The key element in grant writing is attitude, said Kenneth Henson, distinguished professor at the Citadel’s School of Education, and author of a new book by Allyn & Bacon, Grant Writing in Higher Education: A Step-by-Step Guide. “You have to believe that you can take it as far as you want to as long as you’re willing to work hard,” said Henson. “If you don’t have a belief in your ability to succeed, it’s not going to happen.”
Henson, whose grant writing has brought in more than $100 million, said that pursing grant writing in an organized, controlled way will eventually lead to success. Start with your goals, he said. Decide where you are going professionally and then choose grant topics that will get you there. Identify the people who will be making decisions on your tenure and then go after those projects important to those people in their decision making, said Henson. For example, Henson’s first grant was based on a statement he overheard about 85 percent of physics teachers working out of field. He wrote a grant that would provide summer seminars to help teachers gain certification as physics teachers. The grant was not only funded once, it was refunded several times.