Faculty Funding

Engaged Curriculum Grants

Create, develop or improve curricula that connect community-engaged learning with disciplinary learning

Purpose

For community-engaged learning to be central to Cornell, it must be a core part of curricula across the university, in majors, minors, concentrations and programs. To this end, Engaged Curriculum Grants create, expand and strengthen research and teaching fields by funding teams that are integrating community-engaged learning into curriculum exploration, development and improvement.

Engaged Curriculum Grants are intended to support:

Modification of existing courses and curricula to add or deepen community-engaged learning and teaching in any field of study

Development of new courses and curricula designed to benefit undergraduate students and community partners; core graduate-level courses that allow for undergraduate participation will be considered

Teams of Cornell faculty and their community partners experimenting with how to embed in their courses and curricula the public purpose of the discipline or field

Courses and curricula that are sustainable beyond the period of the grant

Engaged Curriculum Grants are not intended to support:

Standalone course development or research conducted by a single faculty member

For that, see Engaged Opportunity Grants.

Proposals to develop co- or extra-curricular activities (though curricular development may include integration of co-curricular opportunities)

If that’s what you’re looking for, see Engaged Opportunity Grants.

Undergraduate research not part of a course or curriculum

Graduate student research

Ongoing or course-based activities that aren’t sustainable beyond the period of the grant

Grant Categories

There are three categories of Engaged Curriculum Grants that support development of community-engaged learning curricula at various stages: Planning, Development and Advancement.

It is typical, though not required, for projects to progress from Planning to Development as the curriculum becomes sustainably integrated into the home college’s offerings.

Advancement grants are intended to support teams refining, expanding, assessing or studying established community-engaged learning curricula; teams are eligible even if they haven’t previously received Planning or Development grants.

Funding levels, project design and deliverables are sized to meet each category; see below for details.

Planning Grants

Purpose:

  • explore a new community partnership that would serve as the basis for a course or curriculum (major, minor, concentration or course sequence);
  • explore a new community-engaged learning course or curriculum concept that would develop from an existing partnership;
  • build relationships, knowledge and mutually beneficial plans that lay the groundwork for community-engaged learning curricula.

Funding available: Up to $10,000

Duration: One year, non-renewable

Before applying: Teams must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI).

Development Grants

Purpose:

  • create new or develop existing community-engaged learning courses that serve a curriculum in collaboration with established partners;
  • or develop and implement a curriculum involving community-engaged learning.

Funding available: Up to $80,000 over two years

Duration: Two years, non-renewable

Before applying: Teams with a new project (i.e., one that hasn’t already been funded by a Planning grant) must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI).

Advancement Grants

Purpose:

  • expand, deepen, assess or improve existing community-engaged learning curricula toward better sustainability and deeper impact.
    Some examples of possible goals for Advancement proposals are to:

    • identify, integrate and advance the ways a course or curriculum centers the public purposes of the discipline;
    • map existing curriculum to strengthen engagement pathways within the major, minor or concentration;
    • develop and implement strategies to significantly increase the number of undergraduate students involved in community-engaged learning opportunities;
    • supplement existing courses with other curricular and co-curricular offerings to create coherent developmental sequences;
    • enhance or introduce interdisciplinary collaboration within a community-engaged learning curriculum;
    • implement and assess one or more Engaged Cornell student learning outcomes;
    • develop and use rigorous tools for assessing community-engaged student learning outcomes and/or community-based outcomes/impacts;
    • create research and publication within and about the curriculum.

Funding available: Up to $10,000

Duration: One year, non-renewable

Before applying: Teams with a new project (i.e., one that hasn’t already been funded by a Development or Planning grant) must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI).

