Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund supports promising ideas proposed by faculty, staff, and students for new approaches to teaching and scholarship, as well as student-initiated proposals that enrich campus life and learning in innovative ways.

The fund enhances Grinnell’s educational excellence by encouraging innovative ways of teaching and learning. Support is offered for (1) one- to three-year, pilot projects that investigate and implement ideas initiated by creative faculty, staff, and students; and (2) one-time planning projects by a faculty/staff member or student to investigate whether an idea is feasible. The Fund fosters an agile institution by promoting an environment that is conducive to experimentation and imagination.

Annually, up to $450,000 is available for pilot projects and up to $50,000 for planning projects. 

Because the Innovation Fund is focused on teaching and learning, funding preference for faculty with projects focused on strategic planning goals and technology will be prioritized. The allocation of funds is dependent on the strength of proposals, and the number of awards is contingent on the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious proposals.

2014-15 Innovation Fund Application Deadline:

September 22, 2014, 11:59 p.m.

Innovation Fund Process

Further information about the Innovation Fund Process for 2014-15 is available.

Eligibility to Apply

Faculty, staff, and students may submit a proposal online (submission should total no longer than two pages, single-spaced). Note that the applicant must also be the project lead for a project, if funding is awarded. Therefore, for pilot projects, there is a strong preference for tenured or tenure-track faculty applicants and non-term staff applicants to ensure continuity of a project.

More than one proposal may be submitted per individual, provided that each proposal is distinct. To promote creative thinking, no project is off limits; however, the project must have the potential for significant impact on teaching or learning and:

(1) Provide an innovative way to fulfill one or more parts of the College's mission: "The College aims to graduate women and men who can think clearly, who can speak and write persuasively and even eloquently, who can evaluate critically both their own and others' ideas, who can acquire new knowledge, and who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good."

(2) Directly contribute to the success of one or more of the College's six strategic goals: Teaching and Learning; Learning Spaces; Enrollment; Post-Graduation Success; Alumni Engagement; and Financial and Human Resource Management.

While no departmental or office sign-off is needed to submit a proposal, applicants are encouraged to consult with colleagues for appropriate advice. If your proposal is accepted for further consideration, the funding committee will explore what implications your proposal may have on your department or office.

Application Length

Applications should total no longer than two pages, single-spaced. The abstract is limited to three sentences maximum. There is no limit for the budget estimate portion of the proposal. Responses to the other items may be of any length, provided that the total length of your responses does not exceed two single-spaced pages. We suggest typing your responses in a Word document so that you can easily determine when you have met the two-page limit, and to save your responses for editing and future reference. 

There are two types of funding available from the Innovation Fund: funds that are used to implement an innovative idea and funds that are used to investigate whether an innovative idea is feasible and worthy of implementation.

2012-13 Funded Projects

Expedited Deadline Projects:

Year-round, For-profit Apprenticeships in Iowa's Leading Industries
Project Contacts: Monica Chavez, Mark Peltz, Melissa Strovers
This project provides a framework for testing a for-profit apprenticeship program. Five students will work year-round with executive leadership in local companies to learn about the organizations, develop new skills, and apply their Grinnell education to meaningful projects for local employers.

Digital Asset Management
Project Contacts: Lesley Wright, Richard Fyffe, Julia Bauder, Mike Conner, Chris Jones, Cecilia Knight, Mark McFate, Kay Wilson, and Becky Yoose
The Faulconer Gallery, along with the Curricular Technology Specialists and the staff of the Grinnell College Libraries, will develop a prototype collection management system (CMS) as part of Digital Grinnell. The system created for Faulconer Gallery will be developed in such a way that it can be adapted for other collections on campus. An effective CMS created for Digital Grinnell will become the basis for future web based course projects, research on and off campus, and an expanded awareness of and utilization of primary source materials at Grinnell.

Data in Courses
Project Contact: Kathy Kamp
The goal of this project is to simultaneously facilitate the design and implementation of innovative and technologically-sophisticated coursework by Grinnell faculty and to increase Grinnell's visibility by sharing the materials Grinnell has developed via the internet. The funding will support two Data Analysis and Social Inquiry Lab (DASIL) fellowships, one full-time year-long position for a recent graduate and the other to provide a single course release for a faculty member to develop innovative materials for teaching quantitative or qualitative engagement with original data, as well as website development.

Music, Art, and English Interdisciplinary Course
Project Contacts: Dean Bakopoulos, John Rommereim, Lee Running
The project makes possible a team-taught course in composition, creative writing, and visual art to be offered in the spring of 2014. The advanced creative writing students, advanced studio art students, and advanced student composers will be developing collaborative projects, and the courses will culminate in a public performance and an exhibition.

Regular Deadline Projects:

The Impact of MAPs on Student Outcomes (pilot project)
Project Contacts: Keith Brouhle, Brad Graham
This project will investigate the impact of Mentored Advanced Projects on student academic, personal, and professional success at Grinnell and beyond.

Partners in Education: An Academic Recovery Program for First-Year Students (pilot project)
Project Contacts: Mark Schneider, Joe Bagnoli, Narren Brown, Jim Swartz
This project is designed to intervene with first-year students who have struggled academically in their first semester to build the skills and habits necessary for academic success.

Instructional Video Production Studio (pilot project)
Project Contacts: Mike Conner, Ralph Helt, Caleb Sponheim '15, Janet Carl
This project will create a modest video production studio with appropriate technology and staffing to combine necessary tools, a streamlined workflow, and knowledgeable staff to provide support in two key areas: faculty who wish to explore new technologies for increasing student engagement, and students who produce video essays or films for course work.

Artist Residency Program (pilot project)
Project Contact: Lesley Wright
Up to three artists per year will bring new work and creative processes to campus, to inspire undergraduates, to mentor faculty and staff, and to build partnerships with alumni and the surrounding community.

Crossing Cultures: A Vision for Using Technology in the Liberal Arts (pilot project)
Project Contact: Todd Armstrong
A course will be developed that will utilize teleconferencing to bring together students from Grinnell and a Russian university in semester-long collaborations, with the goal of developing cultural and linguistic competency for both sides of this virtual exchange.

ALSO Online (planning project)
Project Contacts: Claire Moisan, Mike Conner, Stephanie Peterson
This project seeks to explore the feasibility of creating online modules for the ALSO classes.

The Why Language Project: A Pre-Orientation Workshop (planning project)
Project Contact: Todd Armstrong
Design a pre-orientation workshop for entering first-year students who have minimal exposure to language study, or who less frequently study language or study abroad in college, to immerse these students in a series of activities designed to introduce them to college-level language study at Grinnell College, to assist them in transitioning from high school to college, and to help them more thoughtfully pursue and achieve success in language and international studies.

Language Learning Center: Creating a Community of Language Study at Grinnell College (planning project)
Project Contact: Claire Moisan
Plan to create a Language Learning Center (LLC) to provide faculty and students with a dedicated space to consolidate existing peer mentoring/tutoring programs and provide student workers with on-going training and supervision. It will also maintain a website/calendar with cultural and language-related campus events alongside featured language teaching and learning resources and technologies.

Mental Fitness Center (planning project)
Project Contact: Samantha Schwartz '14
Determine whether there is a need to create a "mental fitness" center that promotes well being through proven techniques employed in positive psychology.

Engaging Alumni in Crowdsourcing for College History (planning project)
Project Contacts: Christopher Jones, Julia Bauder, Catherine Rod, Jayn Chaney, Mark McFate, Mike Conner
Plan to make innovative uses of emerging technologies to encourage alumni to contribute information about, and transcriptions for, Special Collections materials related to college history.

21st Century American Studies (planning project)
Project Contact: Henry Morisada Rietz
Examine the feasibility of launching a new program of 21st Century American Studies that will serve as an interdisciplinary hub for experiments in collaborative mentoring and advising, and will prepare students to navigate interdisciplinarity and understand the U.S. at a moment of uncertainty.

2013-14 Funded Projects

Pilot Projects 

Alumni Engagement Across the Curriculum 
Contacts: Mark Peltz, Jayn Chaney '€™05, Janet Davis, Justin Thomas, Karla Erickson 

Unlike other alumni engagement initiatives, this project is explicitly focused on advancing specific learning objectives in content-rich courses by leveraging alumni expertise and mentoring within the disciplines. 

