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“To provide the best possible educational experience for our students.”

Program Details

The program seeks to improve undergraduate student learning and engagement by giving instructional faculty an opportunity and the resources to re-engineer a high enrollment, undergraduate course using innovation approaches to instructional and learning. Working with the Executive Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, Dr. Mark Morvant, selected faculty (or teams including instructional faculty, GTAs, and academic advisers) will identify and develop the pedagogy and assessment techniques needed to take strong courses and make them even better.

Program Goals

  • Improve student learning
  • Improve student engagement with their chosen curriculum
  • Promote student retention and ultimate graduation
  • Developing a corp of engaged instructional faculty focused on continuous improvement in the undergraduate curriculum
  • Enhance assessment of the undergraduate curriculum

The Grant

Any undergraduate instructional faculty member may apply for funding to engage in a course innovation project, proposals must be endorsed by their chair/director and college dean. Teams of faculty involved with the same course may apply as a team. Qualifying courses should have a total enrollment during the previous academic year (using only Fall and Spring enrollment) of 600 or more. Proposals that include increasing course enrollment up to this level can also be considered on a case by case basis. Awardees receive up to $75,000 per year for two years to develop, implement, and assess their projects. Assessment must include student learning outcomes and student engagement. Funding in year two is contingent upon a mid-project review by the Executive Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, Dr. Mark Morvant. The Center for Teaching Excellence will directly support the Course Innovation Programs during all phases of the project with advice on instructional design, assessment design, and in identifying workshops and conferences for dissemination.


  1. Enrollment Number: Instructional faculty (or teams of faculty, graduate teaching assistants, and academic advisers) are eligible to apply if:
    The targeted course has an annual in Fall/Spring of 600 or more or the proposers believe the enrollment could be expanded to 600
  2. Sustainability: The Chair/Director of the academic unit endorses the project and commits to sustaining the new course model for at least five years after the project is completed. 
  3. Endorsement: The Dean of the College endorses the project.

Proposal Due Date

Proposals for funding to begin 2015-2017 are due April 1, 2015 to Dr. Morvant. Letters of Intent (see the following section for more details) are due February 15, 2015.

Letter of Intent

A letter of intent should be submitted to Dr. Mark Morvant briefing outlining project leader(s), department/school and college, any other institutional partners, targeted course, enrollments in the course, and the curriculum pathway that this course holds (for example, required of all pre-medicine students; fulfills a general education requirement for a course within the fine arts) for undergraduate students). Dr. Morvant will meet with all proposed project leaders prior to a full application being submitted.

Submission of a Proposal

The Proposal should define:

  1. the current status of the course and what is currently known about the learning outcomes in the course,
  2. needs, problems, and opportunities within the course to be addressed by this proposed project,
  3. the proposed innovations with appropriate references from other similar pedagogy projects
  4. spreadsheet with the proposed budget including wages, salaries, equipment, software, conference travel
  5. assessment plan for the project
  6. desired outcome from the project
  7. letter of support from your academic dean

Selection Criteria

Grant applications will be review by the Executive Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Associate Provost for Academic Program Review, and the Senior Vice President & Provost.

  • Does the proposal clearly reflect knowledge of the current level of student learning outcomes, to include knowledge of dropout/failure, withdrawal rates and grade distributions across all course sections?
  • Does the proposal address any implications for the department, college, and university for revised pedagogy and enhanced student engagement?
  • Does the proposal incorporate best practices within the discipline for promoting enhanced learning outcomes, enhanced critical inquiry, and enhanced communication skills?
  • Does the proposal involve any appropriate student advisory groups in the project?