Request for proposals

Creating Unsurpassed Student Experiences Implementing Recommendations from Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity & Inclusion Request for High-Impact Proposals (RFP) for 2018 Funding Cycle

The Purpose of the Program

The purpose of this intramural grant program, named USE D&I Grant (Unsurpassed Student Experience), is to deepen understandings and forge relationships across racial, ethnic, religious, and other lines. Additionally, USE D&I Grants will help Syracuse University continue to enhance and sustain an inclusive, accessible campus of opportunity for a richly diverse student body, including international students, students with disabilities, underrepresented students, and veterans. Proposals funded should be high-impact practices as determined through research and/or assessment. They also should have the potential of being scaled up to involve more students. Furthermore, they should include real measurements to determine the impact the high-impact practice had on the students, faculty and staff involved.


Grant proposals are due April 6, 2018. The goal is to develop these programs in spring and summer 2018 and pilot them in the academic year 2018–19. Evaluation of the USE high-impact practice, including assessment of student learning, must be completed by May 15, 2019.

Engaging Students

The target audience for these practices should be undergraduate students. Experiences that reach graduate students may also be considered. However, programs that support the training and professional development of faculty and staff who are tasked with teaching students and providing/supporting a positive student experience will be considered as well, so long as student impact can be measured.

Each proposal must explain the target student audience that will be involved and why this group would be best served through the proposed high-impact practice. Giving detail regarding the size of the group and why working with that size and particular group is ideal. Some of these groups may include but are not restricted to:

  • First-year undergraduate students
  • First-year graduate students
  • Returning undergraduate students
  • Returning graduate students
  • Student peers engaged in advising, mentoring and/coaching

Learning Objectives

These USE high-impact projects should have specific, measurable learning outcomes focused on diversity and inclusion, but may also include other general learning outcomes beyond any particular discipline. These might include creative reasoning, scientific reasoning, critical reasoning, ethics and integrity, quantitative reasoning, information and technology skills, collaborative learning, civic and global engagement, or communication skills.

Sample High-Impact Practices

Such high-impact practices might include:

  • Common reading and discussion group
  • Common intellectual experience (movie, theater, excursions)
  • Service learning
  • Capstone projects
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • First-year experience (outside of class)
  • First-year seminars (course)
  • Diversity & Inclusion course
  • Undergraduate team research projects
  • Project-based learning
  • Guided pathway
  • Publicly engaged scholarship
  • ePortfolio
  • Reflective writing
  • Learning community
  • Writing-intensive course
  • Practicum/Internships
  • Collaborative assignment
  • International study abroad
  • Domestic study abroad


Each of the proposed projects/programs should have the potential to be scaled up in order to make it available to more students and potentially all students. Identify other potential funding sources, internal and external, that could be sought to scale the program or sustain it.

Learning Outcomes

The proposed high-impact practice must have clearly stated learning outcomes that the students should achieve by completing the course. Some of the Middle States Accrediting Council’s mandated outcomes that have been proposed to the University for adoption should also be included as appropriate. Those include ethics and integrity, communication skills (oral and written), critical thinking/reasoning, creative reasoning (creativity/innovation), quantitative reasoning/skills, scientific reasoning, civic and global skills (intercultural/multicultural skills), information and technology skills (literacy), and applied and collaborative skills.


The proposal should include a clear assessment plan.  What direct measures of student work and what indirect measures (such as surveys) will be conducted to determine if the learning outcomes and program objectives were achieved?  Do not include grades as an assessment measure.

Unit Support

Get a statement of support from the chair, dean, director, or vice president of the sponsoring unit explaining how the proposed activity fits within the strategic plan of the school, college, or unit. Proposals from interdisciplinary teams are welcome and letters of support from more than one supervisor are encouraged.


Lead Principal Investigator (PI) Eligibility

Syracuse University encourages collaborations, particularly multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations. However, for accountability, the primary responsibility for project oversight is on the lead principal investigator (the first name on the grant). For all grant categories, PI eligibility follows the institutional requirements set forth in the University’s Statement of Principal Investigator Eligibility.

Each eligible applicant may submit only one proposal in a year serving as the lead PI but can serve as co-investigator on as many projects as the investigator wishes.


I. Proposal Format.

A. Margin – 1 inch: top, bottom, left, and right

B. Minimum font size – 12 points

C. Single-spaced, single-sided 8.5 x 11 inch pages

D. Pages should be numbered.

II. D&I Grant Cover Page.

Signatures are needed on the cover sheet form.

III. Project Summary/Abstract.

The Project Summary is limited to 250 words.

IV. Project Narrative.

Limited to a maximum of 5 single-spaced pages including figures and tables. The page limit will be strictly enforced to ensure fair and equitable competition. Proposals that fail to comply with the page limit will be returned without review.

A. Introduction.

The introduction should include a clear statement of the high-impact practice and how it should help students understand and apply concepts related to diversity and inclusion.

B. Target population.

Describe which students will benefit from this high-impact practice.  Explain why this group is included. How many students will be engaged in the high-impact practice.

C. Learning Objectives.

Clearly state the learning objectives for this high-impact practice.  Be sure to include one or some of the proposed Middle States-related learning outcomes (Syracuse 4+4).