Planning Development Advancement
It’s for…
exploring new partnerships and/or new curricula creating new or developing existing curricula improving, assessing, expanding or researching impact of existing curricula
Letter of Intent (LOI) needed
Yes, for new proposals Yes, for new proposals Yes, for new proposals
Funding maximum*
$10,000 $80,000 over two years $10,000
Duration 1 year 2 years 1 year
Renewable No No No
No-cost extension 1 year with justification 2 years with justification 1 year with justification

*Teams with an existing Development grant are eligible for up to $40,000 as part of their second Development grant renewal under this new funding guidelines.

Team Eligibility and Composition

Teams should comprise three or more Cornell faculty members and, as appropriate, staff, community partner(s) and/or their representative(s).

  • The faculty lead on a collaborative project must be a member of the department responsible for the curriculum.
  • Membership of the Cornell team must be comprised of at least one actively tenured/tenure-track faculty.
  • Leadership or participation by early-career and research, teaching or extension (RTE) faculty members is welcomed and encouraged.

Proposals are invited from any field of study.

Faculty and staff from other units of Cornell (e.g., centers, institutes, programs, extension divisions, museums, laboratories) may participate on a team led by faculty from an academic unit responsible for the curriculum.

Partners may be community-based nonprofits, government entities, corporations, unions, health facilities or Cornell-based organizations that facilitate external partnership. There is no restriction on the geographic location of the partnership.

If you have any questions about eligibility of partners or ideas, please ask Anna Bartel at OEI.

Teams That Have Already Been Funded

Projects that have received a Planning grant are eligible to be considered for a two-year Development grant.

Projects that have completed their first year Development Grant and are interested in renewing for an additional year, are eligible to apply for an additional $40,000 grant.

Total allowable funding for a specific curriculum project, from all Engaged Curriculum Grants, is $100,000. At the end of the approved grant period, grantholders must return remaining funds to the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

Expectations, Deliverables and Benefits

During the course of the funded year, all team members are required to attend a one-day Community-Engaged Learning Summer Institute and one of the following professional development programs:

  • A workshop to support the work of the team and report progress (opportunities provided ad hoc and by request in both fall and spring semester)
  • Or, a customized consultation with staff in the Office of Engagement Initiatives to address specific needs of the project

Workshops may include interaction and learning among peers from different project teams. Ad hoc and/or customized consultations may include discussion and resources on your team’s particular interests and/or on the theory and practice of community-engaged learning, including good practices of community partnership; developing a community-engaged learning curriculum; formulating learning outcomes; reflective integration of academic and experiential learning; and creating meaningful assessments of community-engaged student learning and/or community impact.

Resources related to professional development, scholarship and publication are available on our Blackboard/Canvas site and additional resources can be provided as useful. Teams will be linked to relevant expertise across the university to assist them as needed throughout the year, and they will join a network of engaged faculty with a university-wide discussion list and occasional social events.

Grantees will provide documentation and evaluation of the partnership, including community partner voice and feedback. Grantees may use a Partnership Assessment Tool of their own devising or one of those provided by the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

Grantees will report on progress and provide financial reports.

Applying

Application Process and Timeline

General Information

Letter of Intent (LOI) – for new proposals only

The LOI process is intended to support applicants in developing strong and compelling proposals that are well-aligned with the values and practices of community-engaged learning. There is no selection of proposals made as a result of LOI review.

New project teams (with projects not previously funded through an Engaged Curriculum Grant) must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI).

Leadership and staff in the Office of Engagement Initiatives will review and provide feedback on LOIs.

The LOI should be submitted online and include:

  • project title;
  • category of grant (planning, development, advancement) being sought;
  • student population being served;
  • curriculum involved (e.g., which major, minor, graduate field or degree program);
  • faculty/staff team membership;
  • community partner(s);
  • community-engaged student learning outcomes and initial assessment strategies;
  • narrative describing rationale, curricular goals, key features and intended benefits to students and community partner(s);
  • and include:
    • signatures of department chairs or director(s)*;
    • letter(s) of endorsement from the community partner(s), if known.

*While a dean’s signature is no longer required for this grant, applicants are strongly encouraged to notify their dean of their intent to apply.

