The Provost is the chief academic officer of Francis Marion University and with the assistance of the associate provosts, school deans, and department chairs, oversees the undergraduate and graduate programs of the University.

Provost Office Staff

Dr. T. Alissa Warters

University Provost
Dean of the Francis Marion College of Liberal Arts
Professor of Political Science

Office: SAB 115
Phone: 843-661-1286


Allison M. Steadman

Associate Provost
Professor of Theatre Arts - Costume Design
Administrative Liaison with the National Consortium of Universities Studying Slavery

Office: HFAC 225
Phone: 843-661-1685

Photo of professor Kunka

Dr. Jennifer L. Kunka

Associate Provost for Advising, Professor of English

Office: FH 220
Phone: 843-661-1520

photo of person posing

Dr. Will Carswell

Associate Provost
Director of Graduate Programs
Assistant Professor of Fine Arts

Office: SAB 115
Phone: 843-661-1281

Ms. Rebecca J. Mouzon, Manager

Ms. Cierra Graham, Administrative Assistant

Deans and Department Chairs

Dean – Dr. T. Alissa Warters

Dr. Vernon Bauer

Dr. Jennifer Kelley

English, Modern Languages, & Philosophy
Dr. Meredith Love-Steinmetz

Fine Arts
Prof. D. Keith Best

Dr. William Bolt

Mass Communication
Dr. Stan Diel

Dr. Thomas L. Fitzkee

Physics and Astronomy
Dr. Derek W. Jokisch

Political Science and Geography
Dr. Dillon Tatum

Dr. Crystal R. Hill-Chapman

Dr. Jessica M. Doucet

Dean – Dr. Hari Rajagopalan

Associate Dean – Dr. Johnathan G. Munn

Interim Dean – Dr. Callum Johnston

Associate Dean – Dr. Cindi Nixon

Dean – Dr. Karen K. Gittings

Nursing – Dr. Rhonda Brogdon

Speech Language Pathology – Dr. Frances Burns

Healthcare Administration – Dr. Sarah Kershner

Dean – Ms. Demetra T. Walker

Institutional Review Board


Concept Approval Form

As soon as you have decided to undertake a grant, you need to fill out the Concept Approval Form for the grant. The form provides the University with core information regarding your proposed activity. It also provides everyone with documentation that this activity was discussed and was approved, at least at the conceptual level.

After filling out the details on the form, you have your Department Chair sign it. Your Department Chair passes it onto the next administrator on the list for approval. At any point in this process, discussions may occur to further clarify what will be entailed in the proposed activity. Once the President has signed the form, it is sent to Shara Moore in Business Affairs with a copy also residing in the Provost’s Office.

General Information on Grants at FMU

How the Grants Development Program can assist you:

The Grants Development Program works with campus members to prepare grant proposals to external funding agencies. In doing so, the Grants Development Program also works closely with the Office of Financial Services, Human Resources, Accounting, the University Foundation, and the Office of the Provost. Faculty are encouraged to meet with the Director of the Grants Development Program to acquaint the office with their current and anticipated interests. Doing so enables the office to add that information to search criteria so that campus community members can be notified of funding sources and opportunities that may support their project interests. As soon as a faculty member plans to pursue a particular funding source, they are asked to complete a Grant Concept Approval form to obtain requisite permissions from their Department Chair, Dean, Provost and the President of the University. The form is available on-line at this site in word processing formats for both Macs and PCs.

Reasons to consider doing a grant

Grants provide faculty with some amazing opportunities. This is your chance to turn ideas into reality – whether to carry out a research project or to demonstrate a new way of doing something. Many grants provide faculty with a way to build in additional professional development, equipment, materials, and travel. They provide a rich environment to gather data for peer-reviewed articles. Most importantly, they are a key scholarly activity that enhances your overall development as an academic.

