CUES Spanning Boundaries Challenge

CUES aims to incentivize collaborations that address challenges impacting university education and reach across disciplinary boundaries to explore solutions.  These theme-based grants build upon CUES MECha Workshops themes, and aim to advance innovation and scholarship in university education.  Challenge themes will vary each year.

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The current theme will build on forthcoming consensus guidance developed during the 2021 MECha workshop.  This two-day workshop explored the role of civic engagement and service learning (CE & SL) in university education towards charting institutional change premised on novel synergies, and existing campus efforts.

Spanning Boundaries Challenge submissions will occur in two phases.  Please subscribe to CUES to be notified when submission dates and full details are available.

The confluence of data science, enhanced humanities, visual arts and design, civic purpose, Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc., calls for students to develop a nimble sense of what numbers mean and tell us.  This skill, which could be termed “Quantitative Intuition (QI)”, includes data-informed evaluation, interpretation, and communication, and is arguably an essential outcome of college learning across all disciplines.  Developing and sharpening QI is an interdisciplinary issue because robust QI requires integrating multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Following consensus guidance from University faculty from law, journalism, architecture, public health, medicine, economics, political science, and more, CUES will fund one cross-unit or cross-discipline faculty project addressing educational innovation and  scholarship on QI.

What is QI?   A nimble sense of what data (broadly understood) mean and convey in multiple contexts, usable for questioning, validating, and creating effective stories. Contexts for QI include, but are not limited to:

  • Telling effective stories: enhancing meaning, interpretation, media, messaging
  • Interplay between emotions and numbers: making data “human”
  • Balancing tensions: simplicity & realism, examples & abstraction
  • Role and impact of symbols, graphs, and other visuals in communicating information
  • Intuition in the digital age: the role of AI in enhancing content and learning

Why multidisciplinary QI?   In a time of rapid global and technological change, numbers pervade everything.  Because robust QI requires integrating knowledge and perspectives across many disciplines, developing our students’ QI is a multidisciplinary problem. 

What is the expected impact?   The awarded project should spearhead sustainable, institutionally-backed innovation in university education, aligned with the mission of CUES.

One project will be selected and funded for up to two years.  Proposal budget is not to exceed a total of $100,000 over the duration of the project.

Dates and timeline will be announced in Fall 2021

Eligibility.   This pilot call is open to cross-unit or cross-discipline University faculty teams.  Teams must include 50% or more tenure-track, continuing-status track, or career-track faculty. 

Advisory Board.   A CUES advisory board with expertise on the theme of the Spanning Boundaries Challenge will help select and provide guidance for the awarded project.

What types of proposals are envisioned?   Promising proposals will consider University assets, resources, and needs, in a context for CE & SL.  Examples of promising projects include, but are not limited to:

  • building CE & SL capacity among faculty and/or graduate student instructors through rigorous professional development and support for curricular implementation,
  • integrating CE & SL in a coalition of courses that share a common theme in terms of pedagogy and/or content, but come from different disciplines,
  • developing an intensive, multipronged CE & SL training program for a specific student group (e.g., transfer students, first-year graduate students), and
  • creating resources and strategies to promote CE & SL in research and other experiential settings.

These are only examples; no approach is necessarily more valuable than another.  Proposals that intentionally build upon the University’s institutional identities (e.g., land grant, HSI) and values (e.g., inclusion, compassion, exploration) are encouraged. 

Be prepared to submit the following information in PDF form:

>> Phase I (pre-proposals)

A. Project pre-proposal, at most two single-spaced pages and addressing:

  1. Description of the CE & SL related problem, gap or issue to be addressed, and its importance.
  2. Description of a team, representing a minimum of two disciplines, units, departments, or colleges.  Cross-college collaborations are strongly encouraged.
  3. Brief argument as to why the proposed collaboration will be of benefit to UA, not just to the individual team members, or units leading it.
  4. Outline of a project that develops, implements and evaluates curricular, programmatic, or pedagogical innovation and scholarship in CE & SL, addressing the challenge identified in Item 1.

B. CVs – Each team member's most current curriculum vitae limited to three single-spaced pages. CVs of team members will not count towards the two-page limit.

After pre-proposal review, selected projects will be invited to submit a full proposal.

>> Phase II (Full proposal, invited)

A. Project Full proposal, at most ten single-spaced pages addressing:

  1. Unabridged description of all four pre-proposal elements, incorporating needed detail, and addressing pre-proposal feedback.
  2. Description of intended project outcomes, benchmarks, and impacts.
  3. Description of a method and a plan for measuring success.
  4. Description of the anticipated institutional value of the project, and concrete steps and commitments to ensure broad impact, and meaningful dissemination (see Items a-c, under section B. below).

B. Letters (at least one per participating unit, written by chairs, deans, etc., as appropriate) addressing:

  1. Anticipated institutional value of the project (e.g., how will the project help drive meaningful institutional change at the University? How will the project be of value to the University as a whole, not just the specific units involved?)
  2. Level of institutional commitment (e.g., department, school, or college commitments) for the project and its expected outcomes (e.g., what additional funding, time release will be in place? What efforts to disseminate and integrate the project will take place?)
  3. Anticipated plan for sustaining the transformation the project will bring about, past the 2-years of funding (e.g., what is the commitment for scaling, broadening or institutionalizing the project or its outcomes?)

C. Most CVs from each team member.

D. Budget, using the budget sheet provided below.

CVs of team members, letters, references cited, and budget will not count toward the ten-page limit.

Submit Full Proposal

Only invited teams may submit a full proposal.



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