Large Grants for Projects up to $30,000
Deadline: February 17, 2022
The Wabash Center provides funds for projects that enhance teaching and learning in the fields of religion and theological studies as taught in colleges, universities, and theological schools. Routinely, we fund projects that focus on: improving teaching and learning practices in and beyond the classroom; nurturing supportive environments for teachers; nurturing supportive teaching environments for learners; strengthening student learning; connecting the classroom to the wider society.
The Wabash Center understands its grant projects as learning processes. A grant proposal will need to support projects, initiatives, programs, and design moments of exploration, discovery, learning, and response for those participating in the grant project. The project director should think of the presenting pedagogical issue as that which needs investigation, exploration and interrogation, and the activities of the grant project as the means by which this exploration is satisfied.
In 2022, funding of proposals with these foci will be prioritized:
#1 Creativity & Imagination for Innovation in Crisis
Schools of higher education and theological education cannot ignore the multiple communal crisis-es of this time. The global COVID pandemic and its mutations, police murders of unarmed Black and Brown people, environmental disasters, toxic masculinity, anti-scientific politics, and global warming have created prolonged uncertainty and dread. This present fraught moment cannot be extracted from the historical contexts of teaching in North America. The U.S. and Canadian histories of targeted oppressions, violence, and supremacy require some people to live as if under siege. Individually and communally, we have all been shaken and our future will require shifts in the current paradigms. Schools of higher education are challenged to pivot in order to meet the present and future needs of students. Creating new processes, models, and approaches of teaching has an urgency. What future will we imagine for our teaching? How will we prepare ourselves for that future? How will we inhabit the futures we imagine?
- How can student formation be rethought, reconceived, and reimagined for an uncertain future? How do we build it? Who are our artists to conceive a new vision?
- What will it mean to engage imagination as a vehicle for preparing for and equipping for teaching in the future? What is at risk if we do not?
- What if teaching in crisis means teaching imaginatively as well as teaching students what it means to be imaginative?
- What innovations in teaching will aid us through this turbulent time and into a hopeful future?
- What kinds of collaborations will be needed in the future for new kinds of teaching? How are those relationships fostered? What would be mutuality in these new relationships?
- What incentives do faculty need to shift paradigms of teaching? What permissions do teachers need to be creative in their practices, processes, and habits of teaching?
- What nurture and care do teachers need to imagine new ways of teaching in an uncertain future? What would it mean to strengthen a sense of belonging while the community undergoes crisis? How are communities of care and concern created during crisis for better teaching?
- What new ceremonies, rituals, rites of passage, traditions, systems or processes might be established to assist with communal healing and establishing ecologies of care and compassion for teachers and learners in the midst of crisis?
#2 Learner-Centered Pedagogies for Racially/Ethnically/Culturally Diverse Student Bodies
The available pools of people enrolling in the study of religion and theology are increasing the numbers of racial ethnic persons entering higher education and theological education. Many faculties are challenged, then, to meet the needs of these newly populated student bodies. Many schools, responding to shifting student bodies, have hired BIPOC faculty without attending to the needs of the new colleagues. Racial diversity of students and racial diversity of faculty requires new communal processes, sensibilities, and ingenuity for inclusion, healing, and equity.
- What is learner-centered pedagogy in your particular context? What does your context have to offer students interested in being formed, shaped and educated in racial, ethnic and cultural diversity?
- What does it mean to establish and/or maintain a learner-centered pedagogy as the population of the student body is shifting and becoming more diverse? Who are the people showing up in your classroom and how are the needs of their formation met with cultural sensitivity and embodied sensibilities?
- What does it mean to attend to the needs of BIPOC colleagues who join a white faculty?
- In what ways might the introductory courses be rethought and redesigned so that the BIPOC and international students’ formation is relevant to their home contexts and cultures? What would it mean to redesign syllabi for more connection between the classroom and the wider society? How are the rhythms of praxis, i.e., action and reflection to change the world, designed into courses and the entire curriculum so students are better equipped and prepared for the racial, ethnic, cultural diversities of the world?
