Washington State University faculty are tasked with providing the highest quality education to all undergraduates in majors across the institution.
Their front-line efforts have an immediate and lasting impact on the learning taking place by our students. These educators strive to employ the most up-to-date techniques and methods so they can deliver the best courses and supplementary learning experiences.
Innovation in Teaching and Learning: Smith and TCI Grants
Each year, grants are awarded to faculty seeking to innovate. To reflect national conversations in higher education related to effective teaching and learning practices and issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) in teaching and learning, the Provost’s Office is pleased to offer two separate programs available to instructors at WSU. The two grants are listed below.
- Smith Teaching and Learning grants are made from the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment, a fund established in 2000 to honor retired WSU President Sam Smith and his wife, Patricia. The Smith grants have funded dozens of projects that led to teaching endeavors that have impacted the educations of thousands of WSU students over more than two decades. These focus on one or more faculty who have ideas to improve class instruction; projects can stretch over the course of an academic year.
- Transformational Change Initiative (TCI) IDEA grants were launched in 2022, supporting collaborations and projects of varying scope and they can be of short duration, say a summer or fall. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working with a faculty member can work on projects that foster conversation, reflection, insight, and understanding of IDEA within the WSU community; support interactions between WSU campuses and surrounding communities; and produce materials/resources that advance the university’s equity work in all teaching and learning contexts. Projects could be, for example, interdepartmental or intercampus, involve workshops and reading groups, advance antiracist approaches to teaching, and more — the possibilities are boundless.
While they may look similar upon a cursory glance, there are distinct requirements and key differences between the two. Our “Which Faculty Support Grant is Right for Me?” section below explains the nuances.
Faculty Efforts in General Education
The Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching is a special faculty award that acknowledges extraordinary efforts in teaching by faculty participating in University Common Requirements (UCORE) programming. The Law Award has been awarded every year since 2013.
Smith Teaching and Learning Grants
Each spring DAESA accepts applications for Smith Teaching and Learning grants. Visit our Smith grants page to download a copy of the request for proposals and apply for a grant.
Applications for Smith grants are due in spring.
TCI Idea Grants
Each spring DAESA accepts applications for TCI IDEAS grants. Visit our TCI IDEA grants page to download a copy of the request for proposals and apply for a grant.
Applications for TCI IDEA grants are due in spring.
Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching
Applications are accepted in spring for the Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching. Visit our Law Awards page to download a copy of the request for proposals and apply for an award.
Applications for Law Awards are due in spring.
Which Faculty Support Grant is Right for Me?
While the Smith Teaching and Learning Grant and TCI IDEA Grant programs may look similar upon first glance, there are distinct requirements and key differences between the two.
Who Is Eligible to Apply for Each Grant Program?
The Smith Teaching and Learning Grant is more restrictive due to its funding endowment. It is limited to faculty on any WSU campus with instructional responsibilities, appointed half-time or more, and with continuing employment in the next academic year following that of the time when an application is submitted. The grant team can consist of a single faculty member. Those who have won a Smith grant in the last four years are not eligible to apply for a Smith grant but may choose to apply for the Transformational Change Initiative (TCI) IDEA Grant instead.
The TCI IDEA grants are available to all full-time WSU faculty located on any campus at any rank and track. Graduate students or postdoctoral fellows may be included as co-PIs. The grant leadership team must consist of at least two individuals, with the lead PI being a full-time WSU faculty member.
What Kinds of Projects Will Be Supported by Each Program?
Smith grants have a defined focus area that must be addressed for an application to be successful. For the 2024-25 cycle, Smith Grant proposals must address one or more of the Eight Principles of Effective Teaching that have been outlined by the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas.
TCI IDEA grants have broad criteria and allowed activities include exploratory work to build capacity for improving IDEA or extend on existing IDEA work. While TCI IDEA grants must address IDEA in teaching and learning in some capacity, the scope of the projects may vary from multi-department collaborations to more focused efforts that can impact course-level student outcomes.
What Are the Project Durations and Expected Deliverables?
For the Smith grants, project development and implementation can span the next academic year from time of application with a final project report due on August 15.
For the TCI IDEA grants awarded spring of an academic year, projects will be conducted during summer and/or fall of the following academic year. PIs will submit a final project report, due on December 15, and will be expected to give a short presentation during a TCI sharing event in spring.
The decision tree diagram shown below may help individuals identify the right grant program to support their IDEA-related project.