About Curricular Innovation Grants

In line with university goals and priorities Goal 3A: Transdisciplinary Scholarship and Curricular Innovation to encourage curricular innovation and experimentation as well as provide opportunities for interdisciplinary courses and programs to emerge, a new Curricular Innovation Grant Fund is being established to provide competitive grants for experimenting with innovative teaching methods such as transdisciplinary learning, virtual reality, digital learning, active learning, inclusive teaching practices, open education resources, or techniques introduced in the ACUE course on Effective Teaching Practices. This program is being piloted in 2023 as an initial step in a multiyear effort to further inspire and incentivize curricular innovation and experimentation.

Grant recipients receive a $5,000 stipend and up to $500 for materials, paid in June for summer development work and guidance from a CITL staff member to support the innovation. All full-time faculty, including tenured and tenure-track faculty, instructional faculty, and clinical faculty are eligible to submit applications.


Grant recipients are expected to:

  • Teach the course twice, with the first offering utilizing the innovative approach during the next academic year (i.e., fall 2023 or spring 2024 for applications in spring 2023); the second offering can occur in a subsequent academic year
  • Collaborate with a CITL staff member on the design and development
  • Share the results with the NIU community by presenting at a spring event to share progress and by recording a short video to be included in an innovative teaching media gallery managed by CITL
  • Collect data on the impact of the innovation through student surveys, focus groups, learning outcomes, etc.

Application Process and Timeline

Applicants will complete a simple online application form via Qualtrics where they will describe their proposed curricular innovation and how it meets the selection criteria. Applications submitted by March 10th will receive priority consideration.

Selection Criteria

  1. Contribution the project makes to furthering the university’s mission to deliver educational excellence
  2. Impact of the project on cultivating an equitable and inclusive learning environment
  3. Creativity and innovativeness of the project
  4. Potential applicability to other courses

Priority will be given to projects that focus on student success with an emphasis on reducing DFUW rates and equity gaps in undergraduate gateway courses or those that are required for a major.

Application Materials

The application is deliberately simple to make the grant program accessible to a wide variety of faculty.

  1. Purpose and Impact: Describe the importance of the class (e.g., gateway, high DFUW, required for a major, essential for career readiness) and the intended impact of the innovation.
  2. Description of Innovation: A brief description of the innovation (1-2 paragraphs) and the applicability to this course.
  3. Teaching Commitment: A commitment to teach the class at least twice with an estimation of the semesters in which it would be taught.
  4. Signoff from Chair: Following application submission, application is forwarded to chair/director for approval and confirmation of commitment to course scheduling and assignment.

Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by CITL leadership and a faculty subcommittee of the Innovative Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee. Faculty submitting applications may not serve as reviewers. Recommendations are shared with the Executive Vice President and Provost for final selection. Notification of awarded funds will be made by April 30th for applications submitted by March 10th.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the grant be used for developing an online course?

Both new and existing online courses are eligible for the grant, but the focus of the innovation should not be only on developing the online course(s). To be competitive, the application should define additional innovative techniques to be used in the course(s).

How many grants will be awarded?

There is no defined number of grants to be awarded at this time. The number will depend on the funding available for this year and the number of high-quality proposals submitted.

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-753-0595
Email: citl@niu.edu

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