VITAL 2013 Minigrant Call for Proposals
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
VILLANOVA INSTITUTE FOR
TEACHING AND LEARNING (VITAL)
MINIGRANTS FOR 2013
DEADLINE – MONDAY, MARCH 11, 2013, 4:30 P.M.
PURPOSE OF GRANT PROGRAM
The Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning (VITAL) is pleased to announce the continuation of its program of minigrants. The purpose of these grants is to assist full-time Villanova faculty members to foster advances in undergraduate and graduate teaching and learning at Villanova, to implement the teaching-learning sections of the University’s and Colleges’ strategic plans, and to explore the use of new instructional strategies.
WHAT TYPES OF ACTIVITIES ARE FUNDED?
The fundamental goal of the grants is to support the development of new teaching and learning strategies. Recognizing that faculty members differ in their classroom and laboratory practices, VITAL invites proposals that represent instructional strategies that are new to the individual or to the department. Projects in which applicants seek to enhance their students’ learning by applying existing innovations in a way that constitutes a change for the applicants or for their department are welcome. The proposal does not have to include the development of original, “cutting edge” instructional innovations, although these would also be encouraged. The Selection Committee looks for proposals of which the scope represents an effort above and beyond the typical instruction-related activities expected of a faculty member. See below for suggested initiatives.
WHAT ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW COURSES?
Proposals for new course development per se are not supported by VITAL Minigrants. If the course proposal includes new teaching and learning strategies along with new content, however, the project will be considered for funding.
WHAT ARE THE ACTUAL CHANCES OF BEING AWARDED A MINIGRANT?
In the past five years, approximately 70% of the Minigrant proposals submitted were funded. In general, the proposals that were unsuccessful did not carefully adhere to the guidelines and criteria outlined in the Call for Proposals.
HOW MUCH ARE THE GRANTS WORTH?
The VITAL Minigrant program offers grants of up to $7000 per person (maximum summer stipend $5500) for individuals or an equivalent amount for groups of faculty. Not all grants are funded for the amount requested.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
See the following headings for detailed information about suggested initiatives and the grant application process. Examples of VITAL Minigrant projects funded in the past six years may be found after the Budget Page at the end of this document. Additional questions can be directed to Dr. Carol A. Weiss, Director of the Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning, ext. 95627.
INITIATIVES AND ACTIVITIES TO BE CONSIDERED FOR VITAL MINIGRANT FUNDING
Of particular interest are proposals that address the following:
- Team Teaching – Team-teaching opportunities are increasing at Villanova, and there are many challenges inherent in this potentially rewarding approach to teaching and learning.
- Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning – Integrating different disciplines into a single course or course sequence can be a complex process, which sometimes also incorporates team teaching
- Development and Implementation of Cases, Scenarios, and Simulations – Research on learning indicates that the use of applications like these promotes improved student learning and retention.
- Technological Innovation – Instructional technology use is ubiquitous on our campus; however, there are many new and creative uses still to be developed to enhance learning.
- Faculty Learning Communities – Groups of 4 – 8 faculty members engaging in a year-long program of meetings and activities with a focus on addressing a special teaching and learning issue. Facilitated by the director of VITAL, each Faculty Learning Community will meet regularly during the academic year with a structured agenda for pursuing the common goals of the participants.
- International/Global Study – Teaching and learning activities especially designed to bring an international perspective into existing curricula.
EXAMPLES OF OTHER AREAS OF INTEREST FOR POTENTIAL FUNDING:
- Active student-centered learning, including approaches such as problem-based learning, small-group or team learning, and cooperative/collaborative learning, especially in (but not limited to) the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
- Enhancement and assessment of student skills: oral presentation, writing, information literacy, technology acquisition in non-technical courses, argumentation, computational skills, scientific literacy, problem solving, critical thinking, research methodologies, etc.
- New instructional strategies to integrate moral and ethical values or the relevance and impact of various religious faiths on society, public policy, and/or the human condition, especially but not limited to those inherent in Villanova’s Catholic and Augustinian heritage.
- New ways of enhancing instructional skills: mentoring of junior faculty to enhance teaching; linking of two or more faculty members to visit each other’s classes and undertake instructional development efforts.
- Multicultural teaching and learning
- Incorporation of advanced networking technologies into teaching and learning initiatives (co-funded by the Center for Instructional Technologies).
