Skip to Content

Center for Teaching Excellence

Innovative Teaching

Innovative Teaching Faculty Mentor

Course Revision for Teaching Innovation Grant

Application Deadline: Friday, February 9, 2018

Do you have a desire to better engage your students? Do you wish to spark the highest levels of deep student learning in your classroom? Do you need to transform student learning immediately in your classes? Are you interested in sharing what you learn with colleagues?

The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), with support from the Office of the Provost, invite full-time faculty to submit proposals to be an Innovative Teaching Faculty Mentor for 2018-2019. Springboarding off Dr. Ken Bain’s 2017 Oktoberbest: A Symposium on Teaching keynote address, this call seeks to support faculty efforts at getting to deep student learning and engagement in the classroom.

The goal of this program is two-fold:

  1. Support faculty in the redesign of exemplary courses, with high impact, that employ innovative pedagogical strategies learned through the Best Teacher’s Institute—which draws on the research and expertise of Ken Bain and James Lang
  2. Utilize the Fellows to share their expertise with colleagues wishing to innovate

Overall support for the Fellows will include:

  • Professional development opportunity to attend Ken Bain’s Best Teachers Institute in June, 2018;
  • Pedagogical and instructional design support during the course revision and implementation processes; and
  • Ongoing networking and workshop opportunities provided through CTE professional development events.

Summit for Concerned Faculty from Around the World:  21st Annual International Best Teachers Institute Summer Institute

June 26-28, 2018
Wilshire Grand Hotel
West Orange, NJ

A three-day international institute based on Ken Bain's award-winning and best-selling book What the Best College Teachers Do* (Harvard University Press, 2004) and James Lang's instant classic Small Teaching (Jossey-Bass, 2016). Using the resources of multiple universities and colleges, this year's program will also feature ideas from Ken Bain's new book What the Best College Students Do* (Harvard University Press, 2012).

Special Features

This year's program features workshops conducted by Eric Mazur, Professor of Physics, Harvard University, winner of the prestigious International Minerva Prize for outstanding teaching, and one of the major innovators in science education and Mindy Maris, Professor of Molecular Biology, Southern Vermont College, and winner of numerous national awards for her dynamic contributions to teaching and learning.

Click on the "+" sign next to each item to see description.

Full-time faculty members (tenured, tenure track, or non-tenure track) at USC Columbia or the Palmetto College campuses are eligible to apply. Faculty may receive funding for only one course per grant cycle. Prior CTE grant recipients must have successfully completed the terms of their prior grants.

  • Must have taught the course at USC within the last 2 years.
  • Commit to implementing innovative pedagogical change in course delivery and sharing what you learned with other faculty members.
  • Commit to serving as a 2018-2019 Faculty Mentor, sharing expertise with colleagues.
  • Commit to delivering the revised course within the next 2 years at USC.
Eligible Courses

Proposals in response to this solicitation must be for the redesign of either a traditional, blended, or fully online course that has been taught by the applicant within the last 2 years. Course revisions must incorporate innovative techniques using Ken Bain’s framework. Proposals to simply add a few components, or to make minor changes, will not be competitive. Course impact, reach and sustainability will be considered.

Expectations During the Grant Period

Successful applications will:

  • Attend the June 26-28, 2018, 21st Annual International Best Teachers Institute Summer Institute
  • Collaborate regularly with an instructional designer from CTE to design, develop and prepare the course revision for delivery
  • Implement innovative strategies learned through the Summer Institute and based on pedagogical best practices in your course by June 15, 2019
  • Share with colleagues the results, experiences and/or best practices gained through the project in a CTE fall or spring professional development presentation during 2018-2019 or at Oktoberbest 2019
  • Serve as a CTE Faculty Mentor in 2018-2019, sharing expertise learned through the Summer Institute, to assist colleagues in implementing innovative changes in their classroom
  • Submit a final report consisting of the course syllabus, a brief statement indicating when the course was (or will be) offered for the first time after revision, and plans for future offerings. Include course outcomes if the course was taught prior to report due date. This report is due no later than June 30, 2019.
Available Funds and Project Timeline

All applications must be submitted through CTE’s online application by Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Notices of award will be distributed by February 9, 2018.

Two grants of up to $3,000 each will be awarded. Funds are to be used to support professional development travel to the Summer Institute and implementation of innovative changes in the classroom. (This includes Institute registration, airfare, lodging and meals, ground transportation from airport, etc.) 

Funded projects must be completed and final reports submitted to CTE by June 30, 2019.

Proposed Dates

  • Application deadline: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
  • Application reviewed: February 1 – February 5, 2018
  • Notifications: by February 9, 2018
  • Summer Institute Early Bird Registration: March 1, 2018
  • Summer Institute: June 26-28, 2018
  • Grant presentation: Fall 2018 – Spring 2019
  • Serve as Faculty Mentor: Academic Year 2018-2019
  • Revise course: by June 30, 2019
  • Final Grant Report due date: June 30, 2019
Application Process

To apply, please complete the online application, including all fields, a proposal narrative, current CV, proposed budget and course syllabus. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The proposal narrative should be 500-1000 words (excluding references, syllabus and CV). Narrative should:

  1. Describe your current teaching methodology
  2. Describe your students and their learning outcomes
  3. Address what is it about your course you wish to revise and why
  4. Describe proposed project outcomes
  5. If selected as a Faculty Mentor, discuss how do you see yourself sharing your expertise with colleagues.

Please also include a signed Department Support Form [pdf]  from your department chair or program director confirming that the course you propose to revise will be offered by you within the next 2 years and that they support this application.

Application Requirements

  1. Proposal Narrative
  2. Course Syllabus
  3. Detailed Budget for total project costs and a budget justification
  4. CV
  5. Signed Department Support Form from department chair, unit head, program director or dean
  6. Follow-up report on previous project (if applicable)
Budget and Justification

A Detailed Budget for total costs, consistent with university policies. The proposal may request funds so long as the item and amount are considered necessary, reasonable, allocable, and allowable under the program solicitation. Amounts and expenses budgeted also must be consistent with university policies and procedures. If other funding is attained, commitments against this internal award should be reduced. View the Budget Primer [pdf] for more information.

Review Criteria

Applications that are complete and responsive to this announcement will be evaluated for merit. Proposals should be written to be understood by committee members who are not necessarily experts in the applicant’s field of study. Applicants should limit their use of jargon and acronyms whenever possible.

Proposals will be evaluated by the following criteria:

  • Full-time faculty at USC-Columbia or Palmetto College campuses
  • Taught the course within the last 2 years, during or prior to 2017-2018 academic year
  • Completeness of application
  • Nature of proposal: clarity, addressed five areas specified in Application Process section
  • Likely sustainability, impact and reach of the course

This opportunity is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and CTE. For more information, contact Lydia Frass at, or CTE at 777-8322 or