From the CRLT Blog

CRLT Grants Can Support Your Innovative Teaching Ideas

August 5, 2019
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CRLT stewards grant competitions with the goal of enhancing teaching and learning at the University of Michigan. Some grants can be used to test a classroom idea, and others are intended to empower much greater change in curricula, teaching techniques, or inclusion of University values and priorities. If you are an instructor at the Ann Arbor campus, one or more of these might be particularly useful to you.

engaged student learning around a computer

The Instructional Development Fund (IDF) is a rolling fund that grants amounts of up to $500 for a classroom activity or innovation. It is a rolling grant fund; proposals are accepted at any time until the funds for the year are exhausted. An IDF may be used to pay for supplies and equipment, programming or research assistance, fees and expenses for student field trips, honoraria for classroom guest speakers, fees and expenses for conferences directly related to teaching, or summer projects aimed at developing or enhancing courses. You may have another great idea; it is always worth asking if your idea is eligible. The proposals are brief: only one page plus a budget. Typically, decisions can happen within two weeks for these grants.

The Faculty Development Fund (FDF) funds proposals for projects that enhance the quality of student learning at the University of Michigan. Smaller transformational grants of up to $6,000 can fund extensive revisions to courses or course development. Larger transformational projects of up to $10,000 for projects that span multiple classes or programs and involve extensive collaboration. At either level, funding priorities include innovations in teaching methods or approaches, curricular innovations, inclusive teaching practices, faculty or GSI educational development, and assessment of courses or curricula. The deadline for FDF proposals is October 22, 2019; typically decisions are communicated in early December.

The Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching (Whitaker) shares similar aims and structure with the FDF. Smaller transformational grants can be up to $6,000; larger collaborative proposals may be for up to $10,000.  The deadline for Whitaker proposals is January 21, 2020; typically decisions are communicated in early April. Both the FDF and Whitaker funds are competitive, so often proposals are not funded. Many instructors have taken feedback from a round in which they didn’t get funded and revised their proposal into a successfully funded grant in a later round.

The Lecturers’ Professional Development Fund (LPDF) is especially for lecturers, funding areas of professional growth for the individual lecturer. Grants of up to $2000 may fund academic pursuits, artistic or otherwise creative endeavors, or conference attendance. This is a popular fund that typically receives many more proposals than it can fund each year. Priority in decisions goes toward those projects that have clear links to the lecturer’s professional development. The deadline for these proposals is September 17. Typically decisions are communicated in early November.

More information about all of our grants programs is available at

Some key tips for all of CRLT’s grant competitions:

  • If you have an idea that involves using CRLT services, contact CRLT early to talk about whether these services might be available.
  • Particularly for larger grants, such as FDF or Whitaker, make time in your proposal-writing schedule for signatures and approvals. Any approvals that are requested need to happen in advance of the deadline. 
  • Funding may not be used to reimburse costs already incurred.
  • Please be clear in writing the budget and make sure that what is described in the grant proposal matches with what is listed in the budget. 
  • Each grant competition has limits on the amount that it can fund. These limits cannot be expanded.

If you have an idea and want to consult about the best source of funds or a strategic approach to writing your proposal, or you have questions about budget, CRLT is available to consult with you'. Our consultants would be happy to talk with you about your thoughts and help you brainstorm an effective proposal. Do try to do this well in advance of deadlines so that you can have the best access to help and resources. If you have other questions, ask. Our grants team ( would be happy to talk with you about your specific questions about grant processes.