Research and Innovation Digital Newsletter March 2022


This month we highlight our fourth WMU researcher, Dr. Lauron Kehrer, assistant professor of ethnomusicology. Dr. Kehrer’s expertise is studying race, gender and sexuality in contemporary American popular music. 

Below we welcome two new staff members: Anastasia Councell and Christine Stamper. Ana is a new restricted fund accountant, and Christine will be managing our internal awards. We also highlight opportunities for training workshops and NEH summer stipends. I’d also like to draw attention to the opportunities for interdisciplinary education related to mobility engineering. 

Also, as a reminder, ORI is very interested in hearing about the accomplishments of our faculty in the areas of research and creative activities. So please let us know about your work.


Steven M. Carr, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation

Meet finalists for Vice President for Research and Innovation
The Search Advisory Committee (SAC) for the Vice President for Research and Innovation invites the campus community to meet the finalists next week. Candidate Campus Presentations will be in-person and virtual. We are following best practices by requesting RSVPs to receive the meeting links to promote a seamless virtual experience. Formed in October 2021, the SAC held listening sessions with campus stakeholders to shape the position profile. The recruitment process yielded an incredibly talented and diverse pool of candidates. The SAC conducted more than 15 interviews and have selected five finalists to visit campus and interact with faculty, staff, students and the community.  View the visits schedule.

Meet our Researchers

Lauron Kehrer

My research explores the intersections of race, gender and sexuality in contemporary American popular music, especially hip-hop. I argue that openly queer and trans rappers are neither anomalies nor newly emerging phenomena but musicians within a long-standing Black queer musical lineage. I reclaim queer influence and involvement in hip-hop by repositioning the genre’s beginnings within Black and Latinx queer music-making practices and spaces. I then examine contemporary performance and politics, demonstrating that openly queer and trans rappers draw on ballroom and other cultural expressions particular to queer and trans communities of color in their work in order to articulate their subject positions. Taking an intersectional approach, I explore ways in which gender, race and sexuality are co-constructed and performed in these artists’ work and in discourses surrounding rap.

My research methods and interests combine ethnomusicology, musicology, and women and gender studies. Furthermore, I approach hip-hop studies as always already interdisciplinary and regularly collaborate with colleagues in fields such as American studies, Black studies, sociology, English and other fields.

My first book, "Queer Voices in Hip Hop: Cultures, Communities, and Contemporary Performance" will be published this fall. In the future, I am looking forward to developing a book project on contemporary Italian hip-hop and contextualizing it within politics of immigration and nationalism. The recent mainstream success of, and occasional backlash to, artists such as Ghali and Mahmood, both first-generation Italians born to immigrant parents from North Africa, illustrates the global circulation of trap music, discourses of race, religion and nationalism in 21st-century Europe, and the resulting shift in soundscapes of Italian popular music. Through songs such as Mahmood’s “Soldi” (Money), the winner of the 2019 Sanremo song competition and Italy’s entry to that year’s EuroVision song contest, hip-hop has become a medium through which ideas about Italianess are being contested and negotiated on a national and global scale.

Welcome our two new staff members
We are very pleased to announce the addition of Anastasia Councell as the new restricted fund accountant in Grants and Contracts. Ana brings to us her experience working on the EvaluATE grant in the Evaluation Center. She will be working with mainly nonfederal grants from various departments as well as overseeing the subaward monitoring process, ECRT, new and amended grant setups. We are excited to have Ana join our team!

Please welcome our new coordinator research data, Christine N. Stamper. She brings to us her expertise in writing and project management. She will be handling all of our internal funding opportunities and some event planning. We were very excited to add Christine to our team.

Research staff compensation project town hall meeting scheduled
Office of Research and Innovation, Human Resources and Business and Finance have worked for more than a year to update the R (Research staff) compensation and position structure. It is time to share the outcomes with the University. Hosted by ORI and HR, join us for the Research Staff Compensation Town Hall on Monday, April 11, from 3 to 4 p.m.

Evaluation basics for grant proposals
Many funding agencies require formal evaluation of the projects they fund. Most agencies leave it to grantees to plan how to evaluate their projects. In this workshop, you will learn how to interpret funding agencies’ evaluation requirements, the essential elements of evaluation plans for grant proposals and how to locate and work with an evaluation consultant. Several resources will be shared that will help you along your evaluation journey. Lori Wingate, executive director of the WMU Evaluation Center, will lead this workshop on Monday, March, 21, at noon.

DUNS is done
The federal government is phasing out the nine-digit identifier code and is transitioning to the new Unique Entity Identifier. ORI manages Western's registration in, and the new UEI is already recognized in many sponsor systems for grant applications. ORI's Commonly Requested Information page serves as a quick reference for institutional information, rate schedules and other supporting information. The page now displays WMU's UEI. Contact your RO if you have any questions.

New effort for interdisciplinary education at WMU: Mobility Engineering
Join us to hear about the existing efforts to provide new autonomous and electric vehicle engineering education. Dr. Zachary Asher, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will lead with a presentation which will be followed by an open discussion for involvement and expansion ideas. The event will be held via WebEx on Friday, March 18, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Summer Salary Worksheet now available for 2022
You can now access the summer salary worksheet for faculty summer grant pay. Find it in the forms section and fill it out once Human Resources opens the submission period. Find instructions for filling out the form as well as an example.

Graduate student research presentations to be held
The graduate student Research and Creative Activities Presentations will be held virtually this year from Monday through Thursday, April 11 to 14. Departments may nominate up to three students by today, March 18. Students will create a five- to seven-minute slide presentation highlighting their research. These videos will be viewable by the University community via Elearning and will be evaluated by faculty judges. Winners will be announced on Monday, April 18.

We are seeking volunteer faculty judges. To volunteer, email Paige Warner. Judging will be completed virtually and is a great way to gain University service experience and learn about graduate student research projects.

Finding and adapting secondary data workshop available
University Libraries will offer an online workshop on adapting secondary data for analysis from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Monday, March 21. The event is presented by Dr. Lynette Hoelter, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, and data librarian Daria Orlowska.

Apply for a research carrel in Waldo Library
Applications for Waldo Library’s research carrels are open through Sunday, March 20, for active faculty members and graduate students. Faculty and graduate students who are assigned a carrel will be notified by email in April. Carrel assignments will begin in August and continue through the 2022-23 academic year.

Carrels are intended for individual use to support writing and research and may not be used for meetings or group activities. Apply for a research carrel.

Open-hour session with Dr. Lynette Hoelter and Daria Orlowska
Join data librarian Daria Orlowska and ICPSR representative Lynette Hoelter for secondary data open hours. Bring a current project, a research question or just your curiosity to receive personalized support with finding and reusing data in ICPSR. This workshop will be held via WebEx from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, March 28.

President's State of the University address set for April 5
Save the date! President Montgomery will deliver the 2021-22 State of the University address on Tuesday, April 5, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Bernhard Center's North Ballroom. Light refreshments will follow the address. This will mark the first in-person State of the University address since the fall of 2019.