


Other Faculty Projects

Presenting Work of Racial Justice Task Force at Diversity, Equity and Student Success Conference 

Diana Fox (Anthropology) presented on the work of the Curricula and Co-Curricula Subcommittee of the Racial Justice Task Force at the AAC&U Diversity, Equity, and Student Success conference in March 2021 and purchased books for a partnership with Kashmir University. 

Research Grants

Influence of the Model Minority Stereotype in the Diagnostic Accuracy of Alcohol Use Disorder in Asian Americans

Alice Cheng (Psychology) used a Research Grant to investigate the influence of the model minority stereotype in the diagnostic accuracy of alcohol use disorder in Asian Americans among licensed clinicians.

Literature Review of Psychology Interventions to Improve Outcomes for First-Generation College Students

Ashley Hansen-Brown (Psychology) used a Research Grant to write a literature review of existing research on interventions to improve outcomes for first-generation college students and collaborated with existing offices at BSU serving this population to explore how research interventions informed by the literature review might be used at BSU to improve retention for our students.

Completed a Book Proposal

Michele Meek (Communication Studies) used a Research Grant to complete her book proposal, “Juggling Wolves: Sexual Consent in Film and Media.”

Conducted Research on a Social Justice Paradigm Shift in Social Work Education and Practice

Jibril Solomon (Social Work) used a Research Grant to fund “Social Justice Knowledge and Application: A Paradigm Shift in Social Work Education and Practice,” his research project that explored how knowledge and application of social justice in social work have shifted over the past 25 years, and the potential implications for social work education, training, and practice.


Resource Acquisition Grants

Social Justice Books for Elementary Readers

Marlene Correia (Elementary and Early Childhood Education) used a Resource Acquisition Grant to purchase social justice books for teacher candidate students at Bridgewater State University to use with elementary readers in local schools.

“Unconscious Bias in Schools” Books for Faculty Reading Group

Laura Gross (Mathematics) and Castagna Lacet (Social Work) used a Resource Acquisition Grant to purchase copies of “Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism” for a faculty reading group via the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL), which was co-sponsored by the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice.

Books to Support Research on Social Equity

Seth Meyer (Political Science) used a Resource Acquisition Grant to purchase two books to support his current and future research on social equity in public administration, including a specific project on sexuality and social justice in Africa.


Teaching Grants

Added Social Justice Framework to Anthropology of Education Course

Diana Fox (Anthropology) used a Teaching Grant to reconfigure ANTH 304, Anthropology of Education, to be a 200-level course with social justice frameworks.

Redesigned Global Human Issues Course for the Proposed BSU Living and Learning Community “It Takes a Village”

Joshua Irizarry (Anthropology) used a Teaching Grant to redesign of ANTH 204, Global Human Issues, which was taught as a part of the proposed BSU Living and Learning Community, “It Takes a Village.”

Brought a Social Justice Perspective to Virology Course Relating to HIV, SARS, Ebola, and Coronavirus

Boriana Marintcheva (Biology) used a Teaching Grant to create materials for BIOL 450, Virology, which guided students to examine HIV, SARS, Ebola and ongoing Coronavirus outbreaks from the perspective of social justice taking into account that human health is a function of our physical, mental and social wellbeing of each individual.

Adding Social Justice Framework to Abnormal Psychology Course

Caroline Stanley (Psychology) used a Teaching Grant to re-develop her Abnormal Psychology course to include a social justice framework.

Contact Us

Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice

161 Summer Street
Bridgewater, MA 02325
United States