“To better understand teaching and learning through discipline based inquiry.”
The Faculty Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grants Committee is requesting proposals for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Grants. The committee awards grants to individual faculty members, departments, colleges, programs, academies, or standing committees to support them in projects that will examine and reflect upon the teaching and learning practices in their discipline in a systematic way by using research methods and by making the results known to the campus community and beyond. Such projects may be aimed at making significant curricular reforms, designing new curricula, conducting research that informs teaching and learning at the local (course, department, college, university) level, or initiating activities that would improve the quality of instruction in the undergraduate and graduate programs of the unit or the campus. The SoTL Grants Committee is particularly concerned with funding projects which have measurable outcomes and will demonstrate evidence of success to the UNC Charlotte teaching and learning community (e.g., see the past proposals that were successfully funded).
Full-time faculty on continuing appointments for the following academic year are eligible, including Library faculty members. Faculty serving on the Faculty SoTL Grants Committee are not eligible to apply for or be included on a SoTL Grant. SoTL Grants will be awarded to individual faculty, departments, colleges, programs, academies, standing committees.
The SoTL Grants program is intended to fund projects that can be completed within one year, ideally, or within two years when project needs dictate, or to initiate projects that will be continued with funding from other resources.
Individual faculty/departments/programs/colleges/academies/standing committees must complete all previous SoTL projects before applying for a new SoTL Grant. These units must also ensure that all required reports (e.g., detailing their progress, any evaluation to date, and methods of dissemination) for prior projects have been submitted before applying for future SoTL funding.
If you have any questions about eligibility to apply for these grants, please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning at ext. 7-8080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadlines & Important Dates
Proposals must be submitted electronically (see Proposal Submission Process below) to the Center for Teaching and Learning (email@example.com) no later than 3:00 PM on Monday, November 30, 2020. To be considered for funding, you must include a letter of support from your college dean as part of your proposal.
Special Requirements for 2020-2021*
As we are all aware, the state budget cuts have impacted almost all entities on campus, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Grants program is no exception. The Committee recommends that grant seekers write their budgets with the recent budget issues in mind (for example, in 2009 the state allowed spending on salary but not equipment or travel; while you are free to include budget items for non-salary, be aware of possible changing state guidelines during the year). In addition, all projects may be subject to budget adjustments made by the committee or by the Academic Affairs Budget Office, especially in light of state budget freezes or spending moratoria. All 2020-2021 SoTL projects should be one-year projects. Exceptionally, travel will be allowed to be included and will be deferred until the following year (2021-2022). Typically, most proposals ask for summer stipends, which would be disbursed on May 15, 2021 (funding for other budget items will be disbursed on January 15, 2021). (*NOTE: The requirements contained in this section supersede any other requirements or limitations below.) Please be sure to also review the Budget Guidelines page for additional information.
The purpose of the SoTL Grants program is twofold:
- To fund instructional research projects that will benefit the UNC Charlotte teaching and learning community
- To ensure that the results of the instructional research projects are shared and disseminated among the UNC Charlotte community
In essence, you are applying for funding for an instructional project that personally interests you or your proposal team, but the project must also be of value to and have impact on the campus. To that end, it is an important part of the granting process that you explicitly detail how you will make your findings known. Grant recipients will be expected to participate in sharing the results of their project in a public forum, including but not limited to a poster session or a presentation during UNC Charlotte’s Teaching Week (or similar campus symposium or event arranged through the Center for Teaching and Learning), professional journals, and professional conferences.
Suggested Areas of Focus
Priority will be given to proposals which focus on one or more of the following areas of current needs:
- Engaging students in online and hybrid learning. Projects that study the use of different instructional methods and tools to engage students in online and hybrid learning. For example, projects could study the use of online group activities, the effect of using short instructor-created videos, or the effect of soliciting frequent student feedback via PollEverywhere, among many other options.
- Bigger projects involving bigger research teams. Projects that may go beyond a course and instead examine department/program/college impact; this could be student engagement and/or outcomes across a sequence of courses or that looks at student engagement and/or outcomes at the department/program/college level; this could also take a broader look at teaching practices with regards to student engagement and/or outcomes within a particular student demographic range (e.g., underclassmen, first-generation students, transfer students, full time or part time students, URM students, etc.) to go beyond a single course.