An article you may want to look at was written by Kenneth Henson of the Citadel, a specialist in grants at the post-secondary level. He has done a nice job of providing some insights into the grants process for faculty members.

Steps in doing the grant

1. You have a passion to do something.
2. You find a funding source that is compatible with your idea.
3. You complete the Concept Approval Form and submit it to your Department Chair or Dean who then moves it up the list of people.
4. You begin mapping out the overall grant. You might brainstorm ideas with fellow faculty or you may be setting up meetings with partner groups to get their input and direction.
5. With a better idea of what will happen in the grant, you talk with the Director of Grants Development (Jane Madden, 1230) or the Director of Financial Planning (Shara Moore, 1132) to see if there are some points you should be checking. For example, does your proposal need to be submitted to an IRB review for Human Subject Research? Do you need to check with the Physical Plant on alterations to facilities? Calling or meeting with the Director of Grants Development will be a quick way to find a partner to help you sort through the issues.
6. You are working diligently on writing the grant. You have friends lined up who are willing to read and see if it makes sense. Does it fit together? Does it sound doable? They could also check it for spelling and grammar.
7. You are also working on the budget section and have started to share that with Shara Moore, the Director of Financial Planning, so she can spot problems early on.
8. You have completed the entire grant and have submitted it to the Provost’s Office for a preliminary review. He may ask the Director of Grants Development and the Director of Financial Planning to look it over at this time.
9. You take the feedback from the various groups that have reviewed the document and have incorporated the appropriate changes. Seven working days (not including weekends) ahead of the deadline for the grant leaving campus, you submit the grant to the Provost’s Office for a final review. Again, the Director of Grants Development and the Director of Financial Planning will usually be involved in the process.
10. Everything looks good. You submit it online or you make your copies and send it off and breathe a sigh of relief that it made it out the door on time.

Why the University must sign-off on the grant

Despite the hours we may put in on a grant, it really isn’t ours. A grant is normally a contract between the funding agency and the University. The University has the responsibility to be sure that whatever efforts take place on the campus, or through the campus, are consistent with the mandate of the University and abides by all the regulations governing the University. That last part is very significant. The rules and regulations governing the University are many and varied. Fortunately, each administrative department is quite cooperative in helping to decipher what those are and how they impact your grant efforts.

Foundation vs. University

On occasion, you will come across funding opportunities through private foundations. If it is a situation where the funding agency (the private foundation) can only give the funds to another non-profit agency such as the University Foundation, then you must gain permission from the Foundation before applying. There is a separate form for applications that must go through the Foundation. The reason for seeking approval for the Foundation is that it must practice due diligence in reviewing the activities in which it will engage to be sure they fit within the guidelines established for its operation. Again, even though you may be the one carrying out the activities in a successful grant application, it is technically the Foundation (in this scenario) that is receiving the funds.

GrantStation Information

Several departments on campus are using the GrantStation website to locate alternative funding sources for projects. Please remember to sign-in (login) to the GrantStation website so that you can have maximum access to all of the resources that are available. Individuals who do not have a password for the site are not able to get to the full-range of options that are there for members. If you forget your user name and password, please give Jane a call at Ext. 1230 or e-mail We held several workshops on campus to orient people to the GrantStation site. If you were unable to attend, please feel free to call Jane and she’ll give you an orientation over the phone or one-on-one. She’s also developed a handout for the GrantStation site to help new users.

Grant Deadlines

You will find that you will read the guidelines for a grant several times, if not more! Keep an eye on the deadline date. This can be tricky. Check for the following:

A. The grant RFP says that the grant must be received by a particular time and date. Remember – all your work will be for nothing if it is not received on time. If 5:00 p.m. is the cutoff, then 5:01 p.m. is too late.

Don’t assume because you sent it via the post office that the funding agency will still accept it if it shows up a day late. Many agencies will tell you that if you send it via the postal service, you’ll have to have a postmark on your package that must be 5 working days (not including weekends) in advance of the deadline. Keep a receipt for your package that you can use to argue your case in the event the parcel does arrive late. You’ll need it.

