The ACS Grants program (2016-22) supports faculty and staff development through grants for collaborative, project-based activities spanning a calendar year or less.
The program has three thematic areas. We will consider proposals that advance Innovative Instruction, Collaborative Curriculum, and/or Diversity and Inclusion. We define these themes below, and these definitions must inform all proposals.
Grant proposals must be collaborative – that is, faculty and/or staff from at least three ACS member institutions must be project leaders. Participation in an event held at another ACS campus is not usually sufficient to demonstrate collaboration. While collaborative projects in the Diversity and Inclusion category will be given priority, single campus Diversity and Inclusion projects will be considered, if the impact to multiple campuses is clear.
Proposals must be focused on faculty and staff development. For example, while positive student outcomes may be used for assessment purposes, it is pedagogical innovation that should be the focus of Innovative Instruction proposals.
The Mellon Foundation, whose award comprises the bulk of current ACS funding, has as a core goal to promote the “the wide participation of previously underrepresented communities in the humanities, the arts, and higher education.” While the STEM fields traditionally fall outside of Mellon’s mission, projects that focus on diversity and inclusion in STEM fields are eligible for funding.
We anticipate that many proposals will meet multiple objectives. For example, course sharing among three institutions (collaborative curriculum) will by definition and design involve classroom technology (innovative instruction). As you imagine possibilities, we encourage you to see the categories above as fluid rather than as fixed. However, for budgeting purposes, projects should fit into one main category and be limited to the funding maximum of that category.
We want to develop learner-based pedagogy (the process of applying lessons from cognitive science and neuroscience) and blended learning (or technology-enhanced teaching). As research and innovation in these areas continue to grow, methods of teaching must be re-evaluated and adjusted accordingly. ACS seeks to support faculty members who are ready to adopt innovative pedagogies. We invite proposals designed to renew and invigorate teaching methods and incorporate assessment instruments that draw upon current research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
As a consortium, ACS prioritizes multi-campus involvement in curricular projects. We want to support experimentation among a number of collaborative strategies and goals, including expanding study away opportunities, protecting low-enrolled courses, benefiting disciplines with limited representation, and supporting efforts to create collaborative departments or programs. ACS will assemble teams and provide support to address curricular content, instructional technology, and logistical details. We anticipate highly experimental and creative approaches to curriculum-sharing.
Diversity and Inclusion
Understanding our campuses, and their historical past as educational institutions in the south, as well as in developing diverse, equitable, and inclusive campuses have been part of the mission of ACS for decades. Since 2016 when the larger Mellon Grant was awarded, we also have seen the #blacklivesmatter movement, as well as a renewed emphasis on anti-racism on our campuses. These and other current events further provide a deeper context to the kinds of projects that you might envision. We will encourage grant proposals that nurture new approaches in the classroom specifically focused on a greater understanding of diverse experiences and geared toward building inclusive communities. We encourage proposals that incorporate inclusive pedagogies, anti-racism, understanding our past, strategies for improving student success, and opportunities for transforming our campuses into more diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces.
In addition to considering the above guidelines, all proposals should demonstrate:
- direct links to the grant theme/s based on the definitions provided above.
- impact that the project will have on participating campuses (i.e., desired outcomes relative to the current campus context).
- the scholarship related to project needs and goals (e.g., literature on inclusive pedagogy for a proposal on diversity and inclusion).
- impact (or potential impact) across the ACS system (e.g., the intended sharing of the project results).
- insights from relevant campus offices and leaders (e.g., Diversity and Inclusion Officers, Teaching and Learning Centers)
- a plan for sustaining the project after the grant period ends (e.g., through campus investments or adjustments in faculty load/time).
- linkages between project goals, outcomes, and budget requests (i.e., demonstrate that your funding requests are clearly designed to meet your project goals).
The figures in each category are meant to suggest the scale of the projects we seek to fund. However, the higher figures should be considered maximums.
- $15,000-$25,000 for Innovative Instruction projects
- $25,000-$50,000 for Collaborative Curriculum projects
- $15,000-$50,000 for Diversity and Inclusion projects
ACS has set the following limits that must be followed in all budgets at the final proposal stage. Please note that the stipend amounts listed below are exclusive of any fringe benefits, payroll taxes, or overhead expenses; do not submit budget proposals with line items for fringe benefits, payroll taxes (FICA), or overhead expenses. You should consult with your campus grant administrator to determine if your campus will deduct such charges from the awarded funds.
- Grantees are Faculty or staff* full stipends: up to a maximum of $2,500
- Faculty or staff* partial stipends: up to a maximum of $500
- Lodging: $150/night
- Meals: $25/meal (lunch or dinner), $40/day total
- Travel: up to $350 (unless distance requires additional funding.)
- Requests for hardware and software purchases cannot exceed ten percent of total grant amount requested.
* Note: ACS will follow institutional rules and limits on faculty and staff stipends. Please check with your HR department and/or your Academic Affairs Office if you have questions.
Receipts: Grantees are required to send exact totals for purchases to ACS and not receipts. All receipts should be collected and held on the home institution. (Please check with your campus to determine where these should be held.). We reserve the right to request receipts should we need to audit a grant.
When devising budgets, please note that ACS cannot fund:
- Conferences, workshops, speakers, events, and symposia that are one-time in nature will not be funded unless their centrality to the projects is demonstrated and the explanation includes tangible outcomes and action steps. For example, if a one-time class is proposed, explain how it could lead to collaborative programming in the future; if a workshop is proposed, explain the cascading effects that are expected once participants return to their home campuses; if an honorarium for a speaker is requested, explain how the lecture will have benefits beyond those immediately attending.
- Student costs (including graduate students): stipends, financial aid, wages, tuition (in sum, no direct payments to students). Hourly workers hired by the project who are also students are allowable under some circumstances.
- The purchase of alcoholic beverages is not allowable.
Please contact ACS if you have any questions about these budget guidelines. Thank you for helping ACS fund as many projects as our sources will allow and for the work you are doing as part of our grant program.