Faculty Development Call for Proposals: Fostering Innovation in Teaching and Learning in Core Courses

Fostering Innovations in Teaching and Learning in University College Core Curriculum Courses (FITL – U4C)

All too often, faculty members consider lower division, core curriculum classes a low priority and reserve their innovative ideas for courses in the major.  As a consequence, course design and instruction in core courses often preserve precedent and conform to the status quo. The primary aim of the grant is to encourage faculty to try innovative teaching and assessment techniques that address critical thinking and written communication skills.

Up to 10 grants of $5,000 each will be awarded to support this project.  Each grant recipient will receive a stipend of $4,000 and an additional $1,000 for supplies, software, workshops, and/or travel related to the teaching and learning project.

This project builds upon FSU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for SACS, Making Evidence-Based Decisions (MEBD), conducted from 2011 – 2016. The QEP supported faculty development pathways that helped faculty incorporate critical thinking and written communication skills into 300- and 400-level courses.  We used the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), and faculty developed rubrics to assess the impact of the QEP on the development of critical thinking and written communication skills.

While students showed progress on these skills on all of our assessments, the impact of the QEP was not as significant as we originally envisioned.  One conclusion of the QEP was that MEBD instructional strategies should be incorporated into University College core curriculum courses.

Rather than prescribe specific strategies to be incorporated into courses, this project encourages faculty to propose their own approaches, such as incorporating digital courseware or other technology tools, developing a “flipped” class, increasing engagement (inside and/or outside of class), integrating required academic support activities, developing new assessment methods, linking learning activities to career goals, developing alternative meeting times, or other strategies.

Proposals must explain why the proposed innovation(s) are expected to improve critical thinking and written communication skills.  While faculty are encouraged to incorporate multiple assessment methods to measure impact, the proposed course must include at least one CLA-like assessment.

Teams of two or more faculty who teach the same University College Core Course are encouraged to work together to redesign the course.  Faculty working together to redesign a commonly-taught course will expand the potential impact of the redesign.  Faculty teams may submit a single proposal.  Such proposals will be given priority in the selection process, with each member receiving the full award.

The grants will be awarded as follows:

  1. March 17: Deadline for submitting proposal
  2. April 7: Recipients notified
  3. May 15 – August 15*: Recipient will be paid $3,000 for redesign of the course upon submission of report on course redesign.
  4. September 30: Deadline for spending the $1,000 for travel, supplies, and equipment.
  5. August – December 2017: Recipient teaches redesigned course
  6. December 18, 2017 – Final report due – $1,000 paid to recipient upon receipt of final report

*The contract for this project does not preclude faculty members from teaching a full load in summer school.

Grant recipients must agree to each of the following:

  1. Employ Dee Fink’s “Self-Directed Guide for Integrated Course Design” in redesigning the course. The required report for grant recipients will be based on this framework.
  2. Meet all reporting deadlines.
  3. Provide assessment data that shows the impact of the course redesign on students’ critical thinking and written communication skills. The assessment plan must include at least one CLA-like assessment.
  4. Be willing to share the results of the project with colleagues at FSU or at professional conferences.
  5. Continue to employ in future semesters innovations that prove to be effective.

Proposal Guidelines:  Proposals must address each of the following.

  1. Faculty member(s) submitting proposal:
  2. Course to be redesigned (This course must fulfill the requirements of the University College Core Curriculum.):
  3. Approximate number of students to be affected by the redesign:
  4. Detailed description of innovation(s) to be incorporated into the course:
  5. Requested support (e.g., training, software, equipment, travel) to redesign the course:
  6. Explanation of how course redesign will improve critical thinking and written communication skills:
  7. Assessment data to be provided to demonstrate that the innovation(s) had a positive impact on critical thinking and written communication skills; (Remember that at least one assessment must be a CLA-like assessment.):
  8. Potential for redesign to be adopted by other instructors in the department:
  9. Description of the results of any previous course redesign efforts you have carried out:
  10. A letter of support from the department chair is required.

Proposal Submission Deadline:  March 17, 2017.  Submit proposals via email to Jon Young, jyoung@uncfsu.edu.