The State does have a free courier service that runs between state agencies. Unfortunately, it can’t guarantee that a package will get into Columbia on time. In that situation, a date stamp doesn’t do a thing for you according to one of the state agencies with whom we dealt. Get behind on your project or run into last minute difficulties and you’ll find yourself dashing to Columbia with the package in hand. Don’t worry – you won’t be the first person to do it and you won’t be the last.

The University does have a regular commercial courier pickup on campus. Call the Warehouse to arrange a time early in the day. Normally, someone will be around to pick up your package by 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. If you’re not going to be ready until later in the day, get your label with the proper account number on it and then drop it off yourself in town at the correct courier depot on your way home. Talk to your department to get one of the labels filled out and ready to go.

B. The grant RFP says the grant must be sent by a particular time and date. In this scenario, you feel like you’ve got a little bit more breathing room. In reality, you don’t. A lot of federal agencies seem to be encouraging people to use commercial courier services over the post office because of the security issues in place for handling postal packages. There can be significant delays for items travelling through the regular mail service due to the security precautions at the other end.

Electronic Submissions of Grant Applications

In this scenario, the grant RFP says you must submit the grant electronically by a certain time and date through an online portal. NSF has been using this for quite a while. The federal department of education has also started the move to online submissions. Their system is actually quite user friendly compared to NSF.

The NSF uses something called “FastLane.”
For details on how to use the Department of Education’s online submission portal, check out:
How to use the e-Application process in the federal Department of Education

Concerns you should have over electronic submissions:

Apart from the usual nightmares that you have left it until the last minute and are now concerned that the entire University network will go down, you have to be very concerned about the authorization process and the time lines associated with that process. Electronic submissions are actually a multi-step procedure.

Once you get all of your bits and pieces uploaded, the system sends a message to the authorized representative for the University who must electronically sign your document to authorize it to go forward to the competition. Without that step, your proposal is going nowhere. For electronic submissions, the Provost’s Office has been the authorized representative. NSF provides a breathing space between your submission of the proposal and the authorized university representative signing it. This allows for anomalies such as submissions that occur late at night or for a situation when a person could be out of town. Note that the federal department of education does not do that. If your submission is to be in no later than midnight on a particular date, then once you submit your proposal, the authorized representative must also electronically sign your proposal before that midnight hour. Of course, if you’ve got the proposal in early, that won’t be a problem. On the other hand, if you are indeed submitting it at the very last minute possible, and it will be happening well after work hours, you could have some excitement.

Getting a focus for your grant efforts

Many people approach grants with a shopping list of things they want rather than with an outcome in mind. The “shopping list” approach can result in a lot of stress because you end up twisting yourself out of shape to try and get it to fit the objectives of the funding source. Without a logical outcome, trying to set up coherent arguments that justify the “shopping list” gets very tricky.

The easy way to begin your process is by playing the “So what?” game with yourself. Simply state your case in a sentence or two as to why you need this money. Next, if you can find a volunteer to assist you with this process, read aloud your statement and get them to say “So what?” Now, try and answer that question. Each time you come up with an answer, have them challenge you by saying, “So what?” Eventually, you’ll either discover you’ve been heading in the wrong direction or you’ll find that you have hit on the heart of the matter and are ready to put everything else into place. Play “So what?” by yourself or with a partner – it’s a little exercise that can save you a lot of time.

Salary-related issue for grants

A large number of grants provide faculty with the opportunity to buy out their time from the University or to arrange to receive additional hours – both during the year and especially in the spring and summer months. The State does not allow faculty to earn more than their regular hourly wage. Nor can faculty earn more than a particular percentage over their regular salary during the course of the year. Therefore, it is important that you get accurate figures to use in your budget section. Human Resources can supply you with the necessary information. The person to contact there is Danagene Razick (843-661-1142).

