Guidelines for Cross-Disciplinary and Departmental Teaching Circle Mini-Grants

  • Administered by the Center for Teaching Excellence, Reflective Practice Project

    Funded by the Office of the Provost

    Submission Deadline: 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 9, 2015

    Notification by: Friday, October 23, 2015

    Inquiries and Electronic Submission:

    Dr. Heide Witthöft, 7-2320


    The purpose of the Cross-Disciplinary and Departmental Teaching Circle Mini-Grants is to support the formation and perseverance of teaching circles, leading to a clear, well-defined outcome which will enhance the teaching skills of circle members or add to the teaching circle’s knowledge of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Outcomes could include changes in syllabi with a supporting rationale based on reading and discussion in the teaching circle, a presentation based on work done in the circle, a publication which grows out of the work of the teaching circle, or other appropriate outcomes.


    The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), through the Reflective Practice (RP) Project, has encouraged and supported the organization of teaching circles for many years. However, many circles do not last for an entire academic year, and some may lose their focus, get bogged down, and become unproductive even if members are meeting. While scheduling and time constraints are major difficulties in forming and sustaining a teaching circle and currently the CTE/RP can do little to alleviate this problem, other impediments can be addressed. For some groups, the need to have a speaker who is an expert in the field is crucial. For others, the cost of books and materials, if not prohibitive, is problematic. For other circles, the end product is what is difficult to attain: funding to travel to a conference to present the outcomes of the teaching circle or sharing findings and changes with colleagues in a formal setting, like a departmental retreat.

    While the rewards of participating in a productive teaching circle are many, these mini-grants recognize the hard work involved and add monetary resources, albeit small, to the human resources.

    Grants may be used for:

    • books and other educational materials (to include resources not otherwise available or obtainable by the IUP Libraries)
    • software, hardware, and courseware for curriculum development
    • student help with projects
    • faculty training costs
    • honoraria for speakers
    • website development
    • other appropriate activities that support teaching and faculty development as teacher-scholars

    Grants may NOT be used for:

    • food and beverages
    • marketing of academic programs
    • non-teaching circle related expenses

    Monies Available

    The maximum award is $500. The reviewers may award less than what the teaching circle has requested.


    Any departmental or cross-disciplinary teaching circle may apply. Applicants must have completed a form to establish their teaching circle with the Reflective Practice Project. Grant proposals will be awarded up to 20 points in each of the following categories for a maximum of 100 points:

    • impact of project on student learning
    • impact of project on faculty learning
    • feasibility of project
    • overall quality of proposal (including completeness and clarity of proposal)
    • quality of budget rationale

    Submission Date

    The October 9, 2015, submission deadline is firm. Please submit an electronic copy of your proposal, in Word (.doc) format, to Heide Witthoft (, by 4:30 p.m.

    Review Process

    The Teaching Circle Mini-Grant Program Committee will evaluate the proposals and select those that are to be funded. Awards notification will be on or before Friday, October 23, 2015.

    Important Dates

    The grant work will need to be completed during the 2015–16 AY. The teaching circle should provide a brief description of the teaching circle accomplishments for inclusion in the printed program for the Reflective Practice Recognition Dinner (TBA) and the CTE website. A final report (approximately 250 words) describing the specific outcomes of your project is expected by April 15, 2015. The report should be submitted electronically (in Word .doc format) to Dr. Stephanie Taylor-Davis at (

    Proposal must include the following:

    • Completed cover sheet (attached)
    • A one- to two-page proposal (maximum 500 words) including:
      • The goals and objectives that you have for your teaching circle
      • If your proposal relates to a course, please also include:
        • The number and name of the course on which you will be working
        • Expected enrollment and number of section(s) offered.
        • Current syllabus
    • Budget and rationale for how the award will be used to help achieve the goals and objectives of your teaching circle.

    Application Form

    Examples of Successful Mini-Grant Applications

    Mini-Grant Proposal Evaluation Sheet