University | Teaching | Initiative

Faculty Senate Initiative to Promote Excellent Teaching

2000-2001 Request for Proposals
Deadline: February 1, 2000.

Application Guidelines  | Application Format  | Technology Guidelines

The Faculty Senate's initiative to promote excellent teaching is a three-year pilot project. With the Provost's funding at an annual level of $100,000, this initiative will allocate grants up to $5,000 as widely as possible on a competitive basis among schools and departments. Last year, we were able to fund 31 proposals, representing approximately two-thirds of the proposals submitted. Individuals, departments, and schools are encouraged to propose methods for improving the evaluation of teaching,
the development of teaching skills among faculty and TAs, and/or incentives for excellent teaching. Emphasis will be given to undergraduate teaching, while not excluding projects aimed at improving graduate teaching. This initiative offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve teaching in all its manifestations at the University. An annual forum organized by the teaching Resource Center gives participants in this program an opportunity to share their successes with colleagues throughout  the University.

The Senateís Academic Affairs Committee will review proposals in conjunction with the Office of the Provost, and awards will be made by the Office of the Provost. The application deadline is February 1, 2000. The funds will be available from July 1, 2000, for the fiscal year 2000-2001.

Application Guidelines

1. Proposals for these teaching grants (up to $5,000) may be submitted by individuals, departments, and schools. Proposals must address one or more of the following categories, which were targeted in the University Self-Study and the Faculty Senate's conversation on Teaching: teaching evaluation, teaching development, and teaching incentives. Proposals should be accompanied by a brief departmental or decanal recommendation and priority ranking.

2. To fund as many worthy proposals as possible, the committee will give preference to those that will accomplish the most with the least funding and that have the most innovative ideas. Preference will also be given to projects whose benefits will endure beyond the period of funding. Because of the Faculty Senateís focus this year on the relationship between scholarship and teaching, projects that enhance this relationship will be especially welcome. Projects that merely update text and course material  will not be funded. In addition, faculty funding is given only for projects that go beyond what a faculty member would normally expect to do. Funding cannot be used as salary support for faculty, but must be used for other expenses of the proposal.

a) For clarification, we offer just a few examples of low-cost activities that may be funded: summer wages for a graduate student to assist in redesigning class discussion section topics for a large lecture course; cost of implementing Web-based applications to enhance teaching and/or course-based teacher and student interactions; electronic slide archives; revision of a department's curriculum; workshops for teaching assistants on an annual basis; cost of producing a department handbook of effective teaching; cost of needed teaching materials, such as maps, software, slides; wages for a graduate student's processing student course evaluations to create faculty and department evaluation profiles.

b) Here are a few examples of faculty or departmental activities that might be funded: establishing a departmental teaching committee; creating or enhancing a faculty mentoring program and/or peer review procedures; joint interdisciplinary teaching; revising student evaluation forms to create a faculty and department profile.

c) To see the titles and descriptions of the projects that have been funded in the last two years, visit the University Teaching Initiative Web Site.

3. Recipients of Teaching Initiative grants must be willing to present and discuss their project at the fall forum and will submit to the Academic Affairs Committee by May 1, 2001 a final report on the project, including a budget expenditure report.

Applications should take the following form and be limited to two pages in length. The Committee will also expect a year-end report.

I. Describe the project, including starting date and ending date. Explain how the project will promote excellence in teaching in one or more of the following categories: evaluation of teaching, development of teaching, incentives for excellent teaching. Explain the projectís potential long-term benefits. If your project will facilitate the connection between your research and teaching interests, please explain how it will do so.

II. Identify the target group or groups of faculty members, students, and/or TAs who will benefit directly from this project.

III. Itemize project cost and any department cost sharing. Student compensation should be budgeted at the standard rate in your department.

IV. Itemize support for the project, including faculty activities and utilization of pertinent University resources. If you plan to include in your proposal such units as the Teaching Resource Center and/or the Robertson Media Center and its Digital Media Lab (formerly the New Media Center and the Digital Media Center), you must contact the staff of the relevant unit to discuss your ideas before submitting your proposal. In addition, you must include with your proposal a "notice of commitment" by a representative of the relevant unit.

V. Attach your department or decanal approval of the proposal in the form of a brief recommendation. The department or school recommendation should rank or prioritize its proposals and list any department or school support, including cost sharing.

VI. List the name of the primary contact person (with title, telephone number, e-mail, department and school address).

Applications are due on February 1, 2000. They should be sent to Frances Peyton, Administrative Assistant to the Faculty Senate, The Rotunda, or by e-mail at

Guidelines for costs of technology

You may want to refer to the budget guidelines for technology projects that were developed for the  "Teaching + Technology Initiative." These guidelines can be found on the Web at the following address:

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Updated January 2000.