Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer content

The Ames Library Scholarly and Artistic Research Award

“Undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry is fundamentally a pedagogical approach to teaching and learning. With an emphasis on process, CUR defines undergraduate research as: A mentored investigation or creative inquiry conducted by undergraduates that seeks to make a scholarly or artistic contribution to knowledge.” 
                                                                                           Council for Undergraduate Research, 2021


The Ames Library Scholarly and Artistic Research Award provides a funding opportunity for an IWU student, under the supervision of a faculty sponsor, to propose an exploratory research or creative project in their specific fields of study. This award is a mark of distinction for a student who is looking to delve more deeply into a topic of interest, or for a student who is seeking support to take a project to the next level. Funding for this award began with a generous donation from past University Librarian, Professor Karen Schmidt.

The goal of the award is two-fold:

  • to increase opportunities for student learning, information literacy​, and critical thinking​ skills through the creation of knowledge; 
  • to foster outstanding information literacy skills through the extensive and sophisticated use of the library services, resources and collections (done in consultation with a liaison librarian​.)

One $500 award for an individual student per academic year is available. This cash award is unrestricted. The student who is selected may use the award monies as a stipend or for travel or project materials as needed.

This award program is open to students in all academic disciplines; all forms of undergraduate research and artistic activities are eligible for support, including those that receive academic credit.  Students must have achieved sophomore or junior standing at the time they apply for the​ award; senior students graduating in May of the application year are not eligible to apply.

The student who is selected to receive this award must complete their proposed project before the end of the following academic year in which the award is presented. The student must identify a faculty sponsor who will supervise the project and help the student assess and refine the proposal. The submitted application is expected to be the work of the student. ​The student who is selected will be expected to consult with their library liaison over the course of the project, and share either their completed project and/or a summary of how the grant had an impact on their intellectual/creative development via Digital Commons @ IWU after completion. 

Selection of this annual award is determined by members of the Library Advisory Committee. The rubric used to assess the proposals include the following criteria:

  • A well-defined and clearly described research or creative idea;
  • A clear statement that speaks directly to the goals of this award, with clear example(s) of how the applicant will use and integrate scholarly or artistic collections (e.g., archives, museums, databases, journals, data, images, musical works, etc.) during the development of the project;
  • A description of the significance of the project to the student’s development as a researcher or creator;
  • A description of the relationship of the work to the student’s field of study; and,
  • A well developed, feasible timeline that indicates the project will be completed by the end of the following academic year.
  • Proposals should be clearly organized using the headings below, and written for a non-specialist audience. 

The faculty recommendation letter should include an assessment of the student's research question or creative idea, and provide a descriptive summary of how the student will be supported during the summer. 

To apply:

The deadline for the student application is Monday, March 6, 2023 by 11:59 pm; faculty letters are due Friday, March 10, 2023 by 11:59 pm. A completed application packet will provide the following documentation:

  • Application Cover sheet
  • Project proposal (no more than 4 pages, 12 point font, double spaced, 1” margins) Please use the following headings to organize your proposal: Introduction, Methods, Significance and Relationship to the Field of Study, and Timeline.
  • Letter from supervising faculty member, which may be sent independent of the student application, addressing the impact of the research or creative endeavor on the student’s educational experience and the discipline.

Student applications and faculty letters should be sent as .pdf files to Stephanie Davis-Kahl, University Librarian, ​​ using "Ames Library Scholarly & Artistic Research Award" in the subject line of the email.

Incomplete applications will not be evaluated. The selected project will be announced at the end of spring semester.

Questions may be directed to Stephanie Davis-Kahl: (309) 556-3010, ​