When it comes to including the cost of your time in a proposal, you have to remember that your salary consists of both wages and fringe benefits. Those fringe benefits can cost up to an additional 35% (and as health costs continue to increase, that number may also increase). The University pays for a large percentage of our benefits. Remember, we still have to pay our own portion of retirement, social security, and taxes, and any other applicable deductions on top of that.

So why worry about salary and fringes when doing a grant budget? Consider the following examples:

a. The budget shows one flat rate for the faculty member, $1,000. In real terms, that means the check they receive from their work might show a total of anywhere from $650 to $825. (Everything is dependent upon your individual deductions as well as the employer fringes.) That’s what they can put in the bank. The institution had to deduct the benefits portion from the grant funds as the grant was picking up the faculty member’s time. It also had to deduct those items we are personally responsible for. Occasionally, a grant might be set up such that the grant picks up the wages for the faculty member and the institution picks up the fringe benefits. All of those things have to be negotiated prior to the grant being submitted.

b. In our second example, the grant budget is set up to cover both the salary at $1,000 and a calculated estimate of the fringe benefits on top of that. Apart from the individual deductions such as social security, retirement, and taxes, the amount on the check that goes in the bank will be much higher than in our first example (a).

c. Any money over your regular salary will not have health and dental deducted.

d. If your intention is to receive additional funds from another state agency or a grant during the time you are under contract with the University, it is imperative that you meet with Human Resources to be sure you are within the State regulated guidelines.

An important exception you should know about . . . .

In the beginning, I naively assumed that all PreK-12 schools and Universities were state agencies. PreK-12 schools are not considered state agencies. Therefore, in a situation where a school is the fiscal agent (they get the money directly from the funding agency and handle the bills) for the grant and they’ve retained your services, then the salary you receive from them is not counted towards your annual total, nor is it subject to the hourly wage limitations. In other words, it is as if it didn’t even happen! However, if they buy your services from the University and you receive your check from the University, then it does count towards the annual total limitations and the hourly wage limitations. Always, make sure that your time commitments do not interfere or conflict with your scheduled teaching and office hours. Clear any such arrangements with your department chair. Watch how you set it up and always double-check on regulations as they change!

DUNS, TNS, EIN Numbers

On all federal grant applications, you will come across a request on the cover sheet for a DUNS identification number. Recent application forms are also calling for the TNS number. Shara Moore, Jane Madden, and Cathy Shwartz all have those numbers or can find out for you.

REAL Grants

The REAL Program at Francis Marion University solicits proposals for funding for new and existing programs in experiential or nontraditional learning. Experiential learning opportunities occur outside the traditional classroom, library or laboratory. REAL program funds are only for undergraduate students.

PEAK Grants

The PEAK (Professional Experience and Knowledge) Program at Francis Marion University solicits proposals for funding new and existing programs that develop students’ professional knowledge and career-readiness skills.

See Financial Services policies on Grants for more information.

Student Achievement & Success

The mission of Francis Marion University is to make available excellent educational programs for the people of the region and the state. Student achievement is a vital part of the mission of Francis Marion (FM), and to evaluate student success, the University uses student achievement data, including student retention and graduation rates, external program accreditation, pass rates on pre-licensure and licensure examinations, student and alumni satisfaction surveys, and where appropriate, job placement rates.

Evaluation of student achievement data supports the overall mission of the University, its priorities (as set forth in its strategic plan and annual accountability report), and its degree programs.

