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Grants awarded to faculty teams
for transforming instructional space

By Catherine Doss

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 11 - November 5, 1998

Grants totaling over $100,000 will be awarded to teams of faculty members for modifying and/or renovating instructional space. The Transforming Instructional Spaces Grant (TISG) is an initiative of the Office of the Provost on the recommendation of the Campus Classroom Committee. It is designed to enhance student learning and performance by facilitating functional pedagogy through the modification of instructional space.
"The grants are not about space, but empowering faculty members to modify their classroom environments to explore new teaching strategies that will enhance student learning," said Dixon Hanna, interim vice provost for outreach and chair of the committee looking at the use of the university's instructional spaces. "Successful proposals will be those that are innovative and strongly support the learning environment."
All current full-time teaching faculty members are eligible to submit proposals, which will be evaluated in a two-phase process. Phase I involves submission of a conceptual proposal that includes a list of team members, a narrative of the proposed transformation, a list of proposed modifications (drawings, if necessary), and a plan for assessing the effectiveness of the transformation. Proposals will be accepted for both undergraduate and graduate instructional spaces, either generally assigned or departmentally controlled.
"Phase I proposals should focus on the potential impact of the proposed transformation on pedagogy and student learning," Hanna said.
Evaluation criteria include student impact, pedagogical impact, evidence of commitment and future use, assessment and evaluation plan, and feasibility.
A small number of Phase I proposal teams will be asked in Phase II to present their ideas to the classroom committee where strategies and issues can be discussed and final projects negotiated.
"What we want to do with this process is support faculty members who are creative and willing to take risks in terms of instruction and learning," Hanna said. "Hopefully, this will encourage other faculty members and departments to do the same."
Two open question-and-answer sessions will be held for faculty members interested in submitting proposals. The first will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in 1030 Pamplin; the second will be held Wednesday, Nov. 11 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the auditorium (room 102) of the Fralin Biotechnology Center.
Five copies of completed TISG proposals are due by 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost (330 Burruss Hall, mail code 0132). Presentations will be held and final decisions made before the end of the fall semester.
For more information and specific evaluation criteria, contact Hanna at 1-2501 or dixonh@vt.edu. Copies of the proposal forms and criteria are available in each dean's office.