D. Background.

Summarize the body of knowledge or other past activities that give evidence to support the need for and the likelihood that this high-impact practice would work.  Explain how this idea helps the University achieve the concepts outlined in the Diversity and Inclusion recommendations by the Chancellor’s committee. You can include literature, assessment data/findings, and links to your unit’s strategic plan. All works cited should be referenced.

E. Approach.

Describe in detail how you will research, plan, and implement this high-impact practice.  Specifically, this section must include a description of the activities proposed and the sequence in which the activities are to be performed; methods to be used in carrying out the proposed project, including the feasibility of the methods; considerations of alternative methods; expected outcomes.

F. Assessment of Learning.

Describe how you will determine overall if the students achieved the learning outcomes listed. This assessment must be beyond a grade for the course.

V. Budget. ($5000 limit).

Describe how you will use the funding requested.

A. Salaries and wages for postdocs or students. Salaries for the PI or co- investigators are limited to one month.

B. Fringe benefits (use current fringe rate for full-time employees, part-time employees, and students).

C. Materials and supplies, including payment to human subjects.

D. Travel directly relevant to proposed effort.

E. Equipment.

F. Publication costs.

VI. Budget Justification.
Provide a justification for the budget requests.

VII. Biosketch.

Provide a biosketch for each investigator, limited to two pages in length, highlighting academic/student engagement that supports your ability to deliver this high-impact practice.

VIII. Conflict of Interest List for each of the PI and co-investigators.

Provide an alphabetical list of the PIs Conflict of Interest. This information is needed for proper review of your proposal.

IX. Reference List.

No additional materials, appendices, or supplementary documentation will be accepted.

X. Proposal Submission.

Application deadline: Proposals must be received by 5 p.m., April 6,  2018. Proposals should be submitted in one single pdf file electronically to To ensure acknowledgement of timely proposal receipt, please include “USE D&I Grant Program” in the subject line of the email.

XI. Proposal Review and Evaluation.

A. Each application will be evaluated in a two-part process. First, each application will be screened to ensure that it meets the administrative requirements as set forth in the USE D&I Grant Program. Applications that do not meet the guidelines as stated in the RFP will be eliminated from the competition and will be returned to the applicant without review. Second, a review panel will technically evaluate applications that meet these requirements. In addition to the review panel, written comments may be solicited from ad hoc reviewers. Prior to recommending an application for funding, the peer review panel and ad hoc reviewer comments, if applicable, will be presented and discussed.

B.  Review Panel Selection and Evaluation Process: A Review Panel will be selected with a goal of representing diversity and inclusion expertise across disciplines. The Review Panel will meet, discuss, evaluate, rank, and make recommendations for funding.

C. Evaluation Criteria: The peer reviewers and the review panel will be asked to take the following factors into account:

1. Overall merit of the application. (25% weight)

2. Qualifications of proposed project personnel and adequacy of facilities/resources to complete the project. (25% weight)

3. Relevance of the project and alignment of the project with University and unit strategic plans. (25% weight)

4. Ability to address learning outcomes and assess them. (25% weight)

Ad hoc reviewers (if relevant) as well as the review panel for each proposal will provide comments and a rating for each factor, where the ratings are excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. The ratings for each of these factors will be weighted equally and combined into an overall score using these point values:

Excellent: 5 points
Very Good: 4 points
Good: 3 points
Fair: 2 points
Poor: 0 points

XII. Award Notice.

Upon the completion of funding decisions, the lead PI will be notified. For all grant categories, the funding decision will be copied to the dean and associate dean for research or associate dean. In case of funding, the award announcement will include the following:

1. Title of project

2. Project period

3. Total dollar amount

XIII. Requirements for approved projects, for release of funds.

Prior to the commencement of research, the PI must provide copies of all relevant IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee), IRB (Institutional Review Board), and IBC (Institutional Biosafety Committee) approvals to the OVPR (Office of the Vice President for Research) as appropriate. It is the PI’s responsibility to be in compliance with federal and state regulations concerning human subjects, animal welfare, recombinant DNA, financial conflict of interest, export control, and any hazardous materials, and to comply with all the reporting requirements set for the USE D&I Grant Program.

The Office of the Provost reserves the right to redistribute or retract monies if problems arise relative to satisfactory progress or compliance of all terms as set with this RFP, or due to economic necessity of the University. A mid-term progress report and a termination report are required.

XIV. Additional Information.

Applications containing proprietary information will be evaluated with due consideration for protection of this information to the extent permitted by law provided such information is clearly identified by inclusion of the Proprietary Information Disclosure Statement.

XV. Timetable summary.

February 6, 2018: RFP release date

April 6, 2018: Proposals due

April 30, 2018: Review Panel meets and recommends projects for approval and funding

May 15, 2018: Provost Office will finalize and approve funding decisions; final decisions will be emailed to lead PIs, and copied to the dean/director of the lead PI. It is the lead PI’s responsibility to notify her/his co-investigator(s).

May 30, 2018: PI completion of requirements for release of funding May 1, 2018 Projects start

May 30, 2019: Final Report due