Call for Proposals: Curriculum (Re)Design Grants

Applications for the 2022 Grants due February 14, 2022

The Center for Teaching Excellence invites departments, programs, and schools (hereafter “units”) to apply for grants to support significant curriculum design or redesign (hereafter “design”). Successful applicants will receive personalized support from an experienced CTE-led team throughout the curriculum design process and up to $15,000 in funds to support curriculum design efforts. In addition to a CTE faculty member with expertise in curriculum design, the CTE team includes a postdoctoral fellow who can lead curriculum-related data gathering and analysis, as well as partners from the offices of Organizational Excellence (OE) and Institutional Research and Analytics (IRA) who have expertise in managing change and assessment, respectively.

Eligibility | Funding | Expectations | How to Apply


Eligibility

Any UVA unit responsible for a credit-bearing curriculum is eligible to apply. The unit must be embarking upon either the design of a new curriculum or the redesign of an existing curriculum. The nature and scale of the design may vary: examples include an undergraduate major or minor, a graduate degree program, or a concentration or certificate program. The unit may be designing a new program from scratch, may be fully redesigning an existing curriculum, or may be redesigning some part of an existing curriculum (e.g., incorporating one or more new learning outcomes throughout the curriculum, or redesigning a subset of courses). In order to constitute curriculum design, the project must involve more than three classes.

There are a range of motivations to design new and revise existing curricula, including but not limited to desires to respond to changes in enrollments, faculty personnel, and the academic field itself. There is also pressing need to reimagine curricula to redress historic and structural inequities that have persisted throughout higher education. In the grant selection process, we will prioritize applications from units where equity and justice, particularly around race, is a motivating factor in the (re)design.

The unit should be ready to begin the curriculum design by spring or summer of 2022. Units should have begun laying groundwork for the curriculum design (such as preliminary understanding of needs and goals for the curriculum and ensuring all faculty are aware of the plan to undertake the work), but units that have substantially begun their design work are not eligible to apply. If you have questions about whether your work has progressed past the point where you would benefit from engaging in our process, please reach out to Elizabeth Dickens to discuss your situation.

Curriculum design is a significant undertaking, and applying units must demonstrate commitment to the work from the chair/program director/dean (as relevant) and a significant number of faculty, representing different constituents in the unit.

 

Funding

The CTE support is designed to ensure that the unit’s commitment of time and resources is put to most effective use: by combining CTE expertise in the design process with the unit’s subject matter expertise, we can help units design the curriculum they want, more efficiently and effectively than they could do on their own. The Curriculum (Re)Design Grant provides the unit with the following:

  • Overall project management by a CTE faculty member, including regular consultation on all aspects of the curriculum design process.
  • Consultation with OE staff on managing a complex change process and with IRA staff on aligning new or revised curriculum and assessments with existing curriculum and assessment efforts and reporting requirements.
  • Access to a postdoctoral fellow, paid and managed by the CTE, who can assist with data collection and analysis, as well as other curriculum design support.
  • Up to $15,000 in funds to support curriculum design efforts. Possible uses for the funds include: funding to support the faculty leading the design efforts, as research funding or as part of a course release or administrative supplement; funding to pay for departmental curriculum design retreats; funding to hire a graduate student to conduct curriculum-related research; or funding to hire a graduate student or administrative staff person to support the logistics of the design process. These are not the only possible uses of the funding, and applying units should feel free to suggest other uses that would support their curriculum design efforts.

 

Expectations

The unit must assemble a committee of between three and five faculty members who will be primarily responsible for leading the design work from within the unit and for liaising with the CTE team. This committee should include faculty representation from different constituents of the curriculum, should have the support of unit leadership, and should be prepared to devote a substantial amount of their service responsibilities to the work for a period of 12-24 months, depending on the scale of the design project. The committee should be prepared to meet regularly (approximately twice a month during the semester, depending on the pace of the work) with the CTE team.

Several times throughout the design process, the entire unit must meet for curriculum design-related half-day retreats. The unit will be responsible for scheduling these at times that will best accommodate the majority of its faculty. The curriculum committee will also require occasional time at regular unit faculty meetings.

Curriculum design involves a great deal of information to manage and meetings to schedule. Consequently, the unit is responsible for providing a person who will coordinate the logistics of the design process, coordinating with the unit curriculum committee, the CTE team, and periodically all unit faculty. A faculty member on the curriculum design committee may take this on as part of their work, it may become part of the duties of an existing unit administrative staff person, or the unit may choose to hire someone (including potentially a graduate student) to take on this role. The CTE faculty lead can help guide the meeting agendas, but the responsibility for organizing and scheduling lies with the participating unit.

Curriculum design requires support from unit leadership, and the chair/program director/dean (as relevant) must commit to the design process, including a commitment to financially support any activities not covered by the grant.

It is understandable and expected that unit faculty may have a range of perspectives on the curriculum’s direction; the design process focuses in large part on gathering input from all faculty involved in the curriculum and creating an outcome that will represent their viewpoints. Regardless of differing views on the result of the curriculum design, the faculty involved in the curriculum must in large part agree to engage in the process. Attempts by one group of faculty to redesign a curriculum over the objections of a substantial group of their peers are unlikely to be successful; the CTE will not proceed with support in these types of situations.

 

How to Apply

Applications are due Monday, February 14, 2022. Interested units are encouraged to contact Elizabeth Dickens at edickens@virginia.edu to discuss their project prior to completing the proposal. We also encourage you to complete this short readiness self-assessment as you are deciding whether to apply; you will include it in your application material.

  1. A proposal narrative outlining characteristics of the unit and the curriculum to be designed or redesigned, as well as the concrete plans for how the unit will undertake the work. Please use this template for the narrative.
  2. The completed curriculum design readiness self-assessment.
  3. A proposed budget for up to $15,000 in grant funding to support curriculum design efforts.
  4. A summary of recent assessment data for the program, most recent program review findings that pertain to the curriculum to be (re)designed, and any data that have already been collected that may pertain to the curriculum design process (as relevant). These might include graduate exit surveys, alumni surveys, departmental SERU results, etc.
  5. A letter from the unit head supporting the curriculum design project. This should state a willingness to financially support any activities not covered by the grant funding.

All pieces of the application should be submitted via email to Elizabeth Dickens by Monday, February 14.

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