Diane Filion Center for
Advancing Faculty Excellence


Supporting Our Academic Researchers, or SOAR, seeks to give faculty a scholarly boost. Programs include faculty mentoring faculty, support for applying for large grant opportunities, cohorted networks of interdisciplinary faculty, and pre-submission proposal review.


In collaboration with CAFE Research and Creativity pillar, Office of Research Development (ORD) will direct UMKC’s professional learning for researchers, Supporting Our Academic Researchers, or SOAR.
SOAR is based on the University of Utah CATS program, which is a matrix mentoring model, or a holistic framework that includes five (5) levels of mentorship. Each level is designed to be synergistic and to create supportive environments for empowered principal investigators. CATS was designed to retain faculty mentors at academic health centers and has had strong results. Of the 86 program participants, 92% received extramural awards, 99% remain in academic medicine, and 95% remain at University of Utah. CATS has also experienced success with increasing inclusion of women and underrepresented minorities. ORD and CAFE Research and Creativity adapted this model for SOAR.

Faculty Writing Initiative. For faculty wanting dedicated time and space to write, the Faculty Writing Initiative convenes faculty to write independently, together. FWI is designed to support faculty in achieving their academic and creative goals through work on writing projects of any kind—including grant proposals and research articles. Faculty across all ranks, including non-tenure track, participate either fall or spring semester. Apply: https://redcap.link/fwi

Art of Grantsmanship. As the entry point for SOAR, Art of Grantsmanship is an eight (8) week, asynchronous course that focuses on all aspects of grants from locating requests for proposals to theories of change to writing engaging proposals offered each fall. Through an asynchronous Canvas course, faculty spend one hour each week connecting with each other, reading articles, trying resources, and watching videos of experienced scholars – here at UMKC and nationally. Faculty participating in AOG will be invited in October to submit a four (4) page proposal for a spring 2023 small grant or course release of up to $4,000. Faculty in the Large-Scale Grant Development Workshop provide individual feedback to each proposal and select the ten to be awarded. Apply: https://redcap.link/artofgrants

Large-scale Interdisciplinary Grant Proposal Development Workshop. As level two of SOAR, the Large-scale Grant Proposal Development Workshop is an 8-week practical grant proposal development workshop offered each fall. This workshop is exclusively open to faculty or researchers who have experience getting federal funding but want to build a larger team for a more significant societal issue. Faculty apply as teams or groups, and each team/group selected receives $4,000 as a course buyout for the PI or a seed grant for the team during spring semester.

Grant Proposal Workshops. This spring workshop series combines faculty from Art of Grantsmanship and Large-scale Proposal Development to share progress on their proposed work and receive structured feedback from their colleagues. It is designed to support momentum toward successful proposal submission. Grant Proposal Workshops last eight weeks and two faculty teams or groups present at each meeting.

Faculty Grant Mentors. As the third level of SOAR, faculty with grant experience mentor their faculty colleagues pursuing a grant in the same or related competition. Each faculty grant mentor receives a stipend of $500 to meet with faculty at least four times and review and make suggestions on project description narrative at least once.

Proposal Review Panelists. As part of the third level of SOAR, faculty assist with ad hoc grant proposal reviews with the goal of supporting highly competitive grant proposals. Each review panelist is compensated. Faculty interested in serving as internal proposal reviewers contact Alexis Petri by email petria@umkc.edu 


Source: Byington, C. L., Keenan, H., Phillips, J. D., Childs, R., Wachs, E., Berzins, M. A., ... & Clark, E. B. (2016). A matrix mentoring model that effectively supports clinical and translational scientists and increases inclusion in biomedical research: lessons from the University of Utah. Academic Medicine91(4), 497.