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Calling all faculty: $81,600 of funding is up for grabs!

Here’s a great opportunity for faculty members to advance their own careers while helping first-year students.

By Mark Cox

December 8, 2016

Calling all faculty: $81,600 of funding is up for grabs!

Isn’t it nice when two problems can be solved with just one solution?

First problem: Faculty members often find that their professional development funds (only enough for a single conference visit) don’t go a long way.

Second problem: Students in the First Year Success Program could really benefit from more exposure to a wide variety of faculty from all disciplines and stages of career development.

The solution? Provide First Year Success funding to faculty, so that teaching in the program becomes embedded within a larger platform of professional development. As they teach new students, faculty members can also support their own research and creative development and progress along the tenure or post-tenure tracks.

For Lunden MacDonald, Ph.D., director of the program, the solution is a no-brainer. As she puts it, “Obviously, we want to make teaching in the First Year Success Program a more attractive prospect because that’s how we’ll attract the best teachers. And, it goes without saying, good teaching means the best outcome for our students.”

Here are the tempting academic tidbits (which will be offered beginning Jan. 6):

1. Travel grants

(Up to $1,350 per award – a total of $21,600 for the academic year)

These grants are for faculty members who would like to present work they have done with students, or simply attend a conference to improve their teaching skills. For example: Affiliate faculty member Lorna Hutchinson recently attended the Pacific and Ancient Modern Language Association conference, where she presented a paper on her own research that ties in to this year’s common reading book. She then incorporated this scholarly research into her own teaching, and first-year students directly benefitted.

2. Integrated learning community grants

(Ten faculty members are paid $1,500, and their departments get $3,000 up to a total $45,000.)

This one is impressive. Five pairs of professors from different departments get to integrate the curricula of their respective courses to give students a more immersive learning experience. (This grant also includes funding for departmental release time while the faculty involved focus on the project and their own professional development.) Two professors, Chalane Lechuga (Chicano Studies) and Bill Huddy (Communication Arts and Sciences) this year collaborated successfully to give students a multicurricular experience that included many activities and excursions.

3. Co-curricular grants

(Up to $1,500 for each event – a total of 10 grants, or $15,000 during the academic year)

This grant enables First Year Success teachers to offer additional activities or enhancements to their students. For example: When Professor Lisa Suter recently taught an English class to first-year business majors, she was also able to take them out for a pizza dinner to encourage community building. Then she took the entire class to the Tattered Cover bookstore downtown, where they met with the owner to discuss the intersection between literature and business.


Faculty members teaching in FYS in the spring can apply now for any of these grants via the First Year Success Web page. (The Integrated Learning Community grants will be live on Jan. 6)

If you want to know more, please contact Lunden MacDonald.

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