Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching

Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching


During Winter Term 2023, funding is available to faculty who engage in activities that enhance the quality of student learning at the University of Michigan.

Grant awards up to $6,000 are available to individual faculty members or small groups of faculty proposing innovative revisions to courses or innovative course development or initiating smaller innovative projects to improve student learning at the University of Michigan.

Grant awards up to $10,000 are available to departments, programs, and other large faculty groups that want to work together on more extensive projects such as curriculum development and evaluation, inclusive classrooms, research experiences for undergraduates, and graduate student instructor (GSI) mentorship and training programs. The $10,000 grant awards are intended for larger, collaborative projects. Collaborations may take place either within or across programs and departments.

Funding Priorities

While proposals will be invited across the range of innovations in teaching and learning, two areas of emphasis are especially encouraged in this competition:

  • Application of equity-focused teaching frameworks (including anti-racist pedagogy).
  • Application of lessons learned from pandemic responsive teaching to apply to post-pandemic instruction.

Proposals, regardless of area of emphasis, should focus on the following types of activities:

  • Innovations in teaching methods or approaches;
  • Innovations in the curriculum;
  • Inclusive teaching practices that foster success for students of all academic and social backgrounds;
  • Faculty and/or GSI educational development activities;
  • Assessment of courses or curricula.

Selection Criteria

Selection priority will go to proposals that clearly articulate how they will:

  • Advance the key funding priorities, as noted above.
  • Substantially enhance the learning outcomes and experiences of significant numbers of UM students.
  • Represent activities that go above and beyond standard elements of course development or course revision.
  • Incorporate appropriate methods for assessing, documenting, and disseminating project impact.
  • Clearly link to departmental, college, or University educational priorities.
  • Be sustained beyond the funding period.
  • Create or enhance collaborations across faculty and/or units (for $10,000 grants).


The competition is open, on the Ann Arbor campus of the University, to all tenured and tenure-track faculty; clinical instructional faculty; and lecturers who have continuing appointments and course development responsibilities (i.e., an assignment from the dean, chair, or associate chair to develop a new course or significantly revise an existing course). For collaborative proposals, the project director listed on the Application Cover Sheet must meet eligibility requirements. Applicants who received Whitaker Fund grants in the past may seek support for new proposals. If a choice must be made between projects of equal merit, priority will be given to the proposal submitted by an applicant who has not received funds during the previous academic year.

Submission Procedures

All applications are handled electronically and must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.
  1. Download and complete
    1. this cover/budget worksheet (not to exceed $6,000 or $10,000 from the Provost’s Office, depending on the conditions stated in the INTRODUCTION. See BUDGET section below for allowable expenses).
    2. see FUNDING section below for allowable expenses.
  2. Prepare a 2-3 page proposal in accordance with the Guidelines below.
  3. Solicit letters of support from deans, chairs, or other relevant colleagues (optional, but strongly encouraged).
  4. Merge all application materials into a single pdf file.
  5. Click the Submit Application button at the top of this page.
    1. Fill out the web form, which requires a project overview. This project overview (250 word maximum) will be included in a set of summary documents provided to the review panel.
    2. Upload the pdf file. Name your file LastName_GrantType_Year.pdf (e.g., Smith_Whitaker_2023.pdf).

Chair Evaluations

  1. Forward to your chair this Chair Evaluation Form along with a complete copy of your application packet. If a proposal involves more than one faculty member, and those faculty are from different departments/units, then a separate chair evaluation should be submitted for each participating faculty member.  
  2. The chairperson should evaluate the proposal and then forward the Chair Evaluation Form to These must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.

Proposal Guidelines

Applicants should prepare a 2-3 page proposal* that includes the following items:

  1. Project Statement: Explain the specific project to be implemented, clearly delineating the need for the project and how the project represents an improvement upon, or important departure, from existing practice. Address how this project would lead to significant and sustainable change in the teaching and learning environment at U-M.  
  2. Project Evaluation Plan: Explain how the success of this project will be evaluated, documented, and disseminated. Approaches might include, but are not limited to: midterm course assessments; assignment, syllabi or other course document reviews; analysis of student work; end-of-term student ratings; focus groups; surveys; etc.

*If your project includes proposed work with CRLT, please be in touch with CRLT staff to discuss the specifics of your proposal prior to an official submission.    


Provide a justification of the budget so that it is clear why each requested budget item is essential to the success of the project. Travel and conference attendance, in particular, require substantial justification. Grant monies must be used for project costs that do not fall within the realm of regular departmental expenditures.  

The following expenditures (among others) may be included in the budget request:

  • Retreats, workshops or planning sessions
  • Focus groups, surveys and written materials
  • Data analysis
  • Facilitator or consultant honorarium
  • Faculty summer salary
  • Graduate or undergraduate student salaries
  • Materials and supplies
  • Travel and registration fees for special teaching-related seminars or workshops
  • Other travel essential to the project

Funding is NOT available for:

  • Registration fees for workshops, seminars and meetings that are not directly related to teaching
  • Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) salaries
  • The tuition portion of a Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) appointment
  • Reimbursement of costs already incurred

Funding Period

The period of funding may vary to fit the needs of the project, but is limited to two years. The funding period cannot begin until April 2023. Projects must be completed by April 30, 2025.

Funding Decisions

All Gilbert Whitaker Fund applications are reviewed and ranked by the appropriate dean and then undergo a review process carried out by members of the CRLT staff and the CRLT Advisory Board, composed of faculty from across campus. The final funding decisions will be made by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Awards will be announced by late March 2023.

Reporting Requirements

CRLT requires all grant recipients to disseminate their results by completing a brief web form within three months of the project’s completion. These reports will be publicly displayed on the CRLT Grants Reports website.

Questions and Consultations

Please contact CRLT at 764-0505 or if you have questions. CRLT staff are available to consult with grant applicants as they prepare proposals. You may also contact us if you have issues submitting your proposal to the CRLT website.