Curriculum Transformation Institute & Seed Grants
Do you have ideas or desires to improve the undergraduate curriculum and experiences of students with diverse prior experiences in your department or program? Are you looking for creative ways to make this happen, with collaboration and support from the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE), CTL, Deans, and departmental colleagues?
Seeds of change: the Curriculum Transformation Project
The Curriculum Transformation Project is a seed funding opportunity, currently spanning the three undergraduate schools, supported by VPUE and the Deans of the School Humanities and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Doerr School of Sustainability. Aligned with the Stanford Long Range Vision, Future of the Major, and IDEAL Education efforts, this opportunity enables instruction teams to work efficiently with education professionals to make substantive and sustainable improvements to existing or new curriculum. Projects focused on making introductory courses more equitable and accessible for all students are strongly welcomed. The ultimate goal of Curriculum Transformation Project is to:
help instruction teams meet their learning goals in an inclusive environment, while equipping students with the necessary skills and resources to be successful.
If you have any questions, please reach out to project co-chairs, Mary Beth Mudgett at email@example.com and Cassandra Horii at firstname.lastname@example.org, and to CTI Lead in the Center for Teaching and Learning, Kritika Yegnashankaran email@example.com.
This project is guided by the Curriculum, Equity, and Innovation working group of the VPUE Leveling the Learning Landscape initiative, which, in addition to those listed above, includes Jennifer Randall Crosby, Lynn Hildemann, and Elaine Treharne.
“Every student who arrives at Stanford must be able to pursue the full extent of their intellectual curiosity. Their pursuit of their goals should be unencumbered by any lack of academic preparation, any financial constraints or any effects of systemic bias, and this must be the case for any area of study that a student chooses. All students should have access to the full range of transformative experiences at Stanford.”
Susie Brubaker-Cole, Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Sarah Church, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Call for Participation and Timeline
How are projects developed?
Teams consisting of faculty along with academic staff and others with instructional roles related to the project will submit a short application to participate – an idea, a team, and conferring with your dean’s office is all it takes.
Applications will be reviewed, and for approved applications, team members will be named Curriculum Transformation Fellows and join the Curriculum Transformation Institute (CTI) in June – a three-day structured program offered by CTL that lowers activation barriers to initiate practical projects and increases their chances of obtaining seed funding to do the work. The program also connects departments and programs with curriculum transformation ideas for greater community and cohesion across the undergraduate experience.
CTI provides teams with access to expertise in inclusive teaching, effective practices across disciplines, support for course and curriculum design, and resources for data and assessment. Project liaisons link evidence-based practices with ideas provided by instruction teams to help teams develop quality Curriculum Transformation Project seed proposals to directly address curricular challenges. The schedule and benefits for participating in the CTI program can be found below.
Proposals developed during CTI are then reviewed for funding, with decisions in early summer. It is expected that projects to develop and implement changes in curriculum and course approaches will be carried out during the following academic year. For large and complex projects, some implementation may extend to a second year. Team members are expected to stay involved in guiding and leading the projects throughout this period, with additional staffing and resource needs supported by Curriculum Transformation funds.
What types of projects are funded?
Curriculum Transformation Projects should address challenges faced in the classroom and may involve one or more of the following:
- Development of new courses that address core skills required for introductory curriculum and/or success within a major
- Redesign of existing introductory curriculum to better align with student preparation and requirements for a range of majors
- Application of pedagogical practices within existing courses, including use of structured learning activities, materials, and assessments
- Training of instruction team to enable a more unified delivery of the curriculum
- Implementation of interventions that build academic resilience, scholarly identities, and academic well-being
Curriculum Transformation faculty and staff leads are available to discuss ideas in department and school meetings, and individually by request, and information sessions are scheduled in advance of each year’s call for participation due date.
What is the range of seed grant funding?
Seed grants for Curriculum Transformation Projects will provide funding to support personnel and course materials. Grants will range from $25,000 (small-scale, exploratory projects) to $250,000 (major curricular change projects) depending on the scope of the project. Stipends may be available to support the continued engagement of Curriculum Transformation Fellows in CTI and subsequent one-year or multi-year commitments to project implementation.
How can funding be used?
Seed grants funds may be used to support:
- Hiring of individuals to develop, assess, and/or teach curriculum changes, including education specialists, course coordinators, and teaching assistants
- Costs of materials, including books, digital resources, educational software, and so on
- Training of instruction teams to learn and apply pedagogical techniques and inclusive teaching practices
What are the requirements for submitting an idea for a project and developing a proposal?
Requests to submit an idea for a Curriculum Transformation Project and participate in the Curriculum Transformation Institute (where full proposals are developed) typically contain the information below, with a more detailed application template available in advance of the due date for the current call for participation:
- A summary of the goals of the project, including the challenges being faced and proposed areas for improvement
- A short description of the instruction team outlining their responsibilities and commitments to the project; teams should have a faculty lead and may also include academic staff-teaching or others who are actively involved in teaching and curriculum planning
- Exploration of how instructional changes will be sustained
- A letter of support from the department chair or program director expressing commitment to the short- and long-term success of the project
What is the schedule for the Curriculum Transformation Institute?
The intensive three-day workshop occurs in June each year, with the following overall schedule:
- Day 1 : Identifying course challenges, potential solutions, and formulating goals
- Day 2: Determining what strategies and materials are required to support goals
- Day 3: Developing assessments and deliverables to measure project outcomes
Teams will meet from approximately 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day for guided discussions and focused work on sections of the proposal, with the goal of generating a largely complete proposal by the end of the workshop. More details are available in the Call for Participation and Timeline.
What are the benefits of participating in the Curriculum Transformation Institute?
By participating in CTI, you will:
- Formulate data-driven and evidence-informed Curriculum Transformation Project goals for enhancing inclusion and equity for students within the learning environment
- Explore research-based practices with a high likelihood of success for all students
- Identify your high-impact curricular context for piloting changes
- Choose 3–5 coordinated course and/or curricular strategies to implement for making progress towards project goals
- Identify resources and materials that will need to be adapted or created to support implementation of chosen strategies (e.g., assignments, learning activities, teaching materials, assessments, criteria for evaluating student work)
- Generate ideas for assessing progress towards project goals
- Create a Curriculum Transformation Proposal, including budget items to support the proposed work
- Feel supported within a community of educators committed to leveling the learning landscape for all students
Examples of comments shared by past CTI participants
“Honestly, everything was so well curated for us to succeed. I really appreciate how intentional all the conversation pieces were and how we got structured time to work together on the proposal. I have never been to such a well organized session that was also engaging and productive (usually it is one or the other).”
“The program as a whole has been transformative. I'm tremendously excited to develop our proposal and take all of this work forward!”
“I think the most useful aspect of the program was the requirement of getting everyone in the same room for discussion. It can be so hard to schedule meetings with busy schedules, and having the mandatory attendance of the team in order to secure funding I think it vital to the success of the program and the long term success of these projects…. Further, it was great to have the insight and hear from other teams and the CTL coaches.”
“All elements were helpful, including the report from IR&DS, all the presentations by CTL staff, opportunities to work with my team, and the opportunity to interact with the other team. One very positive element that I had not anticipated was how useful the modeling provided by how the CTL staff organized the workshop. It was also very useful to get to know people better -- in my own team, in other teams, and in CTL. It has extended my Stanford community.”
“I simply want to express how very grateful I am for the thoughtfulness and intentionality with which this workshop was designed, the enthusiasm, pedagogical knowledge, and care of the presenters, and for the opportunity to devote structured time to think about and develop our ideas.”
What are some examples of curricular challenges?
While there may be specific issues within a discipline, common curricular challenges include those listed below.
Explore Current and Past Projects for additional examples.
- Making all majors and minors accessible to Stanford undergraduates regardless of courses available in their high schools
- Developing instructional materials to provide diagnostics, structured learning opportunities and/or assessments to support the needs of a range of student learners
- Integrating peer-to-peer learning accounting for student differences in prior learning
- Creating a supportive and encouraging community that fosters student belonging
- Including positive role models in historically exclusive disciplines and curricula
- Mining course evaluations, survey results, and enrollment datasets to inform strategic curriculum changes based on data
- Ensuring that assessments don’t recapitulate historical and current inequities in who performs well and succeeds
- Disrupting power dynamics that privilege some ideas and points of view over others
- Collaborating and coordinating with instruction teams across departments and schools to share information regarding course content, methods, teaching approaches, and/or assessments
- Developing mentorship and connections between students and instruction teams (i.e., faculty, lecturers, and teaching assistants) to help students see themselves as practitioners in the discipline