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Office of the Provost

Summer Grants for the Improvement of Instruction


DEADLINE: October 28, 2019

The University of Southern Mississippi has a long-standing commitment to new and innovative pedagogy that improves student learning and enhances faculty members’ experience of teaching. As part of this commitment, each year the Office of the Provost awards summer salary stipends through a competitive process. Award-winning proposals will provide faculty members with time to redesign or create new courses and/or assessment practices.  

For the 2020 Summer Grants for the Improvement of Instruction (SGII), the Office of the Provost calls for proposals from faculty for the redesign of undergraduate courses to incorporate High-Impact Practices (HIPs) that have been demonstrated to improve student learning, increase student involvement in their educational process, and enhance motivation to continue advancing their knowledge and experience.

A list of High-Impact Practices is available on the Provost’s website. Many of these are practices that faculty at USM are currently employing successfully in their courses, including (but not limited to):

  • Academic service-learning pedagogy
  • Required collaborative learning experiences as part of course assignments
  • Regular use of an active learning pedagogy
  • Use of a Performance Prognosis Inventory, coupled with discussion of goal setting and adaptive teaching techniques to improve student performance
  • Expansion of content and requirements regarding diversity among people, globally and/or regionally
  • Integration of student-driven research assignments, with faculty mentorship
  • Required public presentations or other demonstrations of knowledge gained to a public audience
  • Incorporation of internship or other external experiences that connect course content to potential future career opportunities



“High-Impact Practices” have been part of the higher education landscape for decades, but it takes time to revise courses to incorporate new teaching techniques or assignments that can heighten the impact of the class on student motivation and learning. The grant program for summer 2020 is designed to offer faculty members the opportunity to reimagine their courses with different pedagogical approaches that they believe will improve student learning.

Faculty members may now enter their use of HIPs in Digital Measures on each Scheduled Teaching panel associated with each class. We hope with this grant program to enable more faculty members to utilize these practices in their courses.


Award Parameters

The SGII will be awarded to the strongest proposals for creative incorporation of High-Impact Practices into existing courses that are not currently using these practices, or not using them as fully as they would like to be. Selected proposals will demonstrate substantial revision plans, informed by the research on the High-Impact Practice the faculty member has chosen; successful proposals will also be able to demonstrate in clear and convincing terms that the class in question impacts a significant number of students, or is a pivotal class in other ways (e.g., is a required course with a high DFWI rate that the revision is designed to improve).

The proposed project must be completed during summer 2020, and faculty members may request the equivalent of three or six hours of part-time teaching salary, depending on the amount of work to be done. The proposal should clearly outline that the hours of work required are equivalent to teaching a three- or six-hour class. The recipient is eligible to engage in other university employment (e.g., teaching or administrative duties), but total university compensation may not exceed three course equivalencies (nine hours).

The course proposed for revision must be delivered in its revised version in the 2020-2021 academic year.  If the proposal requires approval of Academic Council, that process should be begun prior to summer 2020. Faculty who propose redevelopment of online courses will be expected to have participated in training on use of the Quality Matters course rubric through the Office of Online Learning before the course is offered.


Faculty Eligibility

  • Awards are open to full-time members of the Corps of Instruction who are teaching at least six hours of regularly scheduled courses during the 2019-2020 academic year. Faculty may receive a SGII every five years. Faculty members who received a SGII award in 2015 or later are ineligible for the 2020 grants. 
  • Preference will be given to faculty members who have actively utilized opportunities for faculty development (e.g., Innovative Teaching Workshop, ACUE Faculty Development Institute) or engaged in other efforts to enhance their instructional skills.
  • A SGII proposal may be authored by one or two faculty members.  If two faculty members are part of the proposal, include details about the role and time commitment for each faculty member in the proposal. The proposal may not require more than six total credit hours of work (i.e., a three-credit hour reassignment for each person).
  • Award recipients must be employees at the University in fall 2020 in order to receive a SGII.  


Required Content for SGII Application Submission

Faculty members who would like to apply for a 2020 SGII should talk with their school directors about possible plans and craft proposals in line with school, college, and university needs. Proposals must include the following items to be considered for the award:


1. Cover page

  • Name, program, school affiliation, email, and phone number of faculty member(s) applying for the grant;
  • Title, course number, and credit hours for the course(s) to which the proposal refers;
  • Indication of whether Academic Council or other approval will be required prior to implementation of the course changes/creation as proposed;
  • Indication of whether Academic Council or other approval will be required prior to implementation of the course changes/creation as proposed;
  • If the course is online, statement regarding whether the faculty has completed any Quality Matters training and, if not, an indication of when the rubric training will be done;
  • Statement regarding whether the faculty applicants have completed training on active learning techniques and, if so, what (e.g., ACUE Faculty Development Institute, Service-Learning Faculty Fellows seminar).

2. Proposal (1000-1500 words)

In your proposal, write for a general academic audience such that faculty evaluators in a range of disciplines will understand clearly what your plans are, what exactly you will do to carry them out, and why your proposed innovations will contribute to the University of Southern Mississippi. More specifically, be sure to include the following elements:

  • Purpose: Which course do you intend to re-create, why have you chosen this class, and why do you want to incorporate HIPs into the pedagogy?
  • Method: Discuss the steps you will take to implement the project. For example, you might seek assistance from the Center for Pathways Experiences, the Center for Faculty Development, the Center for Community and Civic Engagement, the Office of Online Learning, or other support areas/offices. If you are seeking funding beyond the salary stipend, indicate in the proposal the source and status of the additional funds. If you require instructional technology support or other academic support, indicate whether such support is available.
  • Anticipated impact: Indicate the potential impact of the project on instruction. Which students will benefit from the development and delivery of this project? In what ways?
  • Evaluation and assessment: Discuss how you will assess the course and the student learning outcomes, and whether you anticipate any challenges or needs to adapt existing assessment practices for the redesign you are planning.
  • Progress and timeline: Outline any work already undertaken and provide a timetable for the anticipated completion of the project. Your timeline should be specific – what will be done before May 2020, then what will be done in each month during summer 2020. You may break the timeline into weeks or into other time periods as appropriate to your work plan. Note that compensation can be requested for three- or six-hour equivalents and proposals should clearly demonstrate to the evaluation committee that the work being done in the summer requires the amount of time being requested.
3. Letters of Support
  • The submitted proposal must include letters of support from the director and the dean of the college. In their letters, the director and dean should address the level of need and possible impact of the project. It is the responsibility of the faculty member(s) offering the proposal to provide their application to the director and dean and request the letters of support be sent to the Office of the Provost no later than October 28, 2019.  Letters should be emailed directly to Christina.ForemanFREEMississippi.
4. Other Materials
  • Curriculum Vitae: Submit a CV pulled from Digital Measures using the “SGII CV Report” template. You will find this option under “reports.” If you have questions, please contact Senior Associate Provost Dr. Douglas Masterson at Douglas.MastersonFREEMississippi.
  • Additional supporting materials (optional, maximum 2 pages)


Submission Procedure

  • All materials must be submitted through the Mach form here by October 28, 2019. Faculty members applying for the SGII should upload required materials as individual PDF documents through the form. Letters from deans and directors should be sent directly to the Office of the Provost by emailing Christina.ForemanFREEMississippi by the deadline.
  • For additional information please contact Christina Foreman in the Office of the Provost at 601.266.6579.



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