The following is an example of a preproposal for a project that would fit in the “diversity and inclusion” category.

  1. Describe the project.

We are mathematicians who teach our department’s calculus sequence. There is a pattern of students who are traditionally underrepresented in the math field – especially women and students of color. DFW rates are higher, including in Calculus 101, which is required for the sequence and for the math, chemistry, and environmental studies majors. As a consequence, underrepresented minorities declare these majors in lower numbers, and the programs do not reflect shifts in student demographics. We would like to address this by adopting new pedagogical approaches and incorporating innovative teaching tools to help our students succeed. We feel a special responsibility to fix an obvious problem while addressing a longer-term goal: encouraging and retaining women and students of color in STEM fields.

  1. Explain the project’s relevance to one or more of the grant themes.

We want to create a more welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment in our Calculus 101 and 102 courses. To reach that goal, we want to redesign the courses in ways that value students’ prior knowledge, respond to the diverse ways students organize knowledge, and enhance learning through, for example, the use of goal-directed practice and targeted feedback. Collaboration with our Diversity and Inclusion officer will help us better understand student needs; she will also review our materials, observe our class, and serve as a resource person during the semester. We also intend to work with the Director of our Teaching and Learning Center and instructional technologist to devise goals that incorporate supplementary instructional videos. Finally, we plan to invite guest lecturers into the courses so that students will see the diverse representation of professionals in math and STEM fields, make networking connections, and start planning for their own professional futures.

We believe that the initiative could make a lasting impact on our courses, departments, and institutional culture. In the first grant cycle, we intend to pilot the project. If successful, we want to make it more collaborative by working with our math and STEM colleagues on other ACS campuses. We have already discussed the pilot with faculty at ACS College and the University of ACS. They are enthusiastic about joining us. As a first step in that collaboration, we will make our instructional videos and guest lectures available to them during the pilot phase.

{Note that there are other questions on the pre-proposal form pertaining to budget, goals, and assessment; this sample is intended only to provide the conceptual framework of a D&I project.}