Innovation Fund Awards for 2021-22

August 04, 2022

The Grinnell College Innovation Fund was created in 2012 to spur innovative ways of teaching and learning at the College through planning and pilot projects. Since its launch, the fund has provided support for 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. To date, 83 projects have been funded, including five projects selected during the 2021-22 award cycle.

The Innovation Fund selections for 2021-22 include:

Grinnell College Film Society: Curricular Support, Community Building, Interdisciplinary Glue, and Creative Growth Serum for Film and Media Studies

This pilot project will build on planning project work to develop the Grinnell College Film Society. This is a film series and visiting filmmaker program that directly supports new and existing Film and Media Studies courses across disciplines and is open to the campus and greater Grinnell communities. The project will foster collaborations across disciplines and generate visibility and interest in Film and Media Studies. Contact: Nicky Tavares.

Science Communication

This pilot project will support a post-baccalaureate Content-Specialist Science Fellow position to write pieces in partnership with the department chairs in the science division and the grants office. With an increasing number of science majors interested in science writing, this position will be an additional avenue to gain valuable experience while helping promote scientific work at Grinnell College. Contacts: Sarah Anderson, Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, Susan Ferrari, Maisha Kamunde-Devonish.

Teaching and Learning with Women in Prison

This pilot will support Grinnell faculty and students to teach and learn with women incarcerated at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa. Each year, Grinnell faculty will teach college courses in prison, collaborating extensively with students who would tutor and otherwise support these courses. Contact: Emily Guenther.

Exploring the Necessity and Feasibility of a Disability Cultural Center at Grinnell College

This planning grant will explore the feasibility of launching a disability cultural center (DCC) at Grinnell College. A DCC is a safe space for individuals with disabilities to gather to connect, learn, grow, and feel a sense of community that is often shunned away in a society that highly values abled bodies and minds. During the planning phase, a team will gather information from other institutions. They will also hold focus groups on campus to explore the need and feasibility of a DCC at Grinnell College. Contact: Autumn Wilke.

Reading Across the Curriculum at Grinnell

This planning grant will support a year-long collaboration between the Writing, Reading, and Speaking Center and Academic Advising to 1) plan coordinated support of individual students’ reading skills, and 2) faculty education about reading and the teaching of reading. This project lays the groundwork for a Reading Across the Curriculum initiative to parallel Grinnell’s existing (informal) Writing Across the Curriculum program, which distributes writing instruction across the faculty. Contacts: Belinda Backous, Tisha Turk.

Congratulations to the newest Innovation Fund recipients and all who work to support fund initiatives.

Innovation Fund committee members who evaluated and selected the 2021-22 funded projects were David Lopatto (chair), Monica Chavez-Silva, Christina Cutlip ’83, Susan Ferrari, Leslie Gregg-Jolly, Keith Jantzen ’80, Wayne Moyer, Schvalla Rivera, and Maria Tapias. The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CTLA) provides administrative support for the Innovation Fund.

Going forward, the Innovation Fund will move to a two-year cycle of applications instead of an annual call for proposals. This will give currently funded proposals time to catch up due to the delays of the pandemic. The next call for proposals is expected to be issued in 2023.

Information about the application process and past projects can be found on the Innovation Fund website.

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