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Course Development Grants

The Upstate Institute provides course development grants each year to support Colgate faculty with teaching interests that involve community engagement.


The Upstate Institute invites all continuing members of the faculty at Colgate University to apply for a course development grant to be administered by the Upstate Institute in partnership with the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. These grants support faculty seeking to give students course-based research experiences while addressing a community need identified through collaboration with a local not-for-profit or government agency.  


For the 2018-2019 academic year, the Upstate Institute will provide support for two types of course development grants: up to two courses proposed and taught by a single instructor and one course team-taught by a team of two instructors.  These grants include a faculty stipend as well as support for course-related expenses to develop a new or revised course that engages students in community-based research.   

The proposed course may be new or a substantial redesign of a course the applicant has already taught. By accepting the grant, the applicant(s) is expected to teach the proposed course two times in the four subsequent academic years. The applicant(s) will also be expected to share the results of their course development work with others through various media, and should be prepared to work with the Upstate Institute on a plan for course assessment.

Faculty awarded a grant to support a course taught by a single instructor will be awarded a one-time stipend of $4000 to support development of the community-based research component of the course.  Faculty applying for the team-teaching opportunity will each be awarded a one-time stipend of $1000 for their work to develop the course and will each receive one full load credit for their full participation in teaching, attending, grading, and participating co-curricularly in the course.  Team-taught courses will be supported with a full load credit for each participating faculty member for the first two iterations only; instructors may reapply for full credit support after the course has been taught twice.  Otherwise, further iterations of the course may be taught for 1⁄2 credit per instructor.

In addition, successful applicant(s) may request additional funds of up to $4,000 from the Upstate Institute each of the first two times that the course is taught; these funds are meant to support expenses related to the course such as local travel, supplies, equipment, or guest lecturers.


  • Course will be taught at least 2 times over the next 4 years.
  • For team-taught courses, preference will be given to proposals that team faculty across divisions or in otherwise interdisciplinary pairings.
  • The proposed budget for course implementation costs will be vetted by staff of the Upstate Institute in consultation with the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
  • The community based research component should include a substantive outcome for the community organization with which the students work. 
  • Students should be given a substantial community-based research project and be asked to critically reflect on their experiences with community engagement.
  • If a course selected for an award is new to the curriculum, instructors must then submit it to the Curriculum Committee for approval.
  • While not a requirement of the program, proposals that creatively combine interests in community engagement with the goals of other Colgate course development grant opportunities (eg: Bicentennial Program, COVE course development grants, and others) will be favorably considered.
  • Members of the Upstate Institute Executive Board will review proposals.  A list of members of the Executive Board is available here. 

Previous Awards

Janel Benson of Sociology and Anthropology (“Sociology of the Family”), Jessica Graybill of Geography (“Urban Geography”), and Tim McCay of Biology (“Applied Natural Resource Conservation”) were awarded grants through the Upstate Institute in 2015, and Ellen Kraly received funding to teach her course "Environmental and Public Health Geographies."

Each will teach their courses in partnership with regional organizations. The Upstate Institute has worked closely with these faculty to develop these partnerships and incorporate community engagement in the curriculum for each course; faculty submitting proposals for grants in the current funding cycle can count on this same support.

Read more about Janel Benson's course on the Upstate Institute blog.

To Apply

Proposals can be made to the Upstate Institute as outlined in Faculty Development Council policies.

By Friday, January 26, 2018, send an electronic copy of the proposal to Chris Henke at the Upstate Institute. The proposal should include the following (in no more than five pages):

  • The project title, name(s) of applicant(s), and departmental/program affiliation(s).
  •  A description of the project, which normally includes:
    • A statement of purpose.
    • A detailed description of the way in which the project will be carried out, including specific dates and locations for community-based project activities. 
    • A statement describing the community-based component of the course, and the community benefit that may result from the project.  Specify a community partner(s) for the course where appropriate.
    • For team-taught courses: briefly describe how a team-teaching model will help to achieve the community-based goals of the course. It also should include comments on the advantages of combining the two instructors' approaches, knowledge bases and methodologies for the course.
    • A draft syllabus or detailed course plan.
    • A brief discussion of plans to assess the outcomes of the project and your plans for disseminating the results of the project to the Colgate community. Examples include a public presentation or a blog. 
    • An indication of any anticipated need for library and/or academic technologies involvement or other staff support.
  •  A funding history: In this section, please describe your history of grant funding from Colgate sources for the past three years and other possible sources of funding for the project. You do not need to include divisional conference travel funding, but please do include all other Colgate (e.g. Faculty Development Council, Research Council, divisional faculty development, etc.) funding. With respect to expenses for your proposal state what Colgate funding you have already pursued or secured and what—if any—alternate sources of outside funding you have pursued/secured.
  •  An itemized budget, including stipends and anticipated course expenses (if any). Allowances for per diem expenses and travel must conform to the University travel policy (link). Faculty who are seeking funding for equipment, software, books, or instructional materials should first contact their department, program, or division or, when appropriate, the library, to inquire about existing budgets which may support similar requests. We recommend using the Faculty Development Council budget form (link).
  •  Please feel free to include additional supporting materials, as appropriate.