Guidelines for Wheeler Awards
The Wheeler Academic Development Fund was established to support teaching activities related to improving academic programs. Monies for the fund were provided from the estate of Esther Wheeler, long-time administrative assistant in the Xavier Evening College. She was the wife of Professor Charles Wheeler, a former Chair of the English Department and the first Director of Summer Sessions.
Wheeler Awards support academic program improvement in order to enhance student learning. Hence, proposals should clearly connect the project to specific course and/or program, including Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) where possible.
Wheeler Awards are intended to fund pilot programs and new initiatives and efforts, and not to replace existing sources of funding or to provide ongoing support for a program.
Proposals that involve equipment and software requests will be considered. The requested technology must clearly and explicitly be tied to the use of new technologies and/or approaches that support student learning. Ongoing equipment needs and/or maintenance will not be considered. Thus, care should be given to explain how the requested equipment or software will be used in subsequent courses and how ongoing equipment or software support will be paid for, if necessary. It should not be assumed that the university will replace the equipment in subsequent replacement cycles.
Hiring rules must be followed as noted in the Budget section below and on the budget worksheet. Requests for funds to reduce a course load will be considered when a significant block of faculty time is needed to accomplish the project's goals. Such a request must be approved by the department chair (or dean, if it is a department chair) in a letter that accompanies the proposal. In the letter, the chair must outline a plan as to how the course load reduction will be accommodated - e.g. through hiring an adjunct, delaying the offering of a course, etc. If funds are necessary to hire an adjunct or otherwise accommodate the load reduction, this amount must be clearly indicated and included in the project budget.
Requests for funds for feasibility studies or administrative expenses for new degree programs will not be granted.
Proposals for the next round of funding will be due on
Monday, March 20, 2023.
Completed proposals should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
I. Persons or groups who may apply for Wheeler Awards include:
- Principal faculty members
- Full-time academic staff, instructors, clinical faculty, and ESL instructors.
- Full-time university librarians.
Individual Projects: Projects are typically directed toward a faculty member developing new courses, initiating new and innovative pedagogies for an existing course or courses, or developing programs. Projects should be aimed at advancing specific SLOs or addressing shortcomings identified by assessment.
Group Projects: Projects are typically directed toward improving or strengthening the capacities of programs and departments to meet specific SLOs and/or to enhance student learning.
The faculty development committee, in conjunction with the office of the associate provost for academic affairs, will publish in early February a call to all eligible persons for proposals for the Wheeler Award. The call will clearly communicate the specific deadline for submission of proposals, typically in March.Start Date: All proposals should clearly indicate the desired start date for the project. Projects approved for the following academic year may begin on the first of any month between June and April, inclusive.
End date: The project funding will expire thirteen months after the start date. Hence, applicants should choose a start date appropriate to the project needs. Should a longer timeframe be necessary, the proposal should clearly indicate this request along with a rationale for the extended time. All funds unused at the end of the project will revert back to the Wheeler Fund.
Reports: Within four months after the end of the project, awardees must submit a narrative and financial report to the associate provost overseeing faculty development and the chair(s)/program director(s) of the recipient(s). The narrative should assess the outcomes of the project in light of the SLOs identified in the proposal. The outcomes may not all be positive but, in all cases, lessons learned should be clearly outlined.
- All reports will be made available to the faculty development committee. Failure to submit a final report will preclude the awardee(s) from being eligible to submit future Wheeler Award proposals. (For a group project only one report need be submitted, but all recipients share the responsibility for submitting the report.)
- In cases where the project outcomes are demonstrated to significantly enhance student learning, greatly impact program SLOs, and markedly advance the mission of the University, awardees are encouraged to work with the office of the associate provost for academic affairs to seek ongoing budgetary support from the UPRC to continue or advance the program.
III. Evaluation of Award Proposals
The faculty development committee reviews proposals utilizing the following rubric to guide assessment and committee discussions of each proposal. The committee makes recommendations for Wheeler Awards to the Associate Provost overseeing faculty development, who will forward the committee's recommendations, along with his/her own, to the Provost and CAO. The Provost and Chief Academic Officer has the final voice in approving projects. The faculty development committee and faculty committee will be informed of the recipients of the awards.
IV. Award Amount
Requested Award amounts should be appropriate for the needs of the project, not more and not less. To that end, each proposal must contain a detailed budget outlining the need or use, the amount, and a rationale for each expense requested. Requests for more than $50,000 will not be considered.
Wheeler Awards should not be used to cover insufficient travel/research/equipment budgets.
Requests for funds to cover travel and conference attendance will be considered, but such requests must be explicitly tied to advancing student learning for a new or existing course or for program development.
Faculty stipends of up to $1000 may be requested as part of the project, but should be reserved for those situations where the prime need for new course development is significant faculty time and effort that is above the ordinary course of faculty duties. A justification for the stipend must be included in the budget. A faculty stipend will not automatically be awarded.
Proposals will be considered under the following categories. These categories are intended to be guides to assist in crafting a proposal and the examples given should not be taken exhaustive. Proposals that include a higher budget request will be expected to have a higher impact / higher payback as compared to proposals that ask for less.
- Requests to enhance existing courses or develop faculty skills - limited scope of impact:
Proposals of this type are expected to address specific curricular or pedagogical issues identified by faculty in a course, program, or for assessment (core or programmatic) purposes and may include requests for: professional or guest speakers; the purchase of specific books, learning aids, or media; fees or travel costs for professional development related to course and/or pedagogy; etc. These types of projects are expected to have lower budgets, typically less than $1000. Stipends will not be awarded for projects in this category.
- Requests for course or program development - ongoing impact:
Proposals of this type are expected to address issues identified by faculty or departments that promote course/program growth or address assessment outcomes. Projects may include development and implementation of new courses or programs, curricular or pedagogical enhancements to one or more sections/courses to improve student learning; significant professional development, such as the development of new skills for one or more faculty to enhance curricular offerings, etc. Requests of this type typically fall in the $1000 to $5000 range.
- Requests for significant course/program development - ongoing and extended impact:
Proposals of this type are expected to support course/program development that is significant, not just incremental, and should address issues that arise from assessment or that fulfill an institutional strategic priority, market need, or may lead to additional revenue streams. Requests of this type are likely to be complex, make use of institutional resources, involve more than one faculty member, and may be interdisciplinary. Thus, it is likely that these requests will be larger, typically more than $5000, and as such, will require a more compelling narrative.
V. Guideline Revisions: When necessary, the faculty development committee will recommend revisions of these guidelines to the Provost.
1. Cover Page (should have the following information in the following order):
- Name of Applicant(s)
- Title of Project: Include: "PROPOSAL FOR A WHEELER AWARD"
- Project start month/year. (If the project must last more than thirteen months, identify the time period here and justify the request in the proposal.)
- Total amount requested
- Abstract of proposed project not to exceed 150 words.
The Wheeler Grant budget consists of a categorized list of expenses in the budget spreadsheet and a budget justification page. The spreadsheet categorizes expenses into personnel and operating costs and the spreadsheet correctly calculates the fringe benefit costs. The budget justification page should provide details about the amounts, rationale for the expenses, and an explanation of how the requested funds will be spent within the time frame of the project, if appropriate.
- Requests for release time should cause a corresponding request for adjunct pay; talk to your chair for the appropriate cost.
- Compensation for a faculty or exempt (salaried) staff member for work on the project may not exceed $1000. Note that the 10% fringe benefit cost means that a stipend of $1000 results in a grant cost of $1100.
- Compensation for non-exempt (hourly) staff must be discussed with their supervisor and HR to ensure all legal guidelines are followed.
- Use of student workers will need to follow the Student Employment process for hiring, compensation, and supervision. (Students must be paid by hour.)
- Equipment, software, data sets and other technology items may be appropriate budget items; the budget justification must explain how any needed maintenance will be handled after the grant period. The purchase must follow university policy on technology acquisition.
- When estimating travel costs, be aware of the University Travel Policy; in particular Xavier follows the IRS standard mileage reimbursement rate.
Must be limited to three single-spaced pages. Include a description of the project and an explanation of the anticipated curricular or pedagogical benefit and specific course and/or program SLOs addressed by the proposal. Including evidence of the following factors in the project description may be helpful: What factors led you to pursue the proposed project? What evidence demonstrates the need for the project? Do you have previous accomplishments related to the project? Have you taught classes relating to the proposal? If you are moving into a new area, what factors in your prior professional work have led you to this area?
The importance and distinctiveness of the proposed project should be clearly articulated. Within the relevant category, your description might include:
- For Individual Projects: Title, theme, and objective of new or revised course(s) being prepared: How does it fit into the college, department, and/or core curriculum? Workshop or conference: theme or objective; major speakers; place and length of time; how it will strengthen teaching. Description of new developments to be studied and of the significance of such developments; account of the significance of studying another discipline to improvement and strengthening of teaching in one's own discipline.
- For Group Projects: How will the activity improve teaching? What is the theme and objective? Why is it needed? To what audience is the activity being directed? How does the activity fit into the discipline(s) involved?
4. A letter from the department chair/program director of each department represented by the proposal is required. (If an applicant is a department chair or program director, a letter from the dean is required.) In this letter, the chair(s) should indicate their level of support for the proposed project and indicate the curricular improvement that is expected and how it may impact the program. If a load reduction is requested as part of the proposal, the chair must indicate how the reduction will be handled by the department. If an adjunct position is requested, the letter should clearly indicate support for this and the amount requested for the adjunct pay should be included on the budget spreadsheet.
5. Additional information:
- If applicable, brochures or other information concerning the conference, workshop, or program for which funding is being requested should be submitted.
- If applicable, a brief description of previous faculty development awards received and their outcomes should be submitted.
- Any other pertinent information that the faculty development committee should have.
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