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How to Apply

The Hrabowski Fund for Innovation currently supports initiatives to enhance teaching and learning at UMBC, with specific emphasis on innovative approaches to increase the success of our undergraduate and graduate students. Such approaches may include, but are not limited to, redesign of courses or other learning experiences, innovative course and/or curriculum development and other projects designed to improve or understand student-learning outcomes at the UMBC. Proposals that aim to understand the effectiveness of existing pedagogical strategies at UMBC will also be accepted. Proposals that deal exclusively or primarily with content revision to courses or curricula are not appropriate to this competition.

The competition is open to all tenured and tenure-track faculty, clinical instructional faculty, lecturers and instructors, and staff with full-time appointments. Proposals for funding may be made by individuals or by collaborative groups.

1. Awards

For AY13-14, a total of approximately $100,000 in funding will be available and allocated through the competitive review of proposals by a selection committee. Awards of funding for a period of twelve months are available in two types.

Seed Awards will have a budget of less than $3,500 and will receive expedited review.

Implementation and Research Awards have a budget of $3,500 or greater up to the maximum amount of $25,000. Individual recipients and the leader of a collaborative project may use the title of “UMBC Academic Innovation Fellow” for the duration of the award. Individuals participating in a collaborative group project will be considered as members of a “UMBC Academic Innovation Collaborative.” The responsibilities of UMBC Academic Innovation Fellows are described below.

2. Proposal Development and Criteria

The proposal narrative must describe the project background, the project goals and objectives, methodology, a plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the project in reaching those goals and a start date.

Proposals should address, and will be evaluated upon, the following criteria:

  • Clear description of a well-defined project or problem to be investigated.
  • Potential impact on student success and/or broadening participation and the metrics that will be used to assess this impact.
  • Where appropriate, the relationship between the proposed methods and concepts and existing research in teaching and learning (at UMBC or elsewhere).
  • The feasibility of the project.
  • Plans for formative and summative assessment of the impact on student learning.
  • Plans for dissemination within the UMBC community including the potential of the transfer of lessons learned to other courses, disciplines and programs.

3. Proposal Submission Format and Review

Applications consist of completion and submission of the following components: the checklist page (provided), cover page form (provided), and proposal narrative.

a)    The checklist provides a convenient way to verify that the proposal is complete.

b)    The cover page form captures essential information from the proposal narrative, such as: title of the project; names of faculty and departments involved in the project; a concise summary or abstract of the project including project goals; and overall cost. The cover page requires a signature indicating endorsement of the entire proposal by the applicants’ department chair(s).

c)    The proposal narrative develops these ideas fully, clearly addressing the criteria described in section three above. The proposal narrative will include a budget justification.

Proposal narratives for seed awards (budget less than $3,500) have a maximum length of three pages including a budget justification.

Proposal narratives for implementation and research awards (budget greater, or equal to, $3,500) have a maximum length of eight pages including a budget justification with a separate detailed budget.

All applications will be reviewed and ranked by a selection panel reporting to the Provost.

After an initial screening and ranking of proposals, the review panel may require finalists who have applied for implementation and research awards to make a brief presentation to the selection panel and answer questions about their proposal.

4. Selection Panel

Members of a selection panel will review and rank the applications. The selection panel consists of:

Director of the Faculty Development Center (non-voting chair)

Voting members:

  • Three faculty, one nominated by the Dean of each college.
  • Three previously named UMBC Academic Innovation Fellows, one from each college selected by the Provost. (For AY13 competition, three Presidential Teaching and/or Regents Awardees, one from each college)

Ex-Officio members: 

  • One representative of the Provost’s office.
  • One representative of the Graduate School, nominated by the Dean.
  • One representative of the Office of Undergraduate Education, nominated by the Dean.

5. Budget

Expenses that can be covered by these grants may include, but are not limited to: supplies and equipment, programming or research assistance, fees and expenses for student field trips, honoraria for classroom guest speakers, fees and expenses for conferences or workshops directly related to teaching, and summer stipends. Applications that request funds for course releases must be discussed and endorsed by the department chair prior to submission.

The maximum award will be in the total amount of $25,000, and all awardees are responsible for appropriate use and accounting for the funds provided. All awards will be made for one year with no extensions or carry-over of funds that are not expended during the period of the award. Awardees who wish to continue or expand their projects beyond the first year should submit a new proposal prior to the end of the project.

6. Proposal Submission and Deadlines

Applications will be reviewed twice every year. For the AY13-14 competition, proposal deadlines are October 11, 2013 and February 14, 2014. Applications received after a deadline will be considered during the next round of the competition.

Application materials (proposal narrative, cover form page, and checklists) are to be submitted by e-mail to Linda Hodges at in Word format or (preferably) as a single pdf file. Hardcopy applications will not be accepted. Awards should be announced within approximately three months of the deadline for submission.

7.  Start Date

For the AY13-14 competition, proposals submitted by the October 11, 2013 deadline will officially start January 24th, 2014. Proposals submitted by the February 14, 2014 deadline will officially start July 1, 2014.

8. Expectations of All Awardees

  • Attendance and a presentation at the Provost’s Teaching and Learning Symposium.
  • Participation in regular informal meetings of the UMBC Academic Innovation Group for an exchange of ideas and experiences.
  • Within three months of project completion: a presentation and brief written report about key outcomes. These reports will be publicly displayed on UMBC’s Carnegie Grants website.

9. Additional Expectations of UMBC Academic Innovation Fellows

  • A follow-up presentation mid-project to the Deans, Provost and President
  • A poster presentation at a UMBC annual retreat.
  • If nominated, willingness to serve on the selection panel for the following year’s competition.