/ 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. Previous grantees are now allowed to apply for additional funding; however, priority will be given to those who have not been funded before.

What is expected?

  • Course development relating to a “Grand Challenges” theme.
  • 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.

How do we apply?

  • Applicants should schedule a preliminary review with at least one of 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 six 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, previously funded faculty members and students, selected from “Grand Challenge” courses by the faculty participants, may submit proposals, on a rolling basis, to the directors, after prior consultation, for funding to work on cross-divisional projects during the summer term. Students who have not taken the faculty members’ Grand Challenges courses may also be considered if there are strong reasons for their participation.
  • Collaborative research proposals will be evaluated with respect to the same criteria as Grand Challenges course grants: cross-divisional collaboration including the arts and humanities; quality of the educational experience for the students; public-facing scholarship. They should include plans for dissemination of results. Potential to enhance repeated offerings of the courses they are related to is also a priority.
  • Faculty members normally will receive $450 per week for full-time collaboration; students will receive $8.75/hour ($350 per week) for full-time collaboration. These amounts may be pro-rated for part-time work. Some relevant expenses, in addition to stipends, totaling no more than 50% of the total request, may be included as part of the proposal in consultation with the directors. Additional expenses for international travel will be considered.
  • Partnerships with other internal and external funding sources are encouraged.
  • Proposals should include:
    • The goals of the project
    • A description of how it will be conducted, including a timeline
    • The benefits to both students and faculty
    • Plans for dissemination
    • A budget
    • Potential sources of partnership funding
  • Other scenarios (e.g. support for collaboration with students during a sabbatical) may be considered by the directors in consultation with the Steering Committee.

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 (Associate Director). The other members of the grant review committee are Sandra Visser (Dean for the Arts and Humanities), Kelly Jacobsma (Director of Libraries) and Gerald Griffin (Associate Provost).