Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

College Student Success Innovation Centre (CSSIC)

Research Fellowship

A new funding opportunity for scholars whose research supports student success.

The 2023 competition is now closed.

The College Student Success Innovation Centre (CSSIC) at Mohawk College invites emerging and established external scholars at Canadian postsecondary institutions whose research is positioned to promote college student success to apply for the CSSIC Research Fellowship.


The below list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is updated regularly to reflect new questions and answers that the CSSIC receives.

Is this a fellowship or a grant?

This unique fellowship opportunity functions as a hybrid of a conventional research grant and a visiting fellowship. The funding structure is consistent with opportunities provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to resource an onsite research implementation, while the collaborative commitments are modeled after that of a visiting scholar or researcher. No physical residency will be provided; however, as outlined in the Call for Applications, there will be opportunities to have the fellow(s) visit the Mohawk College campus to conduct research activities and/or meet with students, staff, and faculty. 

Are PhD candidates (ABD) eligible to apply?

No. Applicants must hold a PhD or EdD (or have successfully defended their dissertation, graduation forthcoming) at the time of application to be eligible to apply. Additionally, they must 1) hold a full-time or multi-year appointment for the duration of the proposed project/funding period at a Canadian postsecondary institution with Tri-Agency eligibility; 2) be paid or allocated time to conduct research; and 3) be eligible to hold a grant/lead a research project at their home institution. 

Can the fellowship support additional collaborators or co-investigators? 

Only individual researchers can be awarded a fellowship. We are not providing funding to teams of co-investigators at this time.  

How will the terms of the fellowship be determined and administered?

As a collaborative partnership between the incumbent fellow(s) and the CSSIC, project governance will be mutually discussed and agreed upon through the review, adaptation (where necessary), and signing of both a Research Collaboration Agreement and a Data Sharing Agreement.  

Upon notification of award, the fellow(s) will be provided with templates of these agreements for review. The fellow(s) will have the opportunity to ask questions about and propose amendments to the agreements prior to accepting the fellowship. 

A Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA) will outline the terms of the research collaboration, such as eligible expenses, matters of confidentiality, ownership of intellectual property, equipment, deliverables, and publication and publicity. The RCA will also outline the scope of the project, project milestones for agreed-upon deliverables, and reporting timelines.  

A Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) will outline the terms for use and analysis of Mohawk College student administrative and research data, including data governance, transfer/sharing, storage, security, ownership, and access, and publication and authorship.  

What makes the CSSIC Research Fellowship different from other funding opportunities? 

The CSSIC Research Fellowship is unique in its funding model, context of application, and collaborative opportunities. The fellowship emphasizes praxis by simultaneously supporting applied research in student success—a niche area of scholarship—and developing practitioner capacity. The CSSIC’s previous experience implementing student success interventions through demonstration projects and replication studies in partnership with students, practitioners, and external researchers has highlighted not only the need to advance evidence-based research and practice in the college sector in Canada, but also to facilitate scholarly interaction between researchers and practitioners across postsecondary contexts. The fellowship also comes with a high level of operational support atypical of other funding opportunities. The CSSIC team will assist the incumbent fellow(s) with efficiently navigating the Mohawk College context, including the administrative and logistical processes required to support the research implementation, in addition to coordinating the research implementation more generally. 

What types of Mohawk College faculty and/or staff involvement qualify for release costing (line item 12 in the Budget Template)?

As noted in the Call For Applications, where projects require significant time (i.e. more than 10 hours across the entire project) from Mohawk College faculty and/or staff who are not part of the CSSIC team to help implement or facilitate components of the proposed intervention, funds to support their involvement must be reflected in the proposed project budget. For example, a proposal for a classroom-based intervention that requires faculty to learn and apply a new teaching or assessment method and/or collect data on the effectiveness of that method should budget for associated salary costs for the hours those faculty spend training for and implementing research activities if those activities are expected to take more than 10 hours and are beyond the scope of their normal work.

What are examples of internal conferences that would fulfill the commitment to deliver an internal conference presentation at Mohawk College?

Mohawk College’s Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation hosts two annual, practitioner-based conferences for faculty and staff: Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT) in the fall term, and Inspiring Minds in the spring term. Mohawk College is one of five colleges offering the College Educator Development Program (CEDP) for new full-time teaching and non-teaching faculty, which frequently features external speakers on topics relevant to teaching and learning. Historically, the college has hosted external meetings of educational associations (e.g. Academic Integrity Council of Ontario (AICO), Canadian Higher Education UDL Collective, Coordinating Committee for Vice-President Students (CCVPS), etc.), and would also be open to hosting similar events in the future.

Would it be helpful to demonstrate support from the applicant's home institution?

As noted in the Call for Applications, a complete application will include a signed letter of support from the applicant’s direct supervisor affirming the applicant’s capacity to hold the fellowship and conduct the proposed research in collaboration with the CSSIC team. Where applicable, this letter can also outline any cash or in-kind contributions provided by the applicant’s home institution; however, the provision of cash or in-kind contributions is neither required nor evaluated within the adjudication of applications. Otherwise, other forms of institutional support would only be valued by reviewers insofar as they align with the identified Evaluation Criteria. 

What should be detailed in the "evaluation plan" (listed in 3.a.iv of the Submission Requirements, p.11 in the Call for Applications)?

First and foremost, applicants should indicate how they will measure the effectiveness of the student success intervention, i.e. the degree to which the proposed approach, method, or practice achieves its intended outcomes when implemented at Mohawk College. In cases where the intervention has been tested and measured in other contexts before, this assessment might include a comparison to results from previous implementations.  

Depending on the nature of the intervention and the proposed project, the evaluation plan could also include formative evaluation of the research process (i.e. development or modification of the intervention, implementation of the intervention, etc.), both to responsively inform the process itself, and to support future scaling and/or replication.   

Why can't I access the Student Success Policy Framework quoted in the Call for Applications?

The Student Success Policy Framework was removed from the Mohawk College website on September 21, 2023. However, the relevant information (i.e. Mohawk College's definition of student success) is quoted on p.4 of the Call for Applications.