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Academic Program Proposals

B. Proposals for Academic Programs

It may be that your need is not for a research grant, but for outside sponsorship of an academic program involving a new curriculum, a conference, a summer seminar, pipeline activities, or training. If so, once again your best proposal preparation is to carefully consult guidelines that the sponsoring agency provides, and communicate with the program officer (as above). In the event that guidelines are not available, crucial elements include:

Statement of Need for the Program: Be sure to describe unmet need in the field and gap in the current programing, and why it is important to fill the gap. Cite statistics and demographics as appropriate.

Objectives: Specify the intended outcomes such as developing a curriculum, recruiting participation in a field, synergizing new ideas, or offering education or skill training.

Program description: This section lists the courses, activities or instructional sessions to be offered; the interrelationship of parts; involvement of stakeholders if appropriate; and the program leading to certification or a degree. It discusses the students or participants to be selected and served by the program, as well as plans for faculty retreats, negotiation with cooperating institutions, released time to write instructional materials, and so on. As always, a Timeline is a good idea. Most sponsors want to see a plan for evaluating the outcome of the activities, e.g., academic or career tracking, publications, participation numbers, new databases, course evaluations.

Before concluding with the Institutional Resources, Personnel, and Budget sections, special attention should be given to a section entitled Institutional Commitment. Here the agreements made by various departments and cooperating institutions are clarified, and the willingness of the home institution to carry on the program once it has proven itself is certified. This section is crucial to the success of curriculum development programs because, in contrast to research programs, they have a profound impact on the host institution. Funding agencies need to be reassured that their funds will not be wasted by an institution that has only responded to a funding opportunity without reflecting soberly upon the long-range commitments implied.

Next: Private Foundation Inquiries


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