Experience-Driven Education Venture Grants

Experiential learning is in Western's DNA. Nine of 10 graduate and undergraduate students have had at least one experience that contribute to their education by graduation. The Strategic Plan calls for Western "to engage every student in experiential education" as part of the University's goal for academic excellence. 

In support of this vision, the University seeks to inspire, accelerate and scale experience-driven learning opportunities that support students in their pursuit of meaningful careers and a life well lived.

With investments from the Empowering Futures Gift and the Office of the President, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, University Advancement, Office for Business and Finance, and Division of Student Affairs, the University is seeking proposals from faculty that will:

  • Enhance and scale experience-driven learning opportunities among all students.
  • Advance and integrate the University's education, research and career-preparation missions.
  • Increase retention and graduation rates among undergraduates.

Accelerator Grants will scale and enhance programs with an existing track record of success while Incubator Grants will provide seed funding for new and nascent programs.

Learn more about each of the grants below. The deadline for each grant proposal is Friday, Dec. 1, 2023.

Accelerator Grants

 The Experience-Driven Learning Accelerator Grants will enable established programs to increase the number of students they serve and enhance the program's educational, research and career preparation impact on students. Awards will range from $5,000 to $50,000.

Eligibility

Initiatives will be led by board-appointed faculty members and may include external strategic partners or collaborators throughout the University. Initiatives must:

  • Have a track record of two or more semesters of successful implementation.
  • Complement a course or other curricular offering.
  • Integrate classroom knowledge with an applied experience.
  • Help students prepare for meaningful careers.

Expenses

Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Course materials.
  • Equipment.
  • Evaluation or assessment costs.
  • Support for a graduate assistant.
  • Release time funds to develop programs or external partnerships.
  • Student wages.
  • Travel expenses.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Additional compensation for appointed faculty or staff.
  • Recurring annual costs.

Program sustainability

Strong consideration will be given to programs and courses that:

  • Envision a path to external resources, such as external research funding, corporate partnerships, philanthropy or shared-cost models.
  • Advance Western's research mission.
  • Have specific components to support retention and graduation.

Deadline

The submission deadline for the Accelerator Grants is Friday, Dec. 1, 2023

How to apply

Please submit a proposal by Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, that includes the following:

Contact information

You will need to include your name, title, college, email address and phone number. You will also need to provide this information for any collaborators.

Program description

Briefly describe your course or program. Include an overview, brief historical background and the number of students served in one semester. If your proposal is for a program, describe how it integrates with or complements a course or other curricular offering, like independent study. Provide the course name and number when applicable.

Impact on students

Briefly describe how the course or program integrates classroom knowledge with an applied need and advances career preparation while empowering students to be competitive upon graduation.

Need

Briefly describe the financial need that will be addressed by the Accelerator Grant. How will the funding increase the number of students served and enhance your course or program’s educational, research and career preparation impact on students? 

Sustainability

Briefly describe how additional resources could set the program on a path to external support in the form of external research funding, corporate partnerships, philanthropy or shared-cost models. 

Optional components

Strong consideration will be given to proposals that advance Western’s research mission—undergraduate research, for example. Please describe how your program or course could make such contributions.  

Proposals that offer specific strategies for supporting student retention and graduation or closing the equity gap in student outcomes among historically Underrepresented Minorities (URM) will also receive strong consideration. Please describe how your course or program could accomplish these goals.  

Experiential learning can help raise the profile of the University. Strong consideration will be given to proposals that enhance the University’s distinctiveness, create stories of exceptional quality and advance thought leadership. Please describe how your proposal or program could contribute to these goals.  

Proposals may also include existing research related to the course or program. Research can be based on the program at WMU, similar programs at other institutions or research on related topics. 

Budget and timeframe

Provide an itemized budget for your request that ranges from $5,000 to $50,000. Please describe any matching funds from other sources such as the department or college. Provide a timeline for implementation with the expectation that you would receive a response to your proposal in January 2024. Funds should be fully expended by Dec. 31, 2024

Endorsement

Strong consideration will be given to proposals that have the endorsement of the department chair. Please indicate whether your chair is aware of the proposal and endorses its submission. 

