Monday, July 2, 2012

A New Grant Year - New Funding!!!!!!

A New Fiscal Year, A New Year of Grant Beginnings

Several of my friends and colleagues often assume that my work pace slows during the summer months and over the winter break.  Prior to assuming responsibility for the Illinois Higher Education Center (IHEC), I could answer that is did slow somewhat during these times.  However, our grants follow the fiscal year, and therefore, some of our busiest times fall during periods when academia is generally not in session or on reduced operations.

For the past weeks, the IHEC staff and I have been attempting to complete our FY12 workplan.  During the month of June, we had multiple staff members traveling each week to offer workshops on the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act (DFSCA) regulations, trainings on Drugs of the 21st Century, and representing our network at the American College Health Association.  With the April 11, 2012 Chronicle of Higher Education article suggesting increased enforcement and monitoring of the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act (DFSCA) regulations, we have also been busy preparing for increased training and technical assistance demands.

While we were keeping busy, we were also anxiously awaiting official word as to whether our Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP) and Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) grants would be refunded for the FY13 year.  I am happy to announce that we have been funded for both grants, and have been given 12 month contracts for both grants!!!!  As you can imagine, we are all relieved that our IHEC staff will be able to continue serving you and your institutions.  We are looking forward to spending the next few weeks planning for the entire year, and providing you with ample notice of our offerings and programs. 

Sadly, we realize that many other substance abuse programs throughout the state were not funded.  In these dire economic times, hard choices had to be made.  We hope that such choices have minimal impact on the work you perform at your institutions.  We also were disappointed to hear that the Department of Education would no longer be funding the national Higher Education Center.  While IHEC has no official hierarchical or funding relationship with the national center, its loss will negatively impact the field.  We have often referred constituents to their website and their materials when we did not have our own to offer.  We have also personally taken advantage of trainings and workshops they have provided.   Since the announcement late last week that the national center would not be funded, our staff  members have heard from numerous colleagues who have commented on how they wished their state would have an IHEC, especially now that they won’t be able to utilize the national center.

The new grant year will definitely present some unique challenges to the collegiate substance abuse field and IHEC.  There will be numerous opportunities as well.  Let’s have a terrific year in advancing our work!


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