- Experiential or service learning
- Departmental initiatives that identify and specify learning objectives and that establish and implement assessment techniques to determine degrees of successful student learning.
- Student-faculty research efforts
- New experimental formats that offer possibilities for future college-wide or university-wide adoption: variable credit; more-than-three credit courses; weekend classes; self-paced learning; year-long courses; mini-courses between semesters; early summer classes, etc.
- Instructional activities linking academic life and student life more closely in a holistic educational program. (Appropriate participation by Student Life personnel may be required.)
- Activities designed to explore new pedagogical possibilities: enrollment in a distance-learning course or participation in a class at another institution utilizing innovative or high-technology instructional modes; working with faculty from another school to deliver a common course using new ways of teaching, etc.
USE OF GRANTS
Grant funds may be used for travel expenses, speakers’ or consultants’ fees, instructional material development and production, educational media, stipends for graduate or undergraduate research or technical assistants, summer stipends, honoraria (for individuals with 12-month appointments), teaching load reductions under exceptional circumstances, and certain limited equipment and supply expenses or other resources needed to complete, implement, and evaluate the VITAL minigrant project. For more specific information, please see items 8 and 9 under the Administrative Policies section below.
Applicants for a VITAL Minigrant should submit the original completed proposal with appropriate signatures and statements of support, along with nine (9) paper copies of this material, to the Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning, Vasey 106. To conserve paper, please print on both sides of the page. The application deadline is Monday, MARCH 11, 2013, no later than 4:30 P.M. Applications received after this time will not be considered for funding. It is strongly recommended that applicants consult a member of the Minigrant Selection Committee (see below) while developing their proposals.
The proposal must be no longer than a total of seven (7) double-spaced pages in 12 pt. font size, with the narrative no longer than five (5) pages. The proposal includes the following:
A. COVER PAGE (see link below)
The cover page should be used as the first page of the application and must include a brief description of the project, no longer than 75 words.
B. STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT
Following the cover page (but not included in the page limit) must be separate statements of support for your proposal signed by your dean and department chair (and in some cases, program director). Statements of support for new course proposals must confirm the strong probability that the proposed course will be offered regularly. When applications involve more than one college or department, signed supporting comments of each dean and department chair are necessary. Applicants are advised to seek these statements of support well before the application deadline.
C. NARRATIVE (does not include the cover, support letters, or budget pages)
A narrative of the project, not exceeding five (5) numbered double-spaced pages in 12 pt. font size, should follow the letters of support. The narrative should include the following:
Rationale (2-3 pages): (a) a clear statement of the teaching-learning problem or issue being addressed by the project, (b) a description of how the proposed approach is expected to solve the problem, and (c) an explanation of the ways in which the project is important to your students’ learning and to your development as a faculty member. Please elaborate and give specific examples when addressing (c), including an indication of how many weeks of the course the proposed project will affect. The inclusion of references to the research literature on teaching and learning is strongly encouraged.
Relationship to the educational goals and objectives of your department and/or College (1-2 paragraphs): a description of the ways in which the proposed project is expected to address departmental and/or College educational goals and objectives. Please refer to specific objectives.
Learning Objectives (1-2 paragraphs): specific statements of what the project is intended to accomplish. What content knowledge, skills and/or values will students be expected to be able to demonstrate as a result of this project?
Time schedule (1 paragraph): a description of the stages of the project and its expected beginning and ending dates. Requests for summer stipends or teaching-load reductions must include an approximation of the number of hours per week that will be spent on the project, along with a description of the specific project-related activities that will be conducted during that time.
Evaluation section (1 page): a description of the evidence and analyses that you expect to provide to assess how effectively the project addressed the problem or issue identified in the Rationale section above and how well the learning objectives were accomplished. The Evaluation section should include examples of the types of assignments and other measures that you might use to assess the changes and/or improvements in students’ learning that are expected to result from the proposed project. This is an important part of your proposal; please provide detailed information. This information should include a description of how you intend to measure students’ knowledge or skills at the beginning of the project so that you can evaluate the effectiveness of the project activities at the end.
D. BUDGET PAGE (see link below)
A complete list of all resources and financial support needed for the project should be provided.