- What would it mean for faculty to immerse themselves in the racial, ethnic and theological cultures of the diverse student body in order to teach with more knowledge and compassion about marginalized populations?
- What are the obstacles to effective formation in diverse student bodies? What are the better teaching practices for effective formation in diverse student bodies? What knowledges are needed to teach diverse students and how does a teacher stay equipped?
- In what ways are habits, practices, traditions and values of racism operative in the curriculum and harmful to all learners and all teachers? What would it take to redesign syllabi for student formation that is inclusive, equitable and focused upon the belonging of every-body?
Successful grant proposals will demonstrate:
- A clear focus on an issue or question of teaching or learning within higher education
- Readiness to learn on the part of the project director
- A set of activities that will explore the central question or issue
- Alignment in its focus, goals, activities, and assessment
- An institutional readiness to listen and respond to what is discovered during the grant project
- A process to gain feedback during the course of the project with built-in time to reflect on what is being learned and what needs to be changed
- An allocation of grant monies for work the institution could not ordinarily do
Please read in advance;
Submitting a Project Grant Proposal
3 parts need to be included in a Wabash Center Project Grant Application.
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Select > Grant
You will be prompted to attach the required documents (pdf format) to the online application, including a signed copy of the Grant Information Form, the Proposal Narrative & Budget, and an Institutional Letter of Support.
You will be prompted to attach a signed copy of the Grant Information Form, the Project Proposal, and the signed Institutional Letter of Support to the online Grant Application.
Part 1 – Grant Information Form
The Grant Information Form requests information necessary for the consideration of your proposal, including contact information, grant project dates, amount of the grant request, and a 150-word proposal abstract. The Grant Type to select is “Project.”
This form requires contact information for and signatures from:
- The Project Director/s: The person/s responsible for providing narrative report on grants, typically the person/s overseeing the administration of the grant and writing the project proposal to apply for the grant.
- The Financial Contact: The person responsible for receiving the check and providing financial reports of expenditures for the institution. This should be a different person than the project director.
- The Authorization Contact: The person authorized to sign grant contracts for the institution.
Part 2 – Proposal Narrative and Budget
No longer than 12 pages long (single-spaced), CV limited to 4 pages, and page numbers required.
The Project Proposal must follow an outline of the seven elements indicated below.
Successful proposals will include specific examples, demonstrate thoughtful reflection about the project’s presenting problem, identify and address relevant pedagogical questions, attend to the alignment of the design with the goals, and provide clear plans for evaluating, assessing, and responding to what was learned during the course of the project.
Project Proposal Outline
- Title of Proposed Project
Give us a central idea of what the project will explore
- Framing Question or Problem
A good framing question or problem can help you identify what you do not understand and articulate why you must pursue it. It can also help you identify what strategies and activities can be most helpful and who might collaborate in the work. Ask yourself: What do you want to know? What is the student learning issue at the heart of this project? What classroom practice will this project address? What is the pedagogical issue or problem that this project is seeking to address and why does it matter?
- Project Goals
List the goals for this project. What do you hope to accomplish or learn? What will this grant help you to do that you couldn’t do without funding? At the conclusion of the grant project, what change will have occurred as a consequence of this grant project?
- Description of Activities
What is the scope of work envisioned for this grant project? What activities will be planned and carried out? How will these specific activities meet the needs of your context and help those involved with the project explore particular teaching and learning challenges? Include a timeline of activities envisioned.
- Supportive Literature
Briefly, describe what others have done when working with the pedagogical issues or question that you want to pursue. What literature have you consulted and how will that literature inform your project?
- Assessment, Evaluation, and Response
How, when, and who will provide the midway assessment? How will you know if the grant activities are effective or whether the project should be revised? When the project is complete, how will you know that your objectives have been met? Who will be assessing what was learned? Who will be responding to what was learned, and how will they get this information? What connection will be made to a larger, public audience (if applicable)?
