2017-2018 Grants Program

How the program works
and what we will fund.
Application Form
When you are ready to apply.
  • Nov. 2, 2017: Full proposals due
  • Dec. 15, 2017: Awards announced
  • Jan. 5, 2018: Funds disbursed (50% payment)
  • June 1, 2018: Interim reports due
  • Jan. 4, 2019: Final reports due
    (second 50% payment)

2018-2019 grant program

Cycle I
March 30, 2018 (Friday): Pre-proposals due
May 31 (Thursday): Final proposals due
July 2 (Monday): Awards announced
July 16 (Monday): Funds disbursed
Cycle II
August 10, 2018 (Friday): Pre-proposals due
November 2 (Friday): Final proposals due
December 3 (Monday): Awards announced
January 7, 2019 (Monday): Funds disbursed

Important qualifiers:
• Only projects vetted as pre-proposals can advance to the final proposal stage.
• We will not accept pre-proposals after the deadlines indicated below. ACS set the Cycle I deadline to fall after spring breaks to give potential grantees time to finish their pre-proposals.
• For projects needing more time for completion, we will consider six-month no-cost extensions, which must be requested at the time of the interim report.
• While we fund in one-year increments, participants may re-apply for grant funding. Subsequent phases of your project will require that you submit an abbreviated application form.
ACS outreach efforts are ongoing on our member campuses. If there are groups, committees, or individuals who would like to explore grant opportunities in more detail, please email jdugan@colleges.org to plan a conversation or campus visit.

Grant Program Guidelines

Goals of the Grant Program

The objectives of the ACS grant program are consistent with the goals of our strategic plan: to advance the professional growth of faculty and staff, foster diversity and inclusion, build partnerships across our member campuses, and improve collective student and institutional success. Below, please find information on the grant process and resources.  We also encourage you to join our Grants Facebook Group.

Grant themes

Innovative Instruction: ACS invites proposals that re-evaluate traditional methods of teaching, respond to new knowledge about how students learn, and incorporate learner-centered pedagogies and technologies. Our objective is to help faculty incorporate learning-based pedagogy and blended learning approaches. Click here for a hypothetical example of an II project.

Examples from 2017-2018 grant cycle: (forthcoming, December 2017)

Collaborative Curriculum: ACS seeks multi-campus involvement in projects that, among other things, integrate study away opportunities, boost course enrollments, benefit disciplines with limited representation, and create collaborative programs that can be sustained after funding ends. ACS will not dictate the appropriate models for these collaborative initiatives but encourage all interested to discuss their ideas with ACS staff. Click here for a hypothetical example of a CC project.

Examples from 2017-2018 grant cycle: (forthcoming, December 2017)

As a new feature of our 2018-2019 grant program, we are developing a model for remote teaching and course sharing. Faculty who want the opportunity to teach existing courses to students on other campuses, or who would like students on other campuses to enroll in their courses, should speak with their deans or provosts about ACS funding opportunities. ACS is especially interested in applying the model to targeted disciplines in order to strengthen the success of those students, faculty, and programs. Coordination with chief academic officers is critical to this strategic goal.

Diversity and Inclusion: ACS will support initiatives that have the potential to make a lasting impact on institutional culture. Projects of this sort could be exclusively geared toward diversity and inclusion or could add diversity and inclusion to either of the above themes. Click here for a hypothetical example of a D&I project.

Examples from 2017-2018 grant cycle: (forthcoming, December 2017)

Award Amounts

  • $15,000-$25,000 for Innovative Instruction projects
  • $25,000-$50,000 for Collaborative Curriculum projects
  • $15,000-$50,000 for Diversity and Inclusion projects
  • Up to ten $5,000 ACS Mellon Impact Awards per year, to recognize projects that reached the highest levels of excellence in the three areas of our grant.

We anticipate that many proposals will meet multiple objectives. For example, course sharing among three institutions (collaborative curriculum) will by definition and design involve classroom technology (innovative instruction). As you imagine possibilities, we encourage you to see the categories above as fluid rather than as fixed. However, for budgeting purposes, most projects should fit into one main category and be limited to the funding maximums of that category.

The Mellon Foundation, whose award comprises the bulk of current ACS funding, has as a core goal to promote the “the wide participation of previously underrepresented communities in the humanities, the arts, and higher education.” While the STEM fields traditionally fall outside of Mellon’s mission, the Foundation is dedicated to diversity and inclusion in all disciplines. Thus, we encourage colleagues in STEM to focus on diversity and inclusion in their proposals in order to avail themselves of this funding source.

