Teaching Innovations Academy Minigrant

Overview and Application Process

The application period for Summer 2014 is now complete


Title V and the Technology Innovations for Learning & Teaching team invites faculty to participate in the 2014 Summer Teaching Innovations Academy. Faculty teaching large enrollment, multi-section, or especially challenging courses are strongly encouraged to participate, however, faculty teams from any department or program are invited to apply to take part in this summer’s Teaching Innovations Academy. During the Academy, faculty will re-envision and transform a course in ways that will enhance student learning using active learning methods, technology, and other innovations. Professional development funds and appropriate technology are funded by Title V and a Plan for Excellence grant. Technical support will be provided by Technology Innovations for Learning and Teaching staff.

Project Teams

Teams of two or three faculty members per course will work with a support team that includes an instructional designer and assessment facilitator. Individual faculty members teaching a high enrollment or especially challenging course will also be considered. Part time faculty members may participate as part of a team, but each team must have at least one full time faculty member. The 2014 Academy has limited spots available.

Priority will be given to faculty teams that:

  • Teach high enrollment, challenging undergraduate courses.
  • Include in their proposal the use of electronic portfolios.

Faculty who have participated in previous Summer Academies; or, are current DISCOVERe Faculty Fellows are not eligible. Faculty who have participated in the eScholars or Boot Camp programs may propose a course different than the one that was the focus of their previous project.

Key Opportunities for Course Redesign

Large enrollment or multi-section courses on our campus are often challenging for both faculty and students. This situation is exacerbated by the following conditions:

  • Traditional teaching practices often fail to help faculty develop new strategies to cope with increasing class size without increasing their daily teaching and class support activities.
  • Many faculty members, for various reasons, would like to incorporate newer technologies into their teaching, but are unfamiliar with the resources available and how to leverage specific technologies for the greatest benefit.

Fresno State is beginning to evaluate course redesign models that demonstrate effective practices while preserving or enhancing student learning and student/faculty satisfaction. More information is needed to determine best practices for our campus.

Proposed Solution

There is a growing body of research, from a variety of disciplines, demonstrating that course transformation increases student learning, provides students with quality learning experiences, improves the use of learning spaces, and reduces the cost of instruction. Fresno State’s Teaching Innovations Academy is modeled on the successful work of the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT), (www.thencat.org), and successful efforts around the country including Carnegie Mellon, the University of Massachusetts, Portland State University, and Chico State. The NCAT website includes case studies and examples to study in preparation for our own Teaching Innovations Academy.


The purpose of the Teaching Innovations Academy is to provide an intensive learning and planning experience with fellow faculty and support staff. Together we will transform a part of your selected course that will improve student learning and engagement.

Project Objectives:

  • Demonstrate innovative and pedagogically sound practices to enhance student learning outcomes in a variety of course formats.
  • Pilot a redesigned course that incorporates the use of technologies and innovative instructional practices.
  • Implement, under normal circumstances, successful pilot models across all sections of the course, within one year of the newly redesigned course roll-out. Collect data on the effect of faculty and staff resources, workload, attitudes, and teaching methods required to support the new model.
  • Collect data to evaluate the effect of the course transformation on student learning.
  • Explore ways in which the above information can be leveraged by faculty into various research projects or publications.
  • Collect data to evaluate the fiscal impact of the course transformation.

Application & Selection Process

Each faculty team will submit a single application to the Teaching Innovations Academy (the Summer 2014 application period is now over). Once the faculty members have completed their portion the application will be forwarded to their Department Chair and Dean for approval. After all required signatures have been received faculty teams will receive a confirmation email.
Selection of faculty teams will be made by May 5, 2014. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will follow acceptance along with a technology needs assessment survey.

Preparation for the Summer Academy

Prior to May 23, 2014, faculty participants will meet with Teaching Innovations Academy project leaders (Rudy J. Sanchez and Sue Yang) for a brief orientation to the Academy.

In the past, the Teaching Innovations Academy was held over a period of two weeks with intensive sessions covering various topics. This year we have shortened the Academy period to one week and will be incorporating a "flipped" style format where some sessions will be self-paced online through Blackboard prior to the start of the Summer Academy. Online work will account for roughly 10-15 hours.  The one week face-to-face Academy will focus more on core concepts as well as provide more time for collaboration.

Timeline & Implementation

  • The dates for the Teaching Innovations Academy are June 2 – June 6. Faculty must be able to participate in this face-to-face academy.
  • One-half of the $3,000 professional development funds will become available in June 2014. The other half will become available when the transformed course is piloted in Fall 2014. (The second part of the professional development funds will not be paid if the course is not launched in Fall 2014.)
  • Each member of the faculty team will be eligible to receive a tablet in mid-May. Academy participants are encouraged to become familiar with their new tablets prior to the start of the Academy. Instructional designers and other staff will be available for team and individual consultation on how to use tablets in a university setting.
  • Summer 2014 is designated for learning, planning, and course development with your team.
  • At the end of the 2014 Summer Academy, faculty teams will create and share a multimedia artifact that describes how the target course is being transformed and the proposed assessment techniques. This artifact will be available to other Academy participants, the faculty member’s Chair and Dean, the Provost, and the Title V Director..
  • Fall 2014 is for teams to further develop course delivery and assessment techniques, and pilot elements of the redesigned course, as agreed upon.
  • The course transformation will be assessed using tools developed by the faculty and support team, combined with student outcomes including grade distributions.
  • Teams will be invited to present at a teaching and learning event during the 2015 calendar year to share transformation results and lessons learned.
  •  In January 2015, teams will present their transformed course to the Deans, Chairs, and the Academy community (staff, fellow Academy participants).
  • In Spring 2015, teams will implement modification of the transformed course.

Assessment & Follow-up

Teams will submit a short written summary report, including assessment outcomes, by June 1, 2015 to their Dean, the Director for Academic Technology and Innovation, and the Title V Director. An outline of this report will be provided to faculty during the Summer Academy.