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Stanford’s 2017 Innovation Grants Program Now Accepting Proposals

December 9, 2016
VPTL Innovation Grant Program


Awards of up to $30,000 will support new approaches to teaching and learning with high potential impact

Stanford’s Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL) is inviting applications for its 2017 Innovation Grants Program. The program supports initiatives for course, curriculum, and digital technology development that move teaching and learning at Stanford in new directions and that advance pedagogic priorities expressed by departments and schools.
“We have supported some extraordinary faculty projects through this program, with significant impact for both residential students in the classroom and other learners who connect with campus remotely,” said John Mitchell, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning. “We’re eager to see what our faculty come up with next.”   
Previous grantees have revised undergraduate curricula, designed new minors, and broken new ground in interdisciplinary studies. For example, the program has supported faculty teams that designed the new Digital Humanities minor, reimagined the introductory course for the Program in Science, Technology & Society, created a new community-engaged learning course focused on Immigrant Youth, and enhanced the use simulations in an interdisciplinary course, International Security in a Changing World. The program has also supported online course development in areas such as economicswomen’s rights, and emergency medicine, and the creation of new technologies for digital reading and annotation and data-driven course exploration.  
Now in its sixth year, the Innovation Grants Program offers awards of up to $30,000 in two main categories. Faculty College grants bring together small faculty teams to plan, study, and develop innovative curricular and pedagogical ideas at quarterly plenary meetings. Individual Seed Grants, meanwhile, support faculty projects and offer flexibility in the development process based on the specific project’s goals. 
Funds can be budgeted for teaching assistants, instructional materials, information gathering and related travel, and staff support. Successful applicants can also draw upon a wide variety of consultative and technological resources available to them though VPTL. These include access to experts in course and curriculum design, digital learning, media production, assessment, classroom design, and the production of courses that reach both broad and specialized audiences beyond the university.
All grant proposals must be submitted by February 15, 2017, but teams and individuals thinking of submitting an application are encouraged to discuss their projects with VPTL consultants before January 31st (consultations can be scheduled here). VPTL is also offering Grant Informational Sessions on December 12, and January 9 (see below for more information).
Proposals must be led or sponsored by a full-time Stanford academic council faculty member and endorsed by the relevant department(s) and school(s). All applications will be reviewed by a leadership team within VPTL, as well as cognizant deans and department chairs. Among the criteria by which proposals will be evaluated are:
  • Impact: How does the proposed innovation draw upon Stanford’s distinctive research and scholarly strengths to positively impact the learning experiences of residential or distance learners? 
  • Innovation: How does it advance pedagogy or extend learning in ways not previously explored? 
  • Assessment/Evaluation: What might we learn about effective educational practice from this effort?  
  • Generalizability: How can this effort be used as a model and/or inform other teaching and learning activities across campus? 
  • Sustainability: What funding structures are in place to support this project at the end of the VPTL funding cycle?
  • Broadening participation: How does the project address the needs of diverse learners?  
“VPTL’s Innovation Grants Program serves our mission to improve learning at Stanford, and to create new opportunities beyond campus that are consistent with Stanford’s mission and values,” suggested Mitchell. “In a larger sense, our aim is to help all of us invent the future of Stanford together. We’re excited to do that by supporting activities that contribute to the productive evolution of the university.”

For more information, including details of the proposal submission process, proposal guidelines, and key dates, visit the VPTL Innovation Grants Program information page

A list of past VPTL Seed Grant recipients can be found here
Details of past Faculty College team project grant are archived here.