Consultation Prior to Applying

Prior to submitting a full proposal, teams that have submitted LOIs are required to attend a 60-minute consultation with staff from the Office of Engagement Initiatives. All new Cornell team members must participate. Team members that have met this requirement in a previous application process are encouraged to participate, but may opt out. More information about consultations will be sent together with the LOI feedback.

Applying for a Planning Grant

After receiving LOI feedback, the full proposal is submitted online and should contain the following information, within the space limits described on the form.

  1. LOI number and project title
  2. Names of department(s) or graduate field(s) and college(s) offering course
  3. Names of team members and their department(s) and college(s)
  4. Endorsements from the department chair or unit director, including a description of the relationship of this grant to other curricular work in the department or college*
  5. Identity of community partner(s) (if known)
  6. Letter of collaboration from the community partner(s) (if known). Could include length of time known; previous collaborative activities and their impact; potential benefits from developing the partnership further; and a description of partnership roles, responsibilities and resources in support of the proposed community-engaged learning activities
  7. Succinct summary, to be shared publicly, describing the project context, public purpose and what the project team will be doing
  8. Abstract: executive summary of the proposal that conveys its rationale, key features, goals, intended benefits to students, relationship to faculty research/scholarship and benefit to the community partner
  9. Narrative that includes:
    • description of the major, minor, concentration, degree program or graduate field that is the focus of the planning;
    • configuration of team and roles of team members;
    • description of the community partnership, including the rationale for proposed type of community partner, the role the partner will play in developing the plan and potential benefit to that community;
    • proposed curricular structure, Engaged Cornell student learning outcomes and assessment plan;
    • project timeline.
  10. Description of the team members’ or community partner’s involvement in any other funding received from the Office of Engagement Initiatives and how it relates to the community-engaged learning activities proposed
  11. Budget, following budget guidelines
  12. Budget justification that aligns directly with budget categories

*While a dean’s signature is no longer required for this grant, applicants are strongly encouraged to notify their dean of their intent to apply.

Applying for a Development Grant

The full proposal is submitted online and should contain the following information, within the space limits described on the form:

  1. LOI number and project title
  2. Names of department(s) or graduate field(s) and college(s) offering course
  3. Names of team members and their department(s) and college(s)
  4. Endorsements from the department chair or unit director, including a description of the relationship of this grant to other curricular work in the department or college*
  5. Identity of community partner(s)
  6. Letter of collaboration from the community partner(s). Could include length of time known; previous collaborative activities and their impact; potential benefits from developing the partnership further; and a description of partnership roles, responsibilities and resources in support of the proposed community-engaged learning activities
  7. Succinct summary, to be shared publicly, describing the project context, public purpose and what the project team will be doing
  8. Abstract: executive summary of the proposal that conveys its rationale, key features, goals, intended benefits to students, relationship to faculty research/scholarship and benefit to the community partner
  9. Details about students:
    • major, minor, degree program or graduate field that is the focus of the grant;
    • estimated number and type of students targeted by the proposal.
  10. Narrative that includes:
    • description of team and roles of the team members;
    • description of the community partnership, including the rationale for proposed community partner, the role the partner will play in designing and delivering the curriculum and student activities, and potential benefit to that community;
    • course information, including title, proposed launch date, position of the course in the academic calendar, rationale for this placement, format, length of course, list of prerequisites to the proposed course(s), brief course description;
    • proposed integration of the community-engaged learning into the curriculum (i.e., major, minor or degree program); for example, through preparatory and integrative courses or course elements;
    • intended Engaged Cornell student learning outcomes (what participants will leave the course knowing or being able to do) and proposed levels of achievement; plan for developing assessment tools for the proposed course; consideration of impacts on students, faculty participants and community partners’ issues or their constituents (i.e., how you will measure what participants have learned or accomplished);
    • Planning Grant teams seeking to move to a Development Grant should describe how the proposed project relates to previously supported planning activities;
    • plans for evaluating and reporting research results, if research by students and/or faculty is incorporated into the structural model; if students will be conducting research, describe their activities, supervision and the goals of the research experience; if the research involves community participation/data, describe their involvement and potential benefits/outcomes;
    • list of any comparable or related courses offered on campus and opportunities to partner with other departments;
    • description of enabling technologies that are under consideration for teaching this course (e.g., Web conferencing, online learning, electronic presentations, video, etc.);
    • project timeline.
  11. Course information, including title, proposed launch date, position of the course in the academic calendar, rationale for this placement, format, length of course, list of prerequisites to the proposed course(s), brief course description
  12. Description of the plan for securing the necessary approval from college or department curriculum committee(s) for implementation of the course proposed
  13. Description of the strategy to support the curriculum beyond the period of the grant; resources needed and plan for securing and sustaining those resources
  14. Disclosure of team members’ involvement in any department funding received from the Office of Engagement Initiatives that complements the community-engaged learning activities proposed
  15. Budget, following budget guidelines
  16. Budget justification that aligns directly with budget categories