Other possible areas for SoTL research:
- Measuring impact of active learning classrooms on student success
- Increasing student retention, progression, and graduation rates
- Improving access for specific groups of students or to specific programs
- Improving learning outcomes
- Other areas which have direct linkage to Academic and Institutional Plans
The projects may use qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods, but the focus should be on systematic inquiry with the obligation to publish and share the measurable outcomes with peers both within and beyond UNC Charlotte. The SoTL Grants Committee strongly recommends that you look at the abstracts and proposals of past winners that were funded.
How To Generate Ideas and Conduct SoTL Research
We have prepared a primer on SoTL and how it is typically carried out:
- What Is SoTL?
- How Do I Plan a SoTL Study?
- What Do Past Funded Projects at UNC Charlotte Look Like?
- What Are the Journals in My Discipline That Publish SoTL Results?
If you have never conducted this kind of research before, we suggest that you plan early and reach out to others who have. This kind of collaborative effort is at the heart of SoTL inquiry.
Funds may be requested for expenses directly related to the project, such as materials, supplies, student assistants, travel (to be deferred until 2021-2022) communications, honoraria, printing, and equipment. Exceptionally, travel will be allowed to be included and will be deferred until the following year (2021-2022). Proposed budgets typically range from $2,500 to $25,000.
Historically, the budget for the SoTL Grants program has come from Academic Affairs and has typically consisted of no less than $70,000 for the academic year. There is no predefined limit on how much an individual grant proposal may request; however, bear in mind that the program typically funds multiple worthy projects among the campus. Additional funds may be made available specifically designated for projects designed to improve retention, progression, and graduation.
Format of the Proposal
Each proposal must be typed and include the following components, in order:
- Title Page, stating title of project and the faculty members and unit(s) involved, centered on the page.
- An Abstract of the project, not to exceed 250 words. What pedagogical issue or teaching innovation would you like to investigate? The abstract should be a concise summary of the project and must include your intended outcomes/ objectives, explain why they are valuable to the university and the unit, and highlight the plans and methods for achieving the project goals.
- A completed Budget Request Form for SoTL Grants [DOCX 19 KB], including a required Budget Narrative, which must describe how you will use the funds requested. Matching funds from department or college sources should be listed, if provided. (Please refer to the Special Requirements listed above when creating your budget and the Budget Guidelines page for additional information.)
- A Letter of Support that has been signed by the administrator responsible for the unit submitting the proposal (e.g., your college dean). If it is a joint proposal that involves more than one college, you must include a letter of support from each.
- The Project Narrative, typed and double-spaced and not to exceed 2500 words (excluding references/citations, the abstract, and the budget worksheet), which must describe the project explicitly and address each of the following areas:
- Specific Aims
This section should contain the following elements:
- The overall purpose of the project
- The specific objectives to be achieved
- A statement of the specific research questions to be answered as a result of the project
- The rationale for the proposed project, plainly illustrating why it should be funded. This section should put the project in context: identify the problem to be addressed and the relation of the project to applicant’s unit’s mission, objectives, and priorities. Any planning, pilot work, or prior observations that support the project should be included.
- The impact of the study on undergraduate or graduate teaching and learning (e.g., the benefits to student learning and success, the number of students to be served, etc.).
- Literature Review
A brief review of the relevant literature should illustrate that your project is grounded in research and will demonstrate your knowledge of the issues involved in your problem. It will also indicate your ability to synthesize recent literature in your project area and will provide a conceptual framework for your project. The literature review will also help convince the Grant Committee of the need and/or novelty of the project and that the results of the project have the potential to be published or presented in a relevant forum.
The literature review should be well organized and engaging to read. We suggest using subheadings to make the literature review coherent and easy to follow.
The methods section must explain your overall project plan and all the activities required to complete the project. Be sure to explain why you have selected of this approach and how it will support your project.
Your proposal must persuade the Faculty SOTL Grants Committee that the project is well planned. The methods should be presented in sufficient detail to allow the Grants Committee to understand the steps that will be required to complete the project. The Committee is concerned that your methodological approach is valid and reliable and will, in fact, address the stated needs of the project. Be sure to include any potential limitations that may occur with the proposed methodology and what steps you will take to rectify any potential problems.
The expected outcomes and impact of your project are extremely important. Your proposal must describe to the committee how you will assess the success of your project. Your proposal must detail what you will measure, how you will measure it, and why the measures are appropriate. Include a description of the data collection, instrumentation, and/or statistical methods you will use.
