Application Deadline: Monday after Spring Break, each year
New Initiatives/New Instruction (NINI) funding is available to LSA faculty and lecturers to enhance the undergraduate learning experience, increase engagement, and foster student success through innovative teaching methods and inclusive teaching practices. Proposals should seek to directly and substantially benefit LSA undergraduates and focus on issues critical to the current teaching environment: assessment, accessibility, creative use of digital resources, active/experiential learning methods, new pedagogies, or innovative technologies.
Past awards have ranged from $15,000 to $75,000.
Faculty are encouraged to focus on one of the following topics:
Assessment-related grant projects might include:
- Revise course assessment to move away from traditional in-person, timed exams; a proposal could include activities and assessment strategies that focus more on process and revamping/reconceptualizing course assessment (e.g.: project based learning, experiential activities, end of semester grand finales or showcases, activities which reflect student growth and exploration over the semester).
- Incorporate frameworks and tools with which to assess group projects and student participation in the groups, or with which to assess the impact of gamification and other student-centric or mastery approaches to learning; explore frameworks that allow students to recover from setbacks early in the semester.
Inclusion and Accessibility
Grant projects on inclusion and accessibility might include:
- Update and/or adjust course materials for classes or class-labs to address multiple learning styles and abilities and permit multiple means of student engagement; this could also include updating materials and activities to expand accessibility.
- Integrate new pedagogies and collaboration tools to incorporate local and global community engagement and student expression, particularly in telling stories and augmenting the voices of communities and experiences not traditionally included in LSA courses.
- Make concrete accessibility improvements to a course or series of courses: accessible documents, adding alt-text to course site images, adding and editing captions on course video, revising slides to follow best practices in information-density, editing lecture or demonstration materials to provide equivalent information in textual, visual, and auditory channels.
- Develop instructor-focused learning communities where faculty work collaboratively to increase inclusion and accessibility in their courses and incorporate content from a wider range of voices and perspectives within a field of study.
Innovative Technologies and New Pedagogies
Examples of new pedagogies and technologies include:
- Explore new-ways artificial intelligence can engage students and enhance critical thinking and deeper understanding of the field. This could include adapting assignments with creative ways to incorporate AI into learning or engaging students in critical analysis of AI generated content: quality of content, limitations, sources, citations, etc.
- Innovation inspired by the experience of teaching during Covid; new ways to run classrooms, new active learning opportunities, combining technologies to supplement/ augment learning (blended learning, innovative approaches to flipped classrooms, asynchronous activities). Incorporating online techniques into in-person learning or exploring new approaches to hybrid experiences.
Classroom Engagement / Active and Experiential Learning
Examples of active learning projects include:
- Transform traditional courses into interactive, exploratory, or team-based learning experiences, in which students actively engage with new content and new perspectives focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Develop and expand experiential learning opportunities, with particular focus on experiences to build inclusion and equity, engaging with groups not typically included in undergraduate experiences or as focus of course content.
Proposals should address the pedagogical value, scope, and scale of the project, present the intended benefits and impact on the undergraduate student experience, describe associated risks, and establish a plan for assessment. All faculty or staff responsible for the project must be clearly identified.
Who Can Apply for a NINI Grant?
NINI grants are open to all instructional staff in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Eligibility to apply for funding does not ensure that funding will be granted, but all instructors are welcome to apply.
Among the items that may be included in the budget request are:
- Hourly wages for student assistants
- Wages are flat amounts, benefits not included
- Undergraduates: $15/hr
- Graduate Students: $25/hr
- Software and equipment not available through LSA Technology Services
- Fees for outside programmers, graphic designers, or other consultants
- Costs for digitizing images and texts
- Fees for one-time access to databases or subscriptions
- Project evaluation expenses
Items that require significant rationale to clarify exceptional circumstances:
- Travel and registration fees for relevant conferences, seminars, or workshops
- Faculty salary support
- Faculty stipends are flat amounts, benefits not included
- Lecturers: up to $15,000
- Tenure track: up to $5,000
- Laptop and desktop computers
Items that may NOT be included in the budget request are:
- Cost of on-going cycle of replacements for equipment
- Tuition reimbursement for student assistants
- GSI and GSRA appointments
- Cost of on-going subscriptions/licenses
Applying for a NINI Grant
Proposals should be submitted online and consist of:
- A narrative no longer than five (5) pages
- A detailed budget justification
- An abstract suitable for general distribution
- A supporting letter from the Chair or Director
- Successful proposals will be asked to report outcomes to the LSA instructional community by participating in an annual grant showcase event and submitting a brief final report.
If your grant proposal is approved, a report on the project should be submitted within a year. For multi-year projects, brief reports should be submitted annually.
Complete the steps below to apply for a grant:
Step 1: Complete the NINI Grant Proposal Template
- Download the grant propsal template
- Complete and save the template
- Complete Step 2 to submit your grant application.
Step 2: Submit the Online Grant Application
- Fill out the application form
- Upload completed grant proposal template
- Upload additional materials
- Submit your grant application
Timeline & Decisions
Proposals are due the Monday after Spring Break, each year. Faculty would begin work on major projects in Spring/Summer of that year and would begin piloting and implementing changes beginning Fall or Winter terms.
Consultations & Resources
For assistance with proposals contact:
Read more information about inclusive teaching.