*While a dean’s signature is no longer required for this grant, applicants are strongly encouraged to notify their dean of their intent to apply.

Applying for an Advancement Grant

The full proposal should be submitted online and should contain the following information, within the space limits described on the form:

  1. LOI number and project title
  2. Names of department(s), program(s), or graduate field(s) and college(s) offering course
  3. Names of team members and their department(s) and college(s)
  4. Endorsements from the department chair or unit director, including the relationship of this grant to other curricular work in the department, program or college*
  5. Identity of community partner(s)
  6. Letter of collaboration from the community partner(s). Could include length of time known; previous collaborative activities and their impact; potential benefits from developing the partnership further; and a description of partnership roles, responsibilities and resources in support of the proposed community-engaged learning activities
  7. Details about students:
    • major, minor, degree program or graduate field;
    • estimated number and type of students targeted by the proposal.
  8. Succinct summary, to be shared publicly, describing the project context, public purpose and what the project team will be doing.
  9. Abstract: executive summary of the proposal that conveys its rationale, key features, goals, intended benefits to students, relationship to faculty research/scholarship and benefit to the community partner
  10. Course information, including title, brief description, proposed launch date, position of the course in the academic calendar, rationale for this placement, length of course and list of prerequisites to the course(s)
  11. Narrative that includes:
    • description of team and roles of the team members;
    • description of the community partnership, including the rationale for community partner, the role the partner will play in designing and delivering the curriculum and student activities and potential benefit to that community;
    • intended Engaged Cornell student learning outcomes (what participants will leave the course knowing or being able to do) and proposed levels of achievement; plan for developing assessment tools for the course; consideration of impacts on students, faculty participants and community partners’ issues or their constituents (i.e., how you will measure what participants have learned or accomplished);
  12. Description of the strategy to improve your curriculum and support the curricular advancement beyond the period of the grant; resources needed and plan for securing and sustaining those resources
  13. Description of the plan for securing the necessary approval from college or department curriculum committee(s) for implementation of the course proposed
  14. Disclosure of team members’ involvement in any department funding received from the Office of Engagement Initiatives that complements the activities proposed
  15. Budget, following budget guidelines
  16. Budget justification that aligns directly with budget categories

* While a dean’s signature is no longer required for this grant, applicants are strongly encouraged to notify their dean of their intent to apply.

Budgeting

We encourage applicants to work with their department’s business administrator or budget director in the development of their proposal budget.

We encourage Cornell-based grantees to build in appropriate compensation for community partners, which might cover travel, child care, food, capacity-building and of course their time and expertise.

