University of Southern Indiana

Pott College Innovation Fund

The Pott College promotes and encourages innovative recruitment, retention, and teaching / learning practices through research and teaching-based strategies focused on undergraduate success.  We encourage our faculty, staff and students to continuously work to research, update, develop, and implement new strategies to improve undergraduate enrollment and success.  The Pott College Innovation Fund serves to support faculty, staff, and students in these endeavors and to develop a national reputation in effective student recruitment, retention, and success.

In the higher education landscape of today, we are continuing to re-imagine what it means to be a leading public university - and the newly-launched Pott College Innovation Fund is a key vehicle for that work.  This fund will invest in initiatives that creatively fuel increased student recruitment and success.  Projects must focus on one or more of the following:  student recruitment and retention; challenging students to take an active role in their education; and transforming classrooms into active learning spaces.  In short, we encourage projects that promote "learning by doing" with a focus on recruitment, retention, and academic success.  Interdisciplinary projects are encouraged but not required.

The Pott College Innovation Fund awards will be given to faculty who propose novel ways to approach recruitment, retention, and teaching and learning, with a particular focus on helping more students from all backgrounds to not only persist, but to excel.

This program is closely modeled after the national recognized Hrabowski Fund for Innovation at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  You can learn more about the UMBC program and a small sample of their funded projects here.

How to Apply

Award Amounts:

A total of $15,000 in funding will be available and allocated through the  competitive review of proposals by a selection committee.  Awards of funding for a period of twelve months are available in two types.

Innovation Seed Awards:  Seed Awards will have a budget of less that $3,500 and will generally fund: 1) small-scale pilot projects in an individual or small number of classrooms; 2) small-scale recruitment or retention pilot projects in a specific academic major, student population, or geographic region.  In some cases, Seed Awards are granted for initial projects where collected data can be generated in support of a larger Innovation Implementation and Research Award.

Innovation Implementation and Research Awards:  These awards will have a budget of $3,500 or greater up to the maximum amount of $7,000.  Innovation Implementation and Research Awards will generally fund large-scale recruitment, retention, and/or student success projects that have a significant research basis and therefore a high potential for success.  Innovation and Implementation Research Awards should be transformative in nature and upon completion, provide data/evidence for informed decision-making and/or possible adoption at the University level or beyond.

Recipients will be designated as a "Pott College Innovation Fellow" for the duration of the award.  Individuals participating in a collaborative group project will be considered as members of a "Pott College Innovation Collaborative".

Proposal Development and Criteria:

The proposal narrative must describe the: 1) Project background; 2) Project goals and objectives; 3) detailed methodology; 4) detailed plan to assess/evaluate/measure the effectiveness of the project in reaching the stated goals; and 5) detailed budget and narrative.

Proposals should address, and will be evaluated upon, the following criteria:

1. Clear description of a well-defined project or problem to be investigated.

2. Potential impact on student success and/or increased enrollment and the metrics that will be used to assess this impact.

3. Where appropriate, the relationship between the proposed methods and/or concepts and relevant existing research (especially important for Innovation Implementation and Research Awards).

4. The feasibility of the project to be accomplished successfully during the granting period.

5. Plans for formative and summative assessment of the impact on student recruitment, retention, and/or success.

6. Plans for dissemination within the USI community including the potential of the transfer of lessons learned to other courses, disciplines, programs, etc.

Proposal Submission Format and Review

Applications must consist of:

1. A cover page that captures essential information from the proposal narrative, such as: title of the project; names of faculty and departments involved in the project; a concise summary or abstract of the project including project goals; and overall cost. The cover page requires a signature indicating endorsement of the entire proposal by the applicants' department chair/supervisor.

2. The proposal narrative develops these ideas fully, clearly addressing the criteria described above. The proposal narrative must include a budget justification and include:

  1. Project background
  2. Project goals and objectives
  3. Detailed methodology
  4. Detailed plan to assess/evaluate/measure the effectiveness of the project in reaching the stated goals
  5. Detailed budget and narrative

Proposal narratives for seed awards (budget less than $3,500) have a maximum length of hour (4) pages including a detailed budget justification.  Budget worksheet should be attached to the proposal.

Proposal narratives for implantation and research awards (budget grater or equal to, $7,000) have a maximum length of eight (8) pages including a detailed budget justification.

All applications will be reviews and evaluated by a selection panel reporting to the Dean.

After an initial screening and evaluation of proposals, the review panel may require finalists who have applied for Implementation and Research Awards to make a brief presentation to the selection panel and answer questions about their proposal.

Selection Panel:

Members of the selection panel will review and evaluate applications.  The selection panel consists of:

  • One representative from the Pott College Dean's Office (Ex-Officio)
  • Seven faculty, one from each Department within Pott College


Expenses that can be covered by these grants may include, but are not limited to: supplies and equipment, programming or research assistance, fees and expenses for student field trips, benchmarking, school visits, honoraria for classroom guest speakers, fees and expenses for conferences or workshops directly related to teaching, and summer stipends.

The maximum award will be in the total amount of $7,000, and all awardees are responsible for appropriate use of, accounting for, the funds provided.  All awards will be made for one year with no extensions or carry-over of funds not expended during the period of the awards. Awardees who wish to continue or expand their projects beyond the first year should submit a new proposal prior to the end of the project or seek external funding avenues.

Proposal Submission and Deadlines:

Applications will be reviewed once each year. Proposals must be submitted to the Dean's office by 4:30 pm on November 1st.  Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

Application materials are to be submitted by e-mail to Dr. Glenna Bower at  in Word format or (preferably) as a single .pdf file.  Awards should be announced within approximately 30 days of the deadline for submission.

Start Date:

Projects will officially start at the beginning of the following year (January 1 - December 30).

Expectations of All Awardees:

Within three months of project completion all awardees will provide a brief written report about key outcomes.

Levels of Graduate Assistants

Contact Dr. Zane Mitchell


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