Francis Marion’s Office of Institutional Research collects data on completion of state licensing examinations. These data are presented annually in the Annual Accountability Report which is submitted to the Office of the State (SC) Budget and are as follows:

  • The School of Education submits Praxis reports for students who have completed the exam. An average of 85% of FMU’s education students who took the Praxis II test during the 2012-2013 academic year had a passing grade. There was a 100% passing rate on the following sections:
    • Art: Content Knowledge
    • Elementary Education: Content Area Exercises
    • English Language Literary Composition: Essays
    • Math: Content Knowledge
    • Middle School: Language Arts
    • Middle School: Mathematics
    • Middle School: Science
    • Middle School: Social Studies
  • From 2009-2012 the pass rates of graduates from the Francis Marion Nursing Program on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Licensing Exam (NCLEX) have exceeded the national and state averages. The pass rate for the examination within two attempts has been 100%.

Annual Pass Rates for Graduates of Registered Nursing Programs on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Licensing Exam (NCLEX):

Comparison for National , South Carolina, and FMU percentages

Graduating seniors take a Senior Exit Survey (77.6% response rate) which includes a question concerning post-graduation employment. Twenty two percent of the students who graduated in December 2013 indicated that they had been offered full-time employment. This value is consistent with the rates for previous semesters and data collected by the Career Development Office.

In a 2007 survey of alumni who graduated during the 2003-04 academic year, the following percentages of alumni reported obtaining their first full-time employment within the indicated timeframe:

Chart for percentages of job placements

The high participation rate of regional employers in career fairs sponsored by the Career indicates that these employers find FM graduates to be qualified and motivated employees.

Chart for number of employers participating in career fairs


SACSCOC Accreditation

Francis Marion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters, educational specialist, and doctorate degrees. Francis Marion University also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the status of Francis Marion University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA  30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy


Accreditation for University Programs

Upon request, accreditation documents may be viewed in the Office of the Provost during normal business hours. The University is approved by the South Carolina State Board of Education and is a member of the American Council on Education and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

In addition, several individual academic programs have been recognized by specialized accrediting organizations:


University CIP Codes

Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees and Undergraduate Majors at Francis Marion

Bachelor of Arts

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

     Biology 260101
     Economics 450601
     English 230101
     History 540101
     Mass Communication 090102
     Mathematics 270101
     Modern Languages 160101
     Political Science 451001
     Psychology 420101
     Sociology 451101
     Theater Arts 500501
     Visual Art 500701

Bachelor of Science

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

     Art Education 131302
     Biology 260101
     Biology (Medical Technology Emphasis) 260101
     Chemistry 400501
     Computer Science 110101
     Early Childhood Education 131210
     Economics 450601
     Elementary Education 131202
     Engineering Technology 159999
     Health Care Administration 510701
     History 540101
     Industrial Engineering 143501
     Mathematics 270101
     Middle Level Education (Mathematics/Science Licensure) 131203
     Middle Level Education (Mathematics/Social Studies Licensure) 131203
     Middle Level Education (Mathematics/English Licensure) 131203
     Middle Level Education (Science/Social Studies Licensure) 131203
     Middle Level Education (Science/English Licensure) 131203
     Middle Level Education (Social Studies/English Licensure) 131203
     Music Industry 501003
     Pharmaceutical Studies 512099
     Physics 400801
     Political Science 451001
     Psychology 420101
     Sociology 451101

Bachelor of Business Administration

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

     Accounting 520301
     Business Administration 520201
     Economics 520601
     Finance 520801
     Management 520201
     Management Information Systems 521201
     Marketing 521401

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

     Nursing Generic (No RN) 513801
     Nursing (RN to B.S.N.) 513801
     Nursing (RN to B.S.N.) – Blended Distance Education 513801

Bachelor of General Studies

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

   General Liberal Arts and Sciences 240101

Master of Business Administration

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

     Business Administration

Master of Education

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

     Instructional Accommodation 131011
     Learning Disabilities 131011

Master of Arts in Teaching

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

  Learning Disabilities 131011

Master of Science

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

     Applied Psychology 422813
     Physician Assistant Studies 510912

Master of Science in Nursing

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

     Family Nurse Practitioner 513805
     Nursing Educator 513817

Specialist in School Psychology

Major:                                                                     CIP Code:

     School Psychology 422805