The evaluation section must clearly indicate how your evaluation methods are directly linked to your intended outcomes and project objectives. Both formative and summative evaluations should be included, as appropriate.
- Knowledge Dissemination
This grant program is a professional development opportunity. Grants must describe how the results of the project will be communicated to the UNC Charlotte community, and if applicable, how the results will be communicated to the field. You should list the target audiences with which you plan to share your results, such as the specific journals and conferences and so forth. (See Requirements for Grant Recipients below.)
- Human Subjects
While much of SOTL research may be considered exempt research, "in accordance with federal regulations and UNC Charlotte policy, ALL University research projects involving the use of human subjects or the use of human subjects data must be reviewed and approved in advance by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Research with Human Subjects. This requirement applies to all research projects regardless of the granting agency or the institution to which they are being submitted for funding, and includes those supported by University funds or those without funding." (See more information at the UNC Charlotte Human Subjects in Research website).
Your grant proposal must explain the steps you have taken (and/or plan to take) in the IRB process (e.g., including but not limited to completing and submitting the Human Subjects Protocol Form, receiving IRB review status, having been assigned a protocol number, etc.).
- Extramural Funding
If you will be seeking extramural funding for this project, please list the programs and agencies and specify how SOTL funds will be leveraged to enhance the overall project. For example, a SoTL project could serve as a pilot test for a larger, externally funded project.
Provide a timeline of proposed project activities, from start to finish. An annotated list of dates and activities is the preferred format.
- Specific Aims
Proposals must be submitted electronically as a single PDF via this Google Form (https://tinyurl.com/sotl-2020) to the Center for Teaching and Learning no later than 3:00 PM on Monday, November 30, 2020.
The following requirements must be met for your proposal to be considered. Any failure to meet these requirements will result in your proposal not being considered by the Committee--NO EXCEPTIONS:
- The file format must be PDF. If you do not know how to create a PDF, please contact your college IT support for assistance, several days in advance of the deadline. Microsoft Word Documents will not be accepted.
- The proposal and all supporting documents must be submitted together as a single PDF file which contains everything--the support letter from the dean, the budget documents, charts, tables, graphs, etc., all combined into a single file.
- Page numbers are required on each page of the proposal, throughout the entire submitted document.
- The file must be named (i.e., "save as") using only the last name of each author, separated by a single hyphen--e.g., Doe-Smith-Johnson.pdf. Do not include any extra characters, numbers, etc.
- The deadline is 3:00 PM sharp. If you are concerned that your email may be received a few minutes late, you may want to aim for an hour earlier, so that your RFP will beat the deadline.
The SoTL Grants Committee will review and rank proposals based on their overall quality, such as the importance and impact of the proposed project, the clarity and completeness in addressing components of the proposal; the degree to which the budget supports the project goals, the extent of impact on student learning, the congruence with unit, college, and campus academic plans; and the clarity of the plan for evaluation of the project and use of the results. The Committee will use a standard scoring rubric on all proposals. We encourage you to review this rubric to better understand what may make your proposal successful. NOTE: Any proposal that exceeds the word limit described above will not be considered by the committee, nor will proposals be considered if they do not follow the submission process correctly.
Notification of awards will be made in December. Funding for project expenses will be available on January 15, 2020, and must be expended by June 30, 2021. Faculty stipends will be included in the May 15 payroll. A final report on activities is due to the Center for Teaching and Learning on June 15, 2021.
Requirements for Grant Recipients
If your proposal is funded, in whole or in part, you agree that your proposal, final report, and any related output may be published on a UNC Charlotte SOTL website and other appropriate UNC Charlotte communications. Furthermore, you will be required to present your findings during UNC Charlotte’s Teaching Week or similar venue provided by CTL during the 2018-19 academic year (e.g., poster session, roundtable discussion, or formal presentation). Any publications or presentations resulting from a SoTL award should credit the UNC Charlotte Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Program.
- Budget Form [DOCX, 19 KB]
- Budget Guidelines
- Scoring Rubric [PDF, 55KB]
- SoTL Resources and Publications:
- UNC Charlotte's Human Subjects in Research
- SoTL Project Report
Questions and Comments
If you have any questions about the grants program or proposal process, please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 704‑687‑8080 (ext. 7-8080 on campus).