ACU 20/20: Envisioning the Future of Education Teaching Innovation Grant

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The Strategic Plan calls us to innovate the delivery of an ACU education while holding fast to our core values. The ACU 20/20: Envisioning the Future of Education Teaching Innovation Grant program is intended to strategically explore new models of teaching and educational delivery. The program harnesses the skills and insight of our faculty and is funded with support from the President’s Venture Council. The grant has been designed as a multi-year program that provides phased support for the development of course redesigns and other projects led by innovative faculty, with increasing funds available each year.

The ACU 20/20 Teaching Innovation Grant program supports ACU faculty in the development, implementation, and assessment of innovative educational delivery strategies and other projects that enhance learning outcomes, generate efficiencies in course delivery or learner support, and/or create additional revenue streams through new or expanded enrollment or partnerships. The program provides ACU with a powerful and flexible avenue to transform educational innovations into scalable realities.

Proposals for initial funding are due no later the last Monday in January. Interested faculty should apply by completing the short application available as a Google Form here.

In the Application Phase, the Teaching Innovations Grant Committee, under the direction of the Adams Center and supported by the Learning Studio, will evaluate submissions on their potential to innovate educational delivery at ACU.

This year, we are seeking grant proposals for two tracks:

  1. Individual or Small Group Track
  2. Department/Program or Large Group Track

The Committee will evaluate submissions specifically on their potential to:

  1. Enhance teaching and learning.  a.) Redesigning courses or programs using empirically proven methods for improved student retention, engagement, and success. This includes strategies such as blended course designs, flipped classrooms, online homework, virtual labs, supplemental instruction, competency-based education, and other technology-enhanced or pedagogically-advanced delivery methods. Priority will be given to projects targeting high demand courses/programs, or courses/programs with historically low success rates. b.) Developing promising practices that have not yet been proven to increase student success and/or that address campus priorities.
  1. Generate efficiencies in course delivery or learner support. This may lead to monetary savings, faculty reallocation of time, flexibility in student progress through the degree, increased retention, etc.
  1. Create new revenue streams. This may be through increased enrollment, development of new programs, community involvement, collaboration with corporations and industry, etc.

Proposals are strongly encouraged to address more than one of the categories noted above but do not need to address all three. Proposals may collaborate across disciplines, community groups, and colleges, but are not required to do so. Proposals must be submitted by current faculty and could include a partnership with staff members or outside resources. Individuals, teams and entire departments or groups may submit proposals. If applying for the department/program or large group track, 2-4 key personnel should be identified. In applying for either track, a sample budget is required.

The Teaching Innovations Committee, a subcommittee of the Faculty Development Committee, housed in the Adams Center, will choose the grantees. After reviewing proposals, the committee may invite those with the most promising proposals to meet with the committee, answer questions, and expand on their ideas.

Successful submissions will move into Phase I and receive development grants to aid in developing proposals. In this process, we anticipate awarding 3-4 individual or small group grants. These awards will consist of the funds required to pay adjuncts for 2 faculty course load reductions used during the year (max $6,000). Grantees will also be given the opportunity to request up to $3,000 of additional funding for travel, equipment, and support.

The department/program or large group track award is intended to fund a project of substantial scope and import. As such, this award will consist of approximately $15,000-25,000 to be used for faculty course reductions, faculty summer stipends, or travel, equipment, and support costs. Given the investment this award represents, the large group track award should align with one or more of the following strategic areas, which have been identified as key sites for innovation at ACU:

  1. Reimagining the role of the faculty
  2. Competency-based education within a program or group of classes
  3. Experiential learning
  4. Course delivery
  5. Degree completion and/or retention

Given the scope of this award, we recommend you consult with the program director (Joyce Haley) or one of the members of the Teaching Innovations Committee before submission.

Student academic performance as measured by grades and other student learning outcome metrics are important components of evaluating the project’s success; thus, before beginning their project, faculty will be expected to meet with the Program Director to consider the design of the project, plans for project evaluation, and how to ensure quality instruction and course design.

At the end of the grant cycle (one academic year), recipients of Phase 1 funding must provide a written report with evidence of improving student academic performance while maintaining the quality of instruction. Evidence to be shared in the report includes:

  1. Final grade distributions with redesigned courses, and comparisons to grades from students in the pre-redesign course or other, non-redesigned sections of the course.
  2. Quality assurance measures, including documentation of regular consultation with the Program Director during both redesign and implementation of the new course. If the redesigned course is blended or online, all faculty involved in teaching/leading the course must have completed the Adams Center Online Teaching Certification program and the trainings and workshops offered through the program.
  3. Documentation of participation in consultation with academic support staff, trainings and workshops as recommended by the Program Director.
  4. Evaluation of the project’s ability to meet its targeted goals related to increasing learning outcomes, increasing efficiency, and/or increasing revenue.

After the first year of the program, each proposal funded through Phase 1 will have an opportunity to apply for further funding, explaining how the project will be expanded and scaled. The committee will evaluate each proposal funded through Phase 1 to determine if goals have been met and choose which proposals will be funded for future years.

Questions about the application process can be directed to Joyce Haley, program director of the 20/20 grant program.