/ General Education

Call for Proposals

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grand Challenges Initiative at Hope College

This presidential initiative will support Hope faculty members to develop collaborative courses, across divisions, that address a “Grand Challenge.” They will be opportunities to implement convergent teaching and scholarship, as set out in objective 1.3 of Hope’s Strategic Plan, while using high-impact practices such as experiential education (objective 1.1) and cultivating engagement with a wider public. These linked courses may also afford new opportunities for students to encounter the intellectual content of the historic Christian faith (objective 1.5/2.3) in an interdisciplinary context focused on a “Grand Challenge.”

Each group of linked courses will include at least one that is part of the General Education program, so that over the course of the grant we will build “pathways” through the curriculum that help students integrate their learning and build a stronger sense of agency and direction that extends beyond their major (see the AACU’s General Education Maps and Markers initiative).

“Grand Challenges” might include, but are not limited to, those listed in the grant proposal: post-conflict reconciliation, environmental justice, religious coexistence, freedom of speech, the pursuit of happiness, the preservation of history and cultivation of aesthetic beauty. Other “Grand Challenges” might emerge from areas and topics such as social justice (immigration, income inequality, racial profiling); vocation and service; globalization; health and wellness; peacemaking and reconciliation; food studies; environmental sustainability; global area studies (Asian, African, Latin American); sport/recreation/play; and American ethnic and religious studies. The committee welcomes proposals that address other topics related to the important issues facing the world in which our students are going to live and work. Previously funded projects are described on the Initiative’s website; faculty members may consider collaborating with existing teams

Support for course design and implementation also is meant to stimulate pedagogical innovation in areas such as assessment, project-based learning and public-facing, digital scholarship (building on the strategies developed by the Mellon Scholars Program).

Who is eligible?

  • All full-time, renewable Hope College faculty members who have not been funded previously by this initiative.

What is expected?

  • Course development relating to a “Grand Challenges” theme.
    • In the third round (1 November 2017), the committee is looking for proposals that can begin at least partial implementation in fall of 2018. 
    • In the fourth round (1 April 2018), for spring of 2019, and so on.
  • Must involve one cross-divisional partnership, but more are desirable.
  • Must involve two faculty members, each teaching one course, but three or more are desirable. At least one team member should be from the Arts and Humanities divisions.
  • Must include at least one General Education course, but more are desirable.
  • Should be courses that can be taught on annual basis or at least biennially.
  • Should involve cross-teaching (e.g., shared modules in the other faculty members’ courses, team teaching all or part of a course, etc.), even if those courses are not taught during the same term.
  • Should involve experiential components (e.g., collaborative research, internships, field work, engagement with staff and external partners, etc.).
  • Should have public-facing elements (e.g., poster presentations, showcases, Websites, participation in external conferences).
  • Should involve innovative assessment across linked courses (e.g., eportfolios).
  • Should have the potential for engagement with students from the courses in a summer research program beginning in 2018 (see below).
  • Grantees will be supported by an incubator program for course and faculty development. Topics may include e-portfolios, website design, collaborative teaching, public-facing projects and assessment strategies. 

What support is available?

  • Up to $6,000 for stipends and expenses for each new or redeveloped course for each participating faculty member.
  • $1,000 for each subsequent offering of the course. Can be received twice within the timeframe of the grant (spring of 2019 or 2021 if the grant is extended).

How do we apply?

  • Second round due: 1 April 2017. Third round: 1 November 2017. Fourth round: 1 April 2018. Four additional rounds may be offered if there is sufficient engagement and the initiative is extended by the Mellon Foundation.
  • Applicants should schedule a preliminary review with the directors before submitting their final proposals.
  • The proposal should include:
    • A cover sheet with a title, brief abstract, the names and department affiliations of the proposers, and the signatures of the relevant department chairs and program directors indicating awareness of the proposal and confirming the availability of the faculty members to teach the proposed courses and support for any costs of repeated offerings of the course beyond what is funded by the grant (e.g., field trips, lab supplies).
    • A description of no more than five single-spaced pages including
      • The proposed courses and an implementation timeline.
      • How the project will address the expectations listed above
      • Expected benefits for faculty on the team and students who take the courses
      • Availability of the collaborators for the elements of the proposal
      • Whether you have or are seeking other funding that affects this proposal.
      • Allocation of funding for expenses and stipends.
  • Proposals will be evaluated based on meeting the expectations listed above, especially relevance to the Grand Challenge theme, intellectual merit, innovation, interdivisional and interdisciplinary engagement, expected student demand, impact on general education and faculty development, and stewardship of resources.
  • Proposals from individual faculty members seeking to join previously funded projects should address the same criteria with respect to the newly proposed course and how the proposer will collaborate with the already existing team. The proposal should include signatures from the existing team members. 
  • Send the final proposal in a single PDF file to pannapacker@hope.edu and gruenler@hope.edu.

What about the Summer Research Program?

  • Beginning in the summer of 2018, faculty members and students, selected from “Grand Challenge” courses by the faculty participants, may submit proposals for funding to work on cross-divisional projects during the summer term.
  • Funding is currently available for the summers of 2018 and 2019. The opportunities may continue for at least two years if the grant is extended.
  • Faculty members normally will receive $250 per week for part-time mentoring and collaboration; students will receive the standard hourly rate for their engagement with the project. Some expenses may be covered if approved in advance.

The Directors and the Steering Committee, in consultation with the Mellon Foundation and the appropriate institutional stakeholders, expect to make adjustments to this call as new opportunities and issues develop in the course of implementation.

Questions about the Mellon Grand Challenges Initiative should be directed to William Pannapacker (Senior Director) or Curtis Gruenler (Director of General Education). The other members of the grant review committee are Sandra Visser (Dean for the Arts and Humanities), Jonathan Hagood (Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning), Marissa Doshi (Assistant Professor of Communication), Kelly Jacobsma (Director of Libraries) and Will Polik (Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship).