Service-Learning Special Tracks Grant Program
New in 2018-19, the Special Track Grants Program supports VCU service-learning projects that will promote university student learning in one or more of the following areas:
- Civic education/civic learning
- Equity and access in health/wellness
- Equity and access in K-12 education
Activities funded under this special track grants program must be used to support service-learning courses that intentionally focus on developing university students’ understanding of: (a) civic education/civic learning; (b) equity and access in health/wellness; and/or (c) equity and access in K-12 education through their course learning objectives, activities and assessment. These funds may support courses that are currently designated as service-learning or to revise an existing course not currently designated as service-learning so that it meets the service-learning course designation requirements.
Civic education or civic learning
Civic education, or civic learning, centers on developing the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and behaviors needed to enable individuals to contribute to the civic life of their communities. Civic learning/education may include, among other things, understanding of diverse cultures and religions; responsibility to the public good; gathering and evaluating multiple sources of information; problem-solving with diverse partners; and the knowledge of and ability to leverage the political systems and processes available to citizens within a democracy that influence change (see more examples of civic learning outcomes below).
Equity and access in health/wellness
Equity in health/wellness means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be mentally and physically healthy. Access in health/wellness requires removing obstacles such as poverty, discrimination and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, and safe environments.
Equity and access in education
Equity in education means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to a quality education. Access in education requires removing obstacles such as poverty, discrimination and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality housing, safe environments and health care.
Information and application
Applications for this grant program are accepted on a rolling basis until Nov. 1 of each academic year. Faculty interested in applying for Special Track Grants are encouraged to discuss their proposal with service-learning office staff prior to applying. To be considered for these grants, applicants must submit three application components:
- Grant application form (including proposed budget);
- Course information (with evidence and articulation of learning objectives within relevant track area):
- For service-learning course revisions, the current syllabus must be submitted.
- For new service-learning courses, course name, number and description must be submitted.
- A narrative statement that articulates how the course learning objectives, activities and assessment relate to and support one or more of the grant track areas.
Visit Grant Applications and Reporting for a full application packet.
The application cover sheet must be completed in full, including all signatures, before the application will be considered. The proposal narrative may be no longer than 1,500 words (excluding references) and must include the elements listed below as numbered sections. Use 11-point font or larger.
Section 1: Course description and community-identified need – Describe the course, as well as community-identified need that is/will be met by the course.
Section 2: Track focus area(s) – Explain how the focus area(s) you selected align(s) with the course description and community-identified need as a university student learning outcome.
Section 3: Work plan – Explain what specific strategies, resources, and timelines you will use to complete this project.
Faculty interested in applying for Special Track Grants are strongly encouraged to discuss their proposal with service-learning office staff prior to applying.
To be considered for a Service-Learning Special Track Grant, applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Applicant must be the instructor of a designated service-learning course at VCU or be working through this grant to develop a new service-learning course.
- Applicant must be able to spend the awarded funds by May 31 of the funding year.
Grants of up to $1,000/year will be made. Only one grant will be awarded per course. Grants will be announced within two weeks of the application submission date. Funds will be transferred from the Division of Community Engagement to the home department responsible for fund disbursement. Once monies have been disbursed to the home department account, it is the responsibility of the applicant to work with their home department to make project purchases.
Requested funds may be used for instructor professional development, for supplies, materials, equipment and travel. Payments to student workers are acceptable so long as the work can be completed and the student workers paid prior to the May 31 award finish date.
The Service-Learning Project Small Grants Review Committee will evaluate submissions based on the following criteria:
- Evidence that the course learning objectives, activities and assessment relate to and support the chosen track area.
- Evidence of community-identified need.
- Merit and feasibility of proposed project to address community-identified needs.
- Strength of university-community partnership and evidence of a reciprocal relationship.
- Soundness of the budget.
Preference will be given to proposals that involve a course that is required within an academic degree program of study.
A final grant report will be due to Katie Elliott, associate director of service-learning, no later than June 1 of the funding year. Required deliverables will include:
- A description of the budget use and measurable university student learning outcomes related to the chosen track area
- A copy of the final course syllabus
- A narrative statement articulating the ways the course integrated learning activities with learning outcomes assessment related to the selected track area(s)*
Narrative statements and course syllabi will be used in the future by the service-learning office as models for other faculty working to develop/enrich courses in these learning outcome track areas.
*NOTE: Grant track areas are civic education/civic learning, equity and access in health/wellness, and equity and access in K-12 education.
Visit Grant Applications and Reporting for a full report template.