Notes

The Experience-Driven Learning Accelerator Grant does not contemplate or consider curriculum or course proposals or changes. Any related impact to courses or the curriculum would be considered through established University processes and procedures.  

What's next?

Proposal responses will be provided in January 2024. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Sara Nelson, assistant vice president for strategic initiatives.

Incubator Grants

The Experience-Driven Learning Incubator Grants provide new resources for emerging experience-driven programs. Their purpose is to help new or nascent programs establish a strong footing and grow. Programs will integrate classroom knowledge with an applied need and advance career readiness. Awards will range from $5,000 to $25,000, with an option to renew for an additional $25,000.

Eligibility

Initiatives will be led by board-appointed faculty members and may include external strategic partners or collaborators throughout the University. Initiatives must:

  • Complement a course or other curricular offering.
  • Integrate classroom knowledge with an applied experience.
  • Help students prepare for meaningful careers.

Expenses

Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Course materials.
  • Equipment.
  • Evaluation or assessment costs.
  • Support for a graduate assistant.
  • Release time funds to develop programs or external partnerships.
  • Student wages.
  • Travel expenses.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Additional compensation for appointed faculty or staff.
  • Recurring annual costs.

Program sustainability

Strong consideration will be given to programs and courses that:

  • Envision a path to external resources, such as external research funding, corporate partnerships, philanthropy or shared-cost models.
  • Advance Western's research mission.
  • Have specific components to support retention and graduation.

Deadline

The submission deadline for the Accelerator Grants is Friday, Dec. 1, 2023.

How to apply

Please submit a proposal by Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, that includes the following:

Contact information

You will need to include your name, title, college, email address and phone number. You will also need to provide this information for any collaborators.

Program description

Briefly describe your program. Include an overview and the number of students who may be served in one semester. Describe how the program integrates with or complements a course or other curricular offering, like independent study. Provide the course name and number.

Impact on students

Briefly describe how the program integrates classroom knowledge with an applied need and advances career preparation while empowering students to be competitive upon graduation.

Need

Briefly describe the financial need that will be addressed by the Incubator Grant. How will the funding make the proposed program a reality?

Optional components

Strong consideration will be given to proposals that envision a path to sustainability. Briefly describe how additional resources could set the program on a path to external support in the form of external research funding, corporate partnerships, philanthropy or shared-cost models.  

Preference will be given to proposals that advance Western’s research mission—undergraduate research, for example. Please describe how your program or course could make such contributions.  

Proposals that offer specific strategies for supporting student retention and graduation or closing the equity gap in student outcomes among historically Underrepresented Minorities (URM) will also receive strong consideration. Please describe how your course or program could accomplish these goals.  

Experiential learning can help raise the profile of the University. Strong consideration will be given to proposals that enhance the University’s distinctiveness, create stories of exceptional quality and advance thought leadership. Please describe how your proposal or program could contribute to these goals.

Budget and timeframe

Provide an itemized budget for your request that ranges from $5,000 to $25,000. Please describe any matching funds from other sources such as the department or college. Provide a timeline for implementation with the expectation that you would receive a response to your proposal in January 2024. Funds should be fully expended by Dec. 31, 2024

You may also provide an initial description, to be finalized and resubmitted in a formal proposal later, for second-round funding for up to another $25,000. What markers of success would you provide in consideration of additional funding in a subsequent phase?

Endorsement

Strong consideration will be given to proposals that have the endorsement of the department chair. Please Indicate whether your chair is aware of the proposal and endorses its submission. 

Notes

Note: The Experience-Driven Incubator Grant does not replace and is not a substitution for established University processes and procedures for creating or changing courses or curricula.

What's next?

Proposal responses will be provided in January 2024If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Sara Nelson, assistant vice president for strategic initiatives.