(a) If applying for a summer stipend (faculty with 9-month appointments) or honorarium (individuals with 12-month appointments), $5500 is the maximum amount that can be requested per individual in the stipend or honorarium category. For this maximum amount, the time committed to the project is expected to be the equivalent of that involved in developing a new course. Total funding requested in the other budget categories cannot exceed $1500.
(b) If applying for a teaching-load reduction of one course section, please indicate as accurately as possible the expected cost of hiring an adjunct faculty member to teach that section. Total funding requested in the other budget categories cannot exceed $1500. Teaching load reductions are awarded rarely and only in exceptional circumstances.
(c) Only equipment, materials, or services essential to the implementation of the proposed project should be included in the budget request. The amount requested for such expenditures may not exceed 50 percent of the total amount requested. Please see also item 8 in the Administrative Policies section below.
- Full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible. First-year tenure-track faculty are encouraged to co-apply with a more senior colleague.
- Full-time non-tenure-track faculty who have been at Villanova for at least four years are also eligible for minigrants. Full-time non-tenure-track faculty with fewer than four years of service at Villanova may be co-applicants, provided that there is a primary applicant with full eligibility.
As indicated in the Administrative Policies section (see below), individuals are not eligible for minigrants in two consecutive years.
CRITERIA FOR SELECTION
The following criteria will be used to judge the merits of each proposal:
- The proposal includes all information requested.
- The proposal has a clear rationale and a set of well-defined objectives for the improvement of instruction and/or students’ learning.
- The proposal indicates the specific way(s) in which the proposed activity is expected to lead to a change and/or improvement in teaching-learning practices.
- The proposal demonstrates a strong relationship to the educational goals and objectives of the department and/or College.
- The proposal clearly demonstrates how the scope of the project represents an effort above and beyond the typical instruction-related activities expected of a faculty member.
- The proposal is specific in describing procedures for implementing the project.
- The proposal includes a detailed plan for developing measures to evaluate changes and/or improvements in students’ learning resulting from the project.
- The funding requested is appropriate to the scope of the project.
METHOD OF SELECTION
The VITAL Minigrant Selection Committee will use the preceding criteria to review and evaluate all proposals submitted. This committee, chaired by the director of VITAL, is composed of faculty members from each of the four colleges of the University and includes previous minigrant recipients. Their names and departments are listed below. Applicants are encouraged to consult them while developing proposals. Final approval for funding will come from the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES OF THE PROGRAM
The following guidelines provide additional important information about the minigrants:
- Grants will be made during the 2013 spring semester for that summer and for the next academic year.
- Consistent with University enrollment figures, a minimum of 80 percent of the VITAL minigrants will be awarded to undergraduate-education proposals, with graduate-education proposals eligible for the remaining 20 percent.
- An individual may not apply for more than one minigrant each year. Those who receive a grant one year are not eligible for the program the following year. Faculty members who apply for subsequent grants must have fulfilled the conditions of their previous VITAL minigrant(s) and must have demonstrated the success of those projects.
- Grant applications for summer 2013 projects will not be considered for funding if the applicant has received a 2013 Summer Research Fellowship from Villanova's Office of Research and Sponsored Projects. Applicants to the Undergraduate Research Program, other ORSP-sponsored grant programs, or outside funding sources should so indicate. Applicants may receive summer stipends from only one funding source.
- Awards are made contingent upon the agreement of each recipient to fulfill the specific conditions noted in the award letter and to submit a final written report and evaluation of the project within 30 days of the project’s completion, in addition to any interim reports indicated in the award letter.
- Requests for compensation in the form of summer stipends will receive more favorable consideration than requests for teaching load reductions, which remove the faculty member from the classroom.
- Courses affected by the project must be offered during the 2013-2014 academic year, except in unusual cases.
- Project funds normally may not be used to purchase equipment, materials, or services already available on campus or that are expected to be provided by departments.
- All expenditures related to the project must be handled according to University policies and procedures.
VITAL MINIGRANT SELECTION COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Patricia Bradley, Nursing
Frank P. Maloney, Astronomy and Astrophysics
James C. O’Brien, Mechanical Engineering
Bruce Pollack-Johnson, Mathematics and Statistics (on sabbatical Spring 2012)
Deborah Schussler, Education and Counseling
Raymond Taylor, Marketing and Business Law
Fayette B. Veverka, Theology and Religious Studies