HHMI Inclusive Excellence grants were awarded to colleges and universities that proposed innovative ideas that aim to increase their capacity for inclusion of all students interested in studying science. The spirit of innovation and established record of Kenyon’s Natural Science Division in winning grants that explore student programs and pedagogies designed to increase retention, eliminate achievement gaps, and propel more students to advanced study was an important factor in the success of our HHMI IE proposal. The focus of Kenyon’s HHMI Inclusive Excellence activities are to catalyze the widespread adoption of approaches that we believe have a positive impact on inclusion so that all science students can benefit. HHMI Course Innovation Grants are intended to provide faculty with rich support as they make meaningful changes to courses and programs.
At Kenyon, teaching excellence is honored above all other characteristics of its faculty. Our value of diversity and inclusion supports the idea that inclusive teaching is an essential element of teaching excellence. Inclusive teaching takes myriad forms and depends on context. What is most effective for one faculty member, in one discipline, at a certain level of the curriculum, may be very different from another faculty member in a different situation. To embrace this reality, HHMI Course Innovation Grants will not be limited to a particular approach or pedagogical philosophy. Rather we ask those ‘on the ground’ to decide what innovation has the best chance of making a difference on the course or program with which they are engaged.
In our work as scientists and mathematicians we rely on precedent when forming our ideas and we reconcile our own conclusions with physical, natural, and mathematical realities. We would not begin a project in ignorance of what has been done before and we would not advance an idea that is not supported by data, grounded in observation, or is otherwise congruent with reality. By analogy, projects proposed in a Course Innovation Grant should be grounded in precedent and have a plan in place to measure the impact of the project so we might understand and describe to others the results of the project.
Over the past 30 years, evidence-based and data-rich pedagogical studies have been published that point to an array of approaches that seem to have a positive impact on inclusion. Course Innovation Grants will support projects that are derived from ideas described in this diverse and extensive body of literature and applied to a challenge or barrier that exists in a course or program at Kenyon. Likewise, these grants will support projects that rely on assessment to establish if the innovation has the desired impact. Such data can also be used to decide if the innovation is worthwhile and should be continued, should be refined, or should be abandoned for another approach. The hope is that this cycle of innovation, assessment, and reflection can be iterated to make continuous refinements that lead to enhanced inclusion and teaching in general in an evidence-based manner over time.
In light of the diversity of possible projects that are likely to be proposed, Course Innovation Grants will support a wide range of projects. Faculty may request stipends for their work, support for training and travel to conferences or workshops, funding for material needs or technology, or a course release to provide time during the academic year to work on the project. Course releases can also be split by faculty who opt to team-teach a course to allow each faculty member time to work on the innovation during implementation.
Proposals should be written for consideration by a committee of your peers from different departments in the Natural Science Division and should be organized in the following way:
Typically there will be four submission deadlines each year. Full proposals are those that require more advanced planning of the department(s) involved such as staffing for a proposed course release or changes to the regular course offerings of a department. To allow time for the planning needed to accommodate such proposals, deadlines will be earlier (fall deadline: Sept. 15 for projects the following spring; spring deadline: Feb. 8 for projects the following summer or fall). Modest proposals, which involve projects in existing courses already staffed by the faculty involved will not require as much advanced planning and thus have later deadlines (fall deadline: Nov. 3 for projects the following spring; spring deadline: March 26 for projects the following summer or fall). The fate of proposals will be known 2-4 weeks after submission.
Completed proposals will be submitted electronically to the Google Form at is.gd/KenyonHHMICIG. This form will collect names and departments of the applicant(s) and allow you to upload your proposal file as described above. Please make all submissions in Word format (.doc or .docx). A copy of the proposal will be shared with the chair of the department of the submitting department member(s) to ensure that they are aware of the project and plans are in place to accommodate the project in the departmental context.
One goal of Kenyon’s Inclusive Excellence initiatives is to help faculty in the division begin an iterative cycle of reflection, innovation, and assessment. If after the first cycle of this action research process the grantee would like to refine the innovation and begin a second cycle of implementation and assessment, a small stipend is available ($150). To apply for support for this repeat implementation, simply email the IE program director (Hofferberth) and consult with the office of Institutional Research (Farfan) to arrange to redeploy the assessment.
If after a first cycle of a course innovation project, the grantee is interested in expanding the implementation to include a new course and/or would like to train additional faculty to implement the innovation, an application for expanded support should be submitted for consideration by the Core Team. The expanded support application will include the following sections:
A written report will be submitted one year following the funding of an expanded CIG project (as described for the CIG report above) and will be disseminated in the same manner as the CIG projects (Natural Science Faculty Reading Group Presentation and Poster at the next Progress Retreat).
Requests for a stipend to repeat an innovation project or expanded support should be sent to the IE program director (Hofferberth) and will be reviewed on a rolling basis by the Core Team.
Contact John Hofferberth if you have questions about this program.