U-M set to award funding for programs that transform education


The university is offering faculty and staff grants ranging from $100,000 to $3 million for programs that take engaged education to the next level. 

James Holloway, vice provost for global and engaged education, announced Thursday that the Office of the Provost is seeking proposals for the first Transformation Grants, established as part of the Third Century Initiative to fund programs that represent “large-scale changes to instruction and/or infrastructure.”

Eligible programs are those that will enable faculty and staff to implement new learning approaches that are sustainable and replicable.

“As a large residential institution and a place of discovery, we believe that the U-M provides an outstanding platform from which engaged student learning experiences can be launched, in which students learn to wrestle with complex, ambiguous and authentic problems, and in which they come to embrace working in teams, wherein diverse perspectives are the key to finding good outcomes in attacking that problem,” Holloway said.

“Our goal is to develop these opportunities at large scale, with experiences ranging from engagement within existing classroom structures to civic engagement in Detroit, to educational experiences all around the globe. All of this for literally thousands of students annually.”

Following the success of two other grant programs for the development of engaged learning courses and opportunities, the Transformation phase is focused on department, division or college-level changes that evidence shows will favorably impact the education of students.

 “These proposals do not have to be from people who already have received one of these other grants. It’s open to all who have big ideas, and who can demonstrate the transformational impact,” said Melanie Sanford, Moses Gomberg Collegiate Professor of Chemistry and chair of the steering committee for the initiative.

The president and provost announced the Third Century Initiative in 2011, as leaders began to plan for the university’s 2017 bicentennial and set a course for teaching and scholarship in the new century.  They allocated $25 million to fund student learning under a program called Transforming Learning for the Third Century (TLTC).

To further cement the commitment to transforming the student learning experience, Holloway was named to direct the global and engaged education effort within the Office of the Provost. U-M leaders also made engaged learning a goal in the current $4 billion Victors for Michigan campaign, announced in the fall.

To date the TLTC team, consisting of faculty and staff from across U-M, have awarded five rounds of Quick Wins and three rounds of Discovery grants. Quick Wins are small-scale, easily ready courses or programs eligible for funding up to $25,000. Discovery grants provide up to $50,000 for projects that allow a general education hypothesis to be explored and planned or piloted.

The timetable to apply for a Transformation grant is:

• Letter of intent due May 30.

• Written proposal due Aug. 29.

• Oral presentations and discussions (if requested by the review committee) during September and October.

• Award notification, mid- to late fall.


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