Attention, departments and faculty members looking to try something new in your programs: Dal’s Academic Innovation initiative wants to hear from you.
The “DALVision” initiative recently opened up applications for 2014, marking the second year it will be providing seed funding to support faculty members and departments in implementing innovative approaches to learning, teaching and curriculum development.
Last year, 18 projects received funding, including new first-year seminars in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, an interdisciplinary minor in Aboriginal studies and a new certificate program in Science Leadership and Communication.
Fiona Black, associate vice-president academic, says some of the projects funded last year have completed their evaluations, while others — particularly those with multi-year plans — have submitted interim reports, all of which will be published on the Academic Innovation website.
“In addition to a close fit with the academic plans of the department and faculty, a key criterion we use when assessing project proposals is whether they offer ideas and lessons that could be applied across the university,” explains Dr. Black.
“We’ll be sharing the findings with the Associate Deans Academic Council, the Senate Learning and Teaching Committee, the Senate Academic Programs and Research Committee and on the website — all in the hopes that the best and most successful ideas and approaches can find their way into curricula and courses in other programs.”
Focus on direct-entry undergrads
Dr. Black says this year’s funding will be targeted towards direct-entry undergraduate programs.
“Last year’s round of funding was our first, and we were deliberately broad in our scope,” she explains. “This year, we are guided by Dalhousie’s new strategic priorities approved by Senate and the Board, and that gives us a framework to target funding around six specific objectives — most prominent among them being student retention for our direct-entry undergrad programs.”
Learn more: Applying for DALVision funding
“Our faculty members have tremendous ideas, and nearly all the proposals we’ve received have been worthwhile projects,” adds Dr. Black. “That’s why we have to be deliberate in how we invest: what projects are going to put this funding to the best use, improving the quality of our educational experience at Dalhousie and maintaining and enhancing our reputation at national and international levels?”
Approved projects in this next round will receive up to $10,000, and Dr. Black says some of last year’s more successful projects were, in fact, smaller ones.
“Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of help to get a great idea that can make a big difference off the ground.”
To learn about DalVision, and how to apply, visit its website. And check out some of our past stories on DalVision projects:
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