Finding collaborators

We want to make it as convenient as possible to form collaborative partnerships. In December 2017, we plan to post all grant projects to be undertaken in the 2018-1019 cycle in an effort to attract new collaborators and build on successful projects. Below you will find three additional ways for potential collaborators to find each other.

  1. Collaboration database: Click here for the ACS Collaboration Database. This feature is designed to help those who are exploring possible project ideas and want to get the word out to potential collaborators. (Remember, it is always good to share ideas with deans or provosts – especially those ideas that are more developed – so they are not taken by surprise when they look at this webpage.) Here is how the Database works:
    When the ACS Director of Faculty Programs is contacted by a faculty member with an idea for a promising proposal, she will add that person and proposed idea to the database.
    Other faculty and staff across the ACS campuses can regularly check the database to see what ideas are being generated. If they would like to join as potential collaborators, there will be a link to the DFP’s email; she will then add them to the database for that particular project.
    The original proposer, if desired, would then follow up to discuss collaborative possibilities.
  2. Catalogue search: Click here to search the course catalogs of all ACS campuses. This tool allows you to identify departments, course offerings, and other relevant information that might be useful to idea generation and proposal development.
  3. Key word search: Click here to search the websites of all ACS campuses by specified search terms. For example, a faculty member who is interested in a collaboration between “Arabic language” and “Middle Eastern Studies” instructors could search for those terms to get an idea of who teaches what and retrieve contact information for potential collaborators. While this search tool will generate a wide array of results that will require sifting through, we believe it is a good place to begin making connections.


All proposals are required to explain the tangible progress that is intended to result from funded projects. Key questions to consider, starting in the early stages of project design, include:

  • If your project is successful, what does that success “look like,” i.e., what will your project have accomplished?
  • What is evidence of that success, i.e., how will you distinguish between different levels of success?
  • What will you do with the assessment information you generate, e.g., how can you use the information to secure sustained support from your campus (if applicable)?

ACS cannot know what success looks like for each project; only you and your partners can explain it. We can help guide you so that ACS has the follow-through necessary for reporting to Mellon and you have tangible evidence needed for future institutional investment in your project. We believe that high-quality, post-grant reports are the best guarantee for sustained support from both.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I increase my chances of being funded?
    Sharing your ideas with ACS staff is highly encouraged. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your ideas, especially in the early stages. Because all pre-proposals and final proposals require the signature of chief administrative officers, we also recommend early discussions with the dean, provost, or vice president for your area as well as our campus grants officer.
  • Will the grant cover and not cover?
    For information about fundable expenses as well as limits to funding, e.g., for stipends, please see our Guidelines for ACS Grant writers.
  • Are pilot projects fundable?
    Yes. Some projects may need to be scaled so that adjustments can be made before an expanded version of the project is attempted.  In the pre-proposal, applicants should explain the reasons for choosing to pilot.
  • Will Mellon fund proposals from STEM fields?
    ACS has limited funding from non-Mellon sources that could be used for collaborative STEM projects. While STEM fields traditionally fall outside of Mellon’s mission, the Foundation is dedicated to diversity and inclusion in all disciplines. Thus, we encourage colleagues in STEM to focus on diversity and inclusion in their proposals in order to avail themselves of this funding source.
  • Can staff apply for grant funding?
    Yes. We want to advance collaboration in new, creative, and experimental ways. Faculty regularly work with staff – in teaching and learning centers, our libraries, and IT, study abroad, and diversity offices. Staff contribute to whole-student learning, institutional development, and community-building. Staff working with faculty on initiatives is an ideal way to think about grant funding.
  • Will the grant cover equipment?
    Yes, but our guideline is that equipment cost not exceed 10% of the total grant requested.
  • How can ACS help with projects that involve technology?
    Please see www.colleges.org/oar for tutorials on helpful software, including low- and no-cost tools, produced by ACS faculty and staff.  We offer our Technology Guide as an additional resource.
  • My project requires that collaborators share the same academic calendar. What should I do? 
    Some grant projects will require alignment between academic calendars. To provide you with that information, this page contains the most recent available academic calendars. Additionally, some collaborations may need alignment between course schedules. If you would like that information, please email jdugan@colleges.org, and ACS will send it to you.