AppDev: Training Students to Produce Mobile Applications & Work in Collaborative Professional Development Environments 
Contacts: Maijid Moujaled '€™14, Travis Law '˜15, Spencer Liberto '€˜15, Daniel Torres '˜15, Tiffany Nguyen '€˜16, Lea Marolt Sonneschein '€˜15, Patrick Triest '€˜15 

This project will develop and implement a training program for students interested in designing and/or developing mobile applications. 

Grinnell Translation Collective 
Contacts: Hai-Dang Phan '€™03, David Perez 

This project will cultivate literary translation as an integral practice of cross-cultural communication and highlight literary translations produced by students and faculty. Funding will support translation workshops for students and faculty, a new lecture and reading series devoted to the art of translation, and a publication of an anthology of literary translation. 

Introduction to Peace & Conflict Studies Through Blended Learning 
Contacts: Brigittine French, Val Vetter, Kathy Kamp 

To fill an expertise gap on campus and meet student demand, this course will be taught by a professor and peace builder prominent in the field by using a blended learning model. 

Diversity and Inclusion in the Science Classroom 
Contacts: Mark Levandoski, Minna Mahlab, Clark Lindgren, Poonam Arora 

The participants of this best-practices conference will be faculty and teaching and learning staff from the member institutions of the Liberal Arts Colleges Association for Faculty Inclusion who share similar goals, challenges, and resources to address diversity concerns. 

Wellness Lounge 
Contacts: Samantha Schwartz ’14, Jen Jacobsen, Anya Vanecek ‘15, Tayler Chicoine ‘14, Daria Brosius ‘15, Eric Mistry ‘14, Marta Andelson ‘14, Claire Lowe ‘14, Charlotte Hechler '€˜14 

This holistic space will engage students, staff & faculty in mindfulness, meditation, yoga, martial arts, light/music/art/massage therapies, character strength training, health screenings, substance use management, and educational outreach programming. 

Data in Courses 
Contact: Kathy Kamp 

The goal of extending this project for an additional two years is to continue facilitating the design and implementation of innovative and technologically-sophisticated coursework by Grinnell faculty. Funding will annually support one post-baccalaureate position in DASIL and support for one DASIL faculty fellow to develop innovative materials for teaching quantitative or qualitative engagement with original data.
 

Planning Projects 

Creating and Sustaining a Makerspace at Grinnell 
Contact: Adam Arsenault '€™16 

This planning project will explore the creation of a makerspace (a community-operated workspace in which members of the community can collaborate and socialize while working on technologic/electronic art projects) at Grinnell. 

Summer Program in Korea 
Contacts: David Harrison, Jack Mutti, Matt Johnson, Keith Brouhle, Stella Chan 

This planning project will explore the feasibility and demand for a summer academic program in collaboration with Yonsei University in Seoul. 

Innovating in Sustainable Design 
Contacts: Liz Queathem, Benjamin Mothershead ‘16 

This planning project will explore the building of a Sustainability Center. This center would be an educational home for sustainability-focused student groups and a laboratory that could act as a research tool for facilities management and academic programs on campus to test ‘green’ technologies and learn what works in Grinnell’s particular environment.

Innovation Fund Committee Members

2012-13 Innovation Fund Committee 
David Harrison (chair) 
Atul Gupta '88 
Craig Henderson '63 
Clint Korver '89 
Leslie Gregg-Jolly 
Shuchi Kapila 
Kathy Kamp
Wayne Moyer
Paula Smith 
Angela Voos 

2013-14 Innovation Fund Committee 
Shuchi Kapila (chair) 
Atul Gupta '88 
Craig Henderson '63 
Clint Korver '89 
Sam Rebelsky 
Wayne Moyer 
Paula Smitth 
Angela Voos 

2014-15 Innovation Fund Committee
David Lopatto (chair)
David Braman ’75
Leslie Gregg-Jolly
Craig Henderson '63
Shuchi Kapila
Wayne Moyer
Sam Rebelsky
Angela Voos