University of Maryland

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Research Interest Groups

Expectations, Processes, and Support

Faculty members in the College are invited to propose interest groups focused on an emerging or critical topic. Interest groups may have an education or outreach aspect, but research and scholarship is expected to be the primary focus of their efforts. Interest groups should involve 5 or more faculty members, at least 2 of whom are full-time with a primary appointment in iSchool and at least 1 of whom is an iSchool affiliate faculty member or non-iSchool faculty inside or outside of UMD.


  • Foster significant interactions and community within the College, UMD, and beyond [1]
  • Catalyze collaborative research, develop proposals, and publish work on critical topics [2]
  • Establish presence in critical research areas within the University and beyond [3]

Interest Groups

  • Proposed by faculty
  • Focused on an emerging or critical topic
  • Research and scholarship is the primary purpose
  • Involves 5 or more faculty members
    • AT LEAST 2 full-time with a primary appointment in the iSchool
    • AT LEAST 1 an iSchool affiliate faculty member or non-iSchool faculty.


  • Regular group meetings and collaborative activities
    • Paper development workshops
    • Practice talks
    • Work-in-progress presentations and discussions
  • 3+ Collaborative projects
    • Developing collaborative funding proposals
    • Co-authoring research papers
    • Joint development of graduate or undergraduate courses
  • 4+ Public events/year
    • Formal presentation of research and scholarship
    • Topical workshops and seminars
    • Planning/research agenda-setting workshops
  • Up-to-date web presence/mailing list/social media

iSchool will provide:

To support the formation and operation of interest groups, the College will provide:

  • Up to $5k/year for expenses
  • Up to 5 hrs/week of admin support
  • IT infrastructure for web and social media presence

This support is in addition to the general business and research support provided by the College for all full-time faculty.  Receiving this support does not preclude groups from making special proposals and requests for additional funding to pursue exceptional opportunities and activities.

Request to Establish

To form an interest group, faculty submit a Request to Establish that describes:

  • Name of group and of the contact person
  • Purpose/focus of the group and how it would support the College’s mission
  • Who is involved and their roles/responsibilities (vis-a-vis meetings, events, and projects)
  • Regular meetings planned, their frequency and purpose
  • Collaborative projects to be undertaken
  • Events planned
  • Proposed budget, staffing needs, and potential funding sources

Submission Process for Interest Groups

Each year, existing interest groups will be expected to submit an Annual Report including:

  • Name of group and of contact person 
  • Purpose/focus of group and how it has supported the College’s mission
  • Who has been involved over the past year, their roles/responsibilities (including staff support) 
  • Regular meetings (number held, attendance, outcomes)
  • Status of projects
  • Public events held (description and attendance) 
  • Financial summary: expenditures and funding sources


Existing interest groups can submit a Request for Continued Operations that covers the same topics as the annual report with a focus on anticipated changes, plans for the coming year, and a brief explanation of the rationale for these changes.

Requests for continued operations and funding will be assessed based on:

  • Importance and relevance of topic to the iSchool
  • Successful group meetings (regular occurrence, sufficient attendance, and positive outcomes — examples: research agenda setting, discovery discussions, project/proposal initiation, etc.)
  • Progress on identified projects and proposal of new projects (proposals submitted/ received, publications submitted/ accepted, etc.) 
  • Successful completion of public events (execution and demonstrated non-member participation)
  • Up-to-date web and communication presence (review of content + activity)
  • Effective use of resources

Requests to establish or continue an interest group will be reviewed by a committee chaired by the Senior Associate Dean, including the Associate Dean for Research, Assistant Dean for Academic Programs, and a Faculty College Advisory Committee (CAC) Member (selected each year by the CAC Chair).  The review committee will assess requests based on the criteria described above and make recommendations to the Dean regarding new and continued funding and provide feedback for Interest Groups on their progress and proposed activities.

If there are any questions, please contact the Research Team.

NEXT DEADLINE: January 15, 2022