- Plan for Dissemination
How will you disseminate what you learn through the grant project? Blogs, podcasts, essays, etc.? In what specific ways will you share what you’ve discovered through the grant project?
Line Item Budget and Budget Narrative
In consultation with your institution’s financial officer, build a budget to support the activities projected, delineating yearly estimates if requesting a multi-year grant. Provide a brief narrative in support of each line item expense. Make sure the budget is congruent with how expenses can be allocated at your institution.
Read: Grant Budget and Expense Guidelines (pdf)
Part 3 – Institutional Letter of Support
This letter should be written by the appropriate dean, department chair, provost, president, principal, or rector in order to demonstrate the institutional rationale and support for the project, as well as how the institution will respond to the things that will be learned during the grant project.
If the project director holds one of these offices, the letter of support should be written by someone higher in the institution.
This letter must be signed on institutional letterhead, scanned and attached to the online application.
Policy on Deadlines for Program Deadlines
The program deadlines are meant to facilitate application by a wide array of participants, as well as create fairness in the selection process. Program deadlines also assist administrative staff who work to support each group and all programs. The Wabash Center will, when we see the necessity, extend the deadline of an application process. We will rarely, if ever, extend the deadline for individual requests. We ask participants, as well as recommenders, to respect these important deadline boundaries. Adherence to deadlines foster fair-mindedness and a spirit of collegiality. Should an issue need to be arbitrated, please be in touch with the Director of the Wabash Center.
Each fall we gather project directors of large grant projects, whose proposals have been accepted in the March adjudication, for an online meeting facilitated by the Wabash Center. The aim of this meeting is to help project directors share what they are learning through their grant projects, to talk about adjustments to grant projects, and to build capacities for subsequent grant projects.
2022 Project Directors Online Meeting: October 10, 2022 at 10 am.
Grant funds can be spent on items and activities such as:
- Child care, elder care to support members attendance to group meetings
- Meals for the convened group (face to face only)
- Travel, meals, lodging should group meet for extended conversation (retreat center, hotel, conference center)
- Stipends for participation in the group
- Equipment, supplies, materials to support group meeting and discussions
- Honorariums for guest speakers with group
Activities and items NOT Funded:
The Wabash Center generally does not fund:
- International travel for research
- Travel for attendance at disciplinary conferences
- The preparation of textbooks
- Research focused primarily on field content and only secondarily on teaching
- Publication of conference papers or books, or production costs of other media
- Food delivered to homes or food to be consumed while meeting on-line
- Stipends for writing the grant proposal or making application
- Fees for WIFI or other home utilities should group convenes online
- Any items designated as gifts, presents, offerings or donations
- Travel, meals, lodging expenses should family or friend accompany participant on an extended conversation
- Put most bluntly, the Wabash Center does not underwrite the ordinary, ongoing work of the professorate, much of which is already supported by the home institution or departments.
The Wabash Center gives grants to accredited universities, colleges, or seminaries in the United States and Canada and occasionally to non-profit organizations providing services to improve teaching and learning at institutions of higher education. The project director will ordinarily be a full-time faculty member in religion or theology. In colleges or universities without a department of religion or theology, we will consider, on a case-by-case basis, project directors from other departments whose primary teaching responsibility is in the area of religion.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
When preparing a grant proposal, we strongly recommend that you consult and learn from others’ experience.
The Wabash Center understands our grants program as a part of our overall teaching and learning mission. We are interested in not only awarding grants to excellent proposals, but also in enabling faculty members to develop and hone their skills as grant writers.
We strongly encourage you to be in conversation with us as you develop your ideas for a grant project into a formal proposal. We will gladly give you feedback on your ideas and draft proposal.
There is no guarantee that a grant that has gone through our coaching process will be funded—funding decisions are made by a separate Advisory Committee—but we will help you present the project in the clearest and most coherent way.
Dr. Paul O. Myhre
Senior Associate Director, Wabash Center