Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching
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Request for Proposals
CRLT is soliciting proposals for Gilbert Whitaker Fund grants to support faculty in pursuing innovative projects that enhance teaching and learning at the University of Michigan. Proposals are due by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. Awards will be announced in April, 2024.
While we welcome proposals across the range of innovations in teaching and learning, we encourage proposals that focus on the following types of activities:
- innovations in teaching methods or approaches (i.e., approaches new to a specific course, to the department, to the discipline)
- evidence-based best practices for enhancing student learning
- departmental curriculum redesign/enhancement (beyond a single course)
- application of equity-focused teaching frameworks, including anti-racist pedagogy
- faculty and/or GSI professional development activities around teaching
- assessment of courses or curricula
The competition is open, on the Ann Arbor campus of the University, to all tenured and tenure-track faculty; clinical instructional faculty; lecturers who have continuing appointments and course development responsibilities (i.e., an assignment from the dean, chair, or designee to develop a new course or significantly revise an existing course). For collaborative proposals, the primary project director listed on the Application Cover Sheet must meet eligibility requirements. Applicants who received Gilbert 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.
Support for Applicants
Schedule a Consultation: We strongly recommend that prospective grant applicants schedule a consultation with CRLT to clarify likely funding categories, project design, and budgeting for CRLT services (e.g., evaluation/assessment support, retreat/workshop facilitation, extensive consultations). Please contact CRLT at (734) 764-0505 or firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have questions or want to schedule a consultation. Appointments during the last week of the submission period are very limited.
Attend a Pre-proposal Information Session: Register for the CRLT Grants Overview Session with Q&A on Friday, September 15 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm.
Previously Funded Projects: Learn more about previous successful projects by clicking “View Funded Projects” and “View Final Reports” at the top of this page.
Level 1: up to $10,000
Grant awards up to $10,000 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 teaching and learning at the University of Michigan. Successful proposals provide evidence of how these projects go above and beyond standard course design or course revision.
Level 2: up to $17,500
Grant awards up to $17,500 are available to departments, programs, and groups of faculty who want to work together on more extensive teaching and learning projects that require a larger investment of time/resources and broader collaboration than Level 1 proposals. Examples of the types of proposals that could be supported through Level 2 funding include: departmental curriculum development, review, and evaluation; integration of experiential learning or research experiences for undergraduates; consideration of departmental teaching evaluation and review practices; development of robust support and resources for graduate student instructors.
The period of funding will vary according to the requirements of the project, but is limited to two years. The funding period cannot begin until May 1, 2024. Projects must be completed by April 30, 2026.
All applications are submitted electronically online and should follow the format shown in the Proposal Checklist below. All proposals must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.
- Click the Submit Application button at the top of this page
- Fill out the web form (to preview the form, click the Submit Application button)
- Upload the proposal following the checklist items as a single PDF file. Name your file LastName_GrantType_Year.pdf (e.g., Smith_Whitaker_2024.pdf).
Click here to download the proposal checklist.
Submitted via email
- Chair Evaluation Form: Use the attached evaluation form.
- Forward to your chair(s) the Chair Evaluation Form along with a complete copy of your application packet.
- If multiple departments are involved, include evaluation forms from all relevant department chairs.
- The chairperson(s) should evaluate the proposal, and then forward the Chair Evaluation Form to email@example.com. These must be received by the submission deadline.
Submitted online as a single PDF file in the order listed below
- Cover Sheet: Use the attached cover sheet.
- Include the name of the primary proposal applicant, the title of the project, duration of the project, level of funding, and approximate number of students impacted.
- Project Overview (250 words max): Provide an overview of your project with enough detail for a general audience (i.e., outside of your discipline) to read it. You will also submit this electronically on the application webform. This overview will be made public on the CRLT website if your proposal is funded.
- Project Description (1,500 words max; references can be on a separate page and do not count toward word limit): The project description should include:
- Background and Rationale: Provide a brief narrative that contextualizes the proposed project and provides sufficient background (e.g., current literature, current practices & resources, existing student or course data) for a reader who may not be familiar with the author’s discipline or interdisciplinary perspective.
- Goals & Activities: Provide a detailed description of the goals, objectives, and activities of the project.
- Implementation Plan & Timeline: Provide a description of the anticipated timeline for completing the project activities. If more than one applicant is involved, please articulate who will be responsible for completing each activity on the timeline.
- Impact on Student Learning: Describe your project’s anticipated impacts on student learning, including the number of students who will be affected, the specific nature of the impact on student learning, and an explanation of the broader impacts on the curriculum and/or discipline.
- Evaluation Plan: Provide a description of how the success/impact of this project will be evaluated and documented. 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 group; surveys; etc. (CRLT staff would be glad to consult with you on approaches to evaluation.)
- Communication Plan: Provide a description of how the findings or results of the project will be shared within the department, program, university, and beyond the university.
- Budget Request & Justification: Use the attached budget worksheet.
- Provide the total amount requested and a budget breakdown.
- Provide a clear and brief explanation for all proposed expenditures and how each will help to achieve the project goals.
- Please do not include CRLT services (e.g., evaluation/assessment support, retreat/workshop facilitation, extensive consultations) in your proposal without a prior consultation with a CRLT representative.
- See additional information about eligible expenses and justification in the budget worksheet.
- Letter(s) of Support: (As needed, but strongly recommended for Level 2 proposals)
- Evidence of sufficient institutional support (e.g., a letter from supervisor, chair, dean, etc.) and of primary applicants and co-applicants with prior experience with similar projects or ability to undertake the project (e.g., through academic preparation or prior/current work experience)
Proposal Review Criteria and Evaluation Process
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 Faculty Advisory Board, which is made up of faculty from a wide range of disciplines (humanities, arts, STEM, social sciences, health sciences). The final funding decisions will be made by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Successful proposals should be accessible to a broad, interdisciplinary audience of faculty colleagues.
Each proposal will be evaluated by a set of four overarching criteria:
- Importance of Project: The proposal explains 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, and it goes above and beyond standard elements of course development or course revision. The proposal addresses how the project would lead to significant and sustainable change in the teaching and learning environment at U-M, and it aligns with departmental, college, or University educational priorities.
- Project Design: Explicit objectives to be achieved during the project are clearly described and aligned with the purpose of the project. The implementation plan includes all major activities. Evaluation is clearly articulated and aligns with the project objectives and activities. There is a clear plan for disseminating results with colleagues in the department or U-M more broadly.
- Probability of Project Completion: The applicants and participants in the grant are able to carry out the project activities, and the responsibilities of each member of the project team are described. Institutional resources, structures, and related factors are in place to support the proposed project. Proposed timeline (up to 2 years) is sufficient to achieve the project’s objectives.
- Budget and Justification: All costs are listed, and each is justified with an explanation of why it is necessary and how the budgeted amounts were estimated. All expenses are within the guidelines for grant expenditures, including the level of funding. A plan for ownership and use of any equipment purchased with grant monies after the grant period ends is clearly described.
CRLT requires all grant recipients to help 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 Reporting website.
Please contact CRLT at (734) 764-0505 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or issues submitting your proposal to the CRLT website.