Mini-Grants for Experiential Learning
Due date for proposals for 2014-15 funding is June 2nd.
Do you teach a course in which learning happens outside the classroom? For instance, do your students in your course attend local cultural events, or collaborate on projects with community organizations? Or are you interested in adding such an activity to a course? Consider applying for a mini-grant for experiential learning. Many of the experiential learning opportunities faculty offer students involve off-campus activities that can be costly.
As part of the College’s strategic plan to increase experiential learning opportunities, this program will provide small (maximum $500 per course) grants to instructors to support the expenses associated with off-campus activities that take place as part of the courses they teach. Funds can be used, for instance, to support the cost of student transportation to sites off campus, or admission tickets to cultural events.
Faculty from throughout the university are eligible to apply to support the expenses associated with participation in off-campus activities associated with their courses by undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. All courses offered to undergraduates within the College are eligible. But we will consider supporting the costs of participation by College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering undergraduates in courses listed elsewhere in the University as well. For instance, if you teach a course in medical humanities in which a mix of URMC and College undergraduates enroll, you can apply for funds to support the cost of participation in off-campus activities associated with that course by those undergraduates.
To apply, submit a short (it need not be longer than 500 words) proposal via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The deadline for assistance with courses that will be offered in the Fall of 2014 and Spring of 2015 is June 2, 2014.
Your proposal should specify the course name and number for which you are applying for assistance, along with the semester during which the course will be offered.
In addition, your proposal should:
- Describe the activities for which you are requesting support.
- Include a budget for those activities that describes their total cost, specifies the amount you are requesting from this program to support those costs, and list the sources from which remaining expenses will be covered.
- Describe the learning objectives of the course and explain how student participation in the activities to be supported will contribute to attainment of those objectives.
We will announce decisions by June 13.
How we make funding decisions
We decide which proposals to fund based on the following considerations:
> Disciplinary Breadth: The goal of this program is to support and encourage community-engaged learning throughout the College. As such, we will strive to distribute these grants widely -- across Divisions and, where possible, across multiple departments within each discipline. We also strive to rotate support across multiple faculty recipients -- preferring to fund faculty who have not previously received support.
> Sources of Support: We prefer to fund projects that will combine support from our program with support from other sources -- such as department funds, outside grants, and cost-sharing by student participants.
> Community Engagement: We prefer to fund projects in which persons and organizations from the community beyond campus are genuine partners -- playing some role in the design and implementation of the learning activities for which you are requesting support.
> Experiential Learning: We aim to support activities that are well-integrated with the course’s learning objectives. To assess this, we look at the cogency of the proposal’s explanation of how the activity to be supported will contribute to the course’s learning objectives, and at the learning activities and assignments the instructor will use to help students reflect on and articulate the connections between the activity and the course material.
> Assessment and Development: We hope to support instructors in efforts to learn from student experiences in the activities we support and use what they learn to deepen the significance of student learning experiences in future courses. Thus we favor proposals that include plans for assessing the supported activities and applying the results of that assessment in the design of future courses.