The College offers several internal grants for faculty to assist in their continuing development as teachers and scholars. This section describes each of these competitive grant programs and the processes for application and review.
Generally, peer review is the process used to select proposals for recommendation to the Provost and Vice President for Educational Affairs is performed by a panel of faculty from the various schools of the College. Grants that are awarded on a "rolling basis" are reviewed by the Office of the Provost for timely funding (e.g., Academic Project Grants).
Interested applicants are urged to discuss project ideas with colleagues, the Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, the Office of the Provost, or experienced committee reviewers. Some awards have become highly competitive, making proposal rationale, clarity, and conciseness very important.
- Proposals should strictly follow the prescribed format and not exceed the length stipulated in the instructions.
A curriculum vitae is necessary only when specifically requested in the grant guidelines. A vita is helpful when it is necessary for non-specialist reviewers to assess whether the applicant is appropriately qualified to conduct the project. Vitas are not to be included with Instructional Development Fund (IDF) proposals.
- Letters of recommendation, when required, should indicate professional understanding of the proposal. A letter of generalities, a perfunctory letter, or a mere testimonial which does not speak to the value of the project from an informed perspective may actually harm the proposal. Letters from external sources are encouraged, when appropriate. Recommendation letters may be included with the proposal or sent directly to the Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, as long as they include the name of the proposer and title of the proposal.
- A dean's letter, if one is required or included with the proposal, should speak to the usefulness of the project for the school or to the proposer's ability to complete the work.
- If completion of a project will require support from Information Technology Services (ITS) or the Center for Educational Technology (CET), a memo of support from ITS/CET should accompany the proposal.
- Funded proposals and their letters of recommendation are open to inspection by future applicants. Persons asked to send letters of recommendation should be informed of this practice.
- If a partial award is to be recommended, or if there are questions concerning proposals, the Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence or a designated committee member may consult with the applicant.
- Occasionally proposals for one type of award are considered by the reviewers to be more appropriate for consideration within a different award program. Applicants will be notified when this occurs and may decline this opportunity.
Panel Selection, Composition and Role
The Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence or his/her designee invites faculty from different schools and disciplines to serve on review panels for Summer Research and IDF proposals. Some rotation of membership is attempted each year. The panels review each proposal and make recommendations to the Provost and Vice President for Educational Affairs for final approval.
The role of faculty review panels is to conduct a professional and objective appraisal of proposals. The variety of disciplines represented by applicants and among panel members and the formative purpose that underlies faculty development activity result in reviews that are sometimes more impressionistic and flexible than, for example, federal grant review. Because it is not possible for each panel to include specialists from each discipline, applicants must prepare proposals which not only withstand professional scrutiny, but describe projects in language that is comprehensible to non-specialists, avoiding reliance upon technical or dense professional vocabulary.
It should be noted that while panels make recommendations, those recommendations might not always be accepted. When the Provost and Vice President for Educational Affairs does not accept the panel's recommendation, the decision is based upon criteria, which may indicate a lack of suitability of the project to the College's needs and resources.
Awards for grant programs are recommended to the Provost and Vice President for Educational Affairs by review panels. These awards may be contingent upon the applicant complying with stipulated conditions or making specific changes in the project. Every effort will be made to expedite decisions on project funding, but delays are possible. Faculty may call the Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence to determine the status of their proposal.
Notification of the award will be made in writing from the Center for Faculty Excellence. Letters of notification are sent simultaneously to the awardee, the department chair, and school dean. At approximately the same time denial letters are sent to applicants whose projects were not approved.
Applicants who are advised to seek external funding, whether their project was awarded an internal grant or not, should seriously consider the advice. External funding is a desirable result of faculty development activities.
Internal award payment is arranged automatically in the case of salary awards. Where travel or the purchase of supplies or equipment are involved, awardees must follow specific procedures. Awards must be expended and reimbursement requests filed within the fiscal year that the activity of the award was conducted. The fiscal year begins June 1. Awards submitted after the end of the fiscal year may not be honored.
The final requirement of a College-funded study or research is the completion of a report on the outcomes of the project. This requirement should be submitted to the officer who made the award within six months of the project completion date. In addition, faculty receiving awards are expected to cooperate with requests to share work-in-progress or results with the campus community through any of the faculty development venues. Publications should acknowledge the College's support. Patentable products, if any, fall under the College's Intellectual Property Policy. For internal grants and awards, including IDF, grant funds are to be used for direct expenses of an approved project. Direct expenses include travel and related costs, and supplies.
Occasionally awards are made which include support for student workers to assist faculty with projects. All personnel/payroll arrangements involving students must be processed through the Office of Financial Aid, regardless of the student's financial aid status. It is suggested that as an inducement to participate in a research project that gift certificates be used instead of small stipends of money, i.e. $5. If, however, a researcher chooses to use money as an inducement to participate in a research project then personnel/payroll arrangements must be processed as described above.
Spending Guidelines for Internal Grants
Processing claims for payment of bills or reimbursement of travel should be done as soon as the expenses are incurred. The funds allocated for these projects are budgeted in the fiscal year for which the award is made and do not carry over to the next fiscal year. Requests for reimbursement for expenses or a bill from the vendor for merchandise or the merchandise must have been received and the invoice processed at least two weeks before the end of the fiscal year (May 31). Failure to process these expenses in a timely fashion could result in funds being unavailable for reimbursement.