Unallowable Expenses*
  • overhead or indirect costs (IDC)
  • equipment over $5,000 (refer to Appendix B in the University’s Capital Assets policy) unless properly justified as being critical to the sustainability of the curriculum
  • salary for T/TT faculty team members
  • wages or travel costs for students who have already graduated
  • external consultant fees
  • capital projects

* Projects proposing student travel to a country determined to be an “elevated risk destination” by the International Travel Advisory and Response Team (ITART), must obtain ITART pre-travel approval per Policy 8.5. Contact intlsafety@cornell.edu.

Planning Grants

Funding requests for Planning grants may include:

  • relief to the department for staff/student/grad assistant activity in the planning process;
  • support for travel to/for community partners in order to coordinate planning, support for community partners or other necessary expenses
  • travel to explore models or convene with key strategists;
  • resources for collaborative planning (meals, miniconferences, books, subscriptions, webinars, etc.).
Development Grants

Budgets for Development Grants will follow these guidelines:

  • Faculty support. Each faculty member applicant will be granted up to $5,000 to support their research or other university activities, as long as these are directly relevant to the course under development. These funds will be transferred to the faculty’s associated research account.
    • Total support for all team faculty not to exceed $20,000 per year.
  • Department/unit/program support. At the discretion of the department/unit/program, funding may be applied toward teaching relief during the period of the grant, graduate teaching support, staff support or other forms of budget relief related to the grant.
    • Delivering the curriculum: Funds may be requested to support student travel, meals and lodging associated with learning off campus, as well as systems that support the student experience (software, enrollment in online training, etc.).
  • Operating budgets may include funding for student interns, graduate assistants and/or academic staff to assist with curriculum development, funding for travel to the partner or vice versa, support for the partner and establishment of support structures.
Advancement Grants

Budgets for Advancement grants will follow these guidelines:

  • Department/unit/program support. At the discretion of the department/unit/program, funding may be applied toward teaching relief, graduate teaching support, staff support or other forms of budget relief related to the grant or piloting a revised/improved curriculum.
  • Operating budgets may include funding for student interns, graduate assistants and/or academic staff to assist with course development, funding for travel to the partner or vice versa, support for the partner and establishment of support structures.

Review Process and Selection Criteria

Awards will be made by the Office of Engagement Initiatives following a peer review process.

A central goal of OEI is to provide opportunities for high-quality community-engaged learning to all Cornell undergraduate students. Proposals that effectively address the challenge of scale and access, while also creating high-quality experiences for undergraduates, will be favored. Collaboration across colleges/schools/disciplines is encouraged.

Priority will be given to proposals that have:

  1. the intention to impact teaching culture in department/unit/program and/or to embed community-engaged learning into the heart of the major/minor/concentration
  2. a clear collaborative role of community partner(s) and description of the planned benefits of the partnership to the community
  3. a clear statement of learning outcomes that includes at least one Engaged Cornell student learning outcome, along with descriptions of how the community-engaged learning activities are designed to advance student learning both in the field of study and in the field of public engagement
  4. strategies for assessing outcomes for students and community partners
  5. integration of community-engaged learning into the curriculum (i.e., major, minor, degree program, graduate field); for example, through core courses, course elements or preparatory and integrative course sequencing
  6. a strategy for ensuring significant breadth of student involvement (i.e. high numbers of students with equitable access to community-engaged learning activities) and/or significant depth of student learning (i.e. high impact/transformative learning)
  7. justification for costs of course/curricular implementation and plan for sustaining the community-engaged learning beyond the period of the grant award – special consideration is offered for those teams who have secured matching funds toward sustaining the curriculum and its necessary infrastructure.

Given the competitive funding environment and limited resources, special priority is given to proposals that

  • serve undergraduates
  • embed community-engaged learning into core or required components of the curriculum, particularly at the 1000 or 2000 level or in large-format classes;
  • advance learning in community-engaged research methods for undergraduates;
  • come from departments/programs without strong preexisting cultures of community-engaged learning.

Previous Recipients

Questions about your project?

Contact the Office of Engagement Initiatives. We’re here to help.

Email: engagedcornell@cornell.edu

Phone: (607) 254-4240