November 26, 2018
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HHMI Inclusive Excellence grants were awarded to colleges and universities that proposed innovative ideas that aim to increase their capacity for inclusion of all students interested in studying science. The spirit of innovation and established record of Kenyon’s Natural Science Division in winning grants that explore student programs and pedagogies designed to increase retention, eliminate achievement gaps, and propel more students to advanced study was an important factor in the success of our HHMI IE proposal. The focus of Kenyon’s HHMI Inclusive Excellence activities are to catalyze the widespread adoption of approaches that we believe have a positive impact on inclusion so that all science students can benefit. HHMI Course Innovation Grants are intended to provide faculty with rich support as they make meaningful changes to courses and programs.
At Kenyon, teaching excellence is honored above all other characteristics of its faculty. Our value of diversity and inclusion supports the idea that inclusive teaching is an essential element of teaching excellence. Inclusive teaching takes myriad forms and depends on context. What is most effective for one faculty member, in one discipline, at a certain level of the curriculum, may be very different from another faculty member in a different situation. To embrace this reality, HHMI Course Innovation Grants will not be limited to a particular approach or pedagogical philosophy. Rather we ask those ‘on the ground’ to decide what innovation has the best chance of making a difference on the course or program with which they are engaged.
In our work as scientists and mathematicians we rely on precedent when forming our ideas and we reconcile our own conclusions with physical, natural, and mathematical realities. We would not begin a project in ignorance of what has been done before and we would not advance an idea that is not supported by data, grounded in observation, or is otherwise congruent with reality. By analogy, projects proposed in a Course Innovation Grant should be grounded in precedent and have a plan in place to measure the impact of the project so we might understand and describe to others the results of the project.
Over the past 30 years, evidence-based and data-rich pedagogical studies have been published that point to an array of approaches that seem to have a positive impact on inclusion. Course Innovation Grants will support projects that are derived from ideas described in this diverse and extensive body of literature and applied to a challenge or barrier that exists in a course or program at Kenyon. Likewise, these grants will support projects that rely on assessment to establish if the innovation has the desired impact. Such data can also be used to decide if the innovation is worthwhile and should be continued, should be refined, or should be abandoned for another approach. The hope is that this cycle of innovation, assessment, and reflection can be iterated to make continuous refinements that lead to enhanced inclusion and teaching in general in an evidence-based manner over time.
In light of the diversity of possible projects that are likely to be proposed, Course Innovation Grants will support a wide range of projects. Faculty may request stipends for their work, support for training and travel to conferences or workshops, funding for material needs or technology, or a course release to provide time during the academic year to work on the project. Course releases can also be split by faculty who opt to team-teach a course to allow each faculty member time to work on the innovation during implementation.
Proposals should be written for consideration by a committee of your peers from different departments in the Natural Science Division and should be organized in the following way:
Those that logically connect a barrier, an intervention/innovation, and an assessment plan
Those that employ innovations that are derived from precedents in the literature of the science of teaching and learning
Those written by small groups of faculty who share responsibility for regularly teaching a class or have a shared interest in exploring a particular intervention/approach/innovation. Proposals written by individuals will be given full consideration, however, there are many advantages to working in small supportive teams on such projects.
Those that have a thoughtful and realistic timeline including time to plan, develop materials, implement, assess and reflect on the outcome. Evidence of advanced planning will be essential for projects that request a course release.
A science of teaching and learning literature database has been curated at the CIP to provide ready access key references on barriers, interventions, and assessment. (Contact Alex Alderman for instructions on the use of this resource)
To support the development of your assessment plan, the staff of the Office of Institutional Research stands ready to provide guidance, offer suggestions, and point you to existing assessment resources/instruments (Contact: Erika Farfan)
As part of the HHMI project, and many other initiatives, rich assessment data is regularly being collected at Kenyon and in the division. Access to existing assessment data to aid in identifying barriers that exist in a course/department/program will be facilitated by an interactive data dashboard and qualitative assessment database. To learn what is currently available and to request permission to use these resources contact the Office of Institutional Research (Contact: Erika Farfan)
Faculty who take part in the HHMI Intensive Training Program will be supported throughout the conception and implementation of a course innovation project and will also take part in training in psychosocial challenges and interventions (stereotype threat, social contingency, bias, messaging). (Contact: John Hofferberth)
A representative committee of faculty in the Natural Science Division will rank and inform the funding decisions. The HHMI Core Team will thus be free to provide guidance and suggestions as proposals are being prepared. (Contact: John Hofferberth)
The authors of submitted proposals that need only minor revisions to receive funding will be given the chance to revise and resubmit within 10 days of receiving feedback from the selection committee. The HHMI Core Team will work with those authors to make the needed revisions so the projects have a good chance of getting funded during the current review cycle and proceeding on the timeline proposed. (Contact: John Hofferberth)
During the project you will share your progress/challenges/observations informally with the Natural Science Faculty Reading Group once for each academic year you have funding. In the ideal case, the group would read a key paper that describes the precedent for the innovation/intervention you are exploring and then you will discuss your implementation and how it is going with the group.
One year after you receive funding, you will prepare a brief written report (2-5 pages) on your project. If you receive funding for more than one year, a report will be due every year on the anniversary of when you receive funding. Written reports will include a description of your progress/challenges/observations, the results and analysis of your assessment program, and a description of what you plan to do next to refine your innovation.
A poster describing your project will be prepared and presented at a Progress Retreat poster session (May 2020 or May 2022). Progress Retreats will be celebratory events hosted at Kenyon to highlight projects that aim to increase inclusion (including those funded by HHMI and other initiatives) in the liberal arts setting. The event will be open and include projects at Kenyon and those at peer institutions. We also encourage and will support the presentation of Course Innovation Grant-funded projects at appropriate conferences outside of Kenyon (teaching conferences, appropriate sessions of disciplinary conferences, etc.)
These pedagogical research projects will be covered under an IRB approval for the Course Innovation Grant program. Guidance about IRB compliance will be communicated when the grants are awarded. This IRB will allow the data collected be shared as described above and will open the possibility of publishing the results.
Faculty who decide to continue to develop their innovation in semesters following the first implementation will receive a small stipend ($150) to continue to assess and write a brief summary of how their innovation as evolved and their reflections on its impact on inclusion.
Typically there will be four submission deadlines each year. Full proposals are those that require more advanced planning of the department(s) involved such staffing for a proposed course release or changes to the regular course offerings of a department. To allow time for the planning needed to accommodate such proposals, deadlines will be earlier (fall deadline: Sept. 15 for projects the following spring; spring deadline: Feb. 8 for projects the following summer or fall). Modest proposals, which involve projects in existing courses already staffed by the faculty involved will not require as much advanced planning and thus have later deadlines (fall deadline: Nov. 3 for projects the following spring; spring deadline: March 26 for projects the following summer or fall. The fate of proposals will be known 2-3 weeks after submission.
Completed proposals will be submitted electronically to the Google Form at is.gd/KenyonHHMICIG. This form will collect names and departments of the applicant(s) and allow you to upload your proposal file as described above. Please make all submissions in Word format (.doc or .docx).
Contact John Hofferberth if you have questions about this program.