Preparing a grant that includes education, outreach, or training for undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, or faculty?
Interested in writing a grant about your teaching innovation, measuring student learning, or collaborating with other universities on institutional change?
We seek to partner with faculty developing grants related to learning and teaching in higher education and to advance scholarship in learning and teaching
As part of the Center’s research mission, Searle Center staff writes many grants together with faculty, and can partner at different levels as appropriate. Please get in touch as soon as possible. The sooner we start working together, the more successful the proposal will be.
If you come two months ahead, we can:
- Work with you to develop the grant by helping you formulate an innovative education plan, find supporting literature, and develop an evaluation plan.
- Author or co-author sections of the proposal on education and evaluation. Develop a partnership to support continuous program improvement and sustainability.
- Offer extensive feedback on your grant (2–3 appointments).
- Prepare for and participate in site visits
If you come two weeks ahead, we will do our best to work with you, but please understand that we often receive multiple simultaneous requests and may have competing deadlines related to other Center work:
- Consult with you (1 appointment). Discuss elements of the proposal, co-author short sections on education and evaluation.
- Offer follow-up feedback.
If you come less than two weeks ahead, we will not be able to best accommodate your request and will limit our support to what we can do without compromising our other commitments:
- Draft a letter of support, provide limited feedback and a brief consultation. Refer you to other grant-writing resources.
Letters of support
If the timing and conditions fit, we would be happy to write a letter of support. However, we cannot write such letters without proper notice or without reviewing and discussing the grant. Before contacting us, please contact your program officer to find out if there are requirements for the letter of support.
Most proposals require you to develop an evaluation plan to determine whether you achieved your educational objectives. These are required by NSF and NIH, and most private agencies. Evaluation plans must be tailored to the particular proposal. Therefore,we can help you design your evaluation plan, but cannot provide you with a generic evaluation plan. If funding is available in the grant, we may be able to help you implement your plan.
Always consult the grant guidelines and/or your program officer to see who should conduct the evaluation. Some grants allow the evaluation to be conducted internally i.e. by you or members of your project team. Others require you to use an external evaluator who works at Northwestern but is NOT a member of your own project team, while still others require an evaluator who is NOT an employee of Northwestern. You must allocate sufficient funds and personnel for conducting the evaluation. Certain foundations and agencies, such as NSF, expect you will allocate a substantive portion of the budget (10 to 15 percent) for evaluation of the education component.
Please note: we are not funded to provide free evaluation, nor are we staffed to work on every grant for which we are initially consulted.
Writing the education component
Consider the following as you develop your education plan:
- Create clear educational objectives (refer to Bloom’s taxonomy).
- Provide rationale (supported by literature) for what you are doing and why it is important.
- Provide support and evidence for why what you are proposing is likely to be successful (why you've chosen particular pedagogical methods and approaches).
- For each educational objective and activity, develop a plan that includes a way of assessing a) how well the activity went and how it could be improved (formative evaluation) and b) whether the objective was achieved (summative evaluation).
- Include a plan to disseminate your educational work.
- Always follow the guidelines for evaluation your specific request for proposals.
- A guide for developing an educational evaluation plan
- Sample evaluation plans
- Online Evaluation Resource Library (OERL) website
- Evaluation-development checklist on the OERL website